For us, travelling is an essential experience: exploring and encountering new places, cultures and flavours fills us with excitement. Add the thrill of being on a motorcycle and you have the perfect combination! Today, we will tell you the story of a tour designed to touch down in many different locations around the breathtaking island of Sicily, fitting as much as possible into just one week. Our cases and bags from Givi were essential to properly organise the trip.
In August 2021, for the second year in a row, we focused on domestic tourism, deciding to explore some of the wonderful places on our doorstep, setting off on our bike to discover Sicily. Loaded up with plenty of enthusiasm and everything we would need on the way, we travelled right across the island, coast to coast, hitting all the most well-known towns and cities, along with some less obvious destinations that really deserve a visit.
We saw wonderful locations, marvels of architecture, breathtaking beaches with crystal-clear waters, made it to the top of Etna and even saw an eruption, an experience that was both amazing and terrifying. Our tour included the famous Taormina, Noto with its Baroque architecture, Syracuse, with the island of Ortygia and its legends, and Palermo, a multicultural and truly fascinating city. We stopped in the beautiful Vendicari nature reserve, and in the splendid historic villages of Castelmola and Eryx, both brimming with charming streets, castles and unbeatable views. We visited the salt pans and mills, the city of Trapani and the Scala dei Turchi cliffs. There were certainly some unexpected challenges along the way, but that’s all part of the fun when travelling. Despite scorching temperatures (49°C) and a tyre melting under the sun, we kept our spirits up and managed to get back on the road quickly and hit all of the stops on our itinerary, accompanied by our ever-faithful Tracer.
Overnight journey from Apulia to Sicily, arriving in the morning and enjoying the sunrise from the ferry. Stop on the beach at Giardini Naxos, with a walk along the boardwalk and a stop to see the Nike di Kalkis statue. Afternoon visit of the historic centre of Acireale.
Motorbike excursion around Etna and its craters, with a stop at Rifugio Sapienza. We headed for the Parco dei Nebrodi regional park and stopped at the Alcantara gorge on the way back.
We visited the town of Taormina and Isola Bella beach. In the afternoon we stopped in the village of Castelmola, with its church dedicated to San Nicola, castle ruins, and famous bar Turrisi, truly enchanting and one of a kind.
Visit to the oldest part of Syracuse, the island of Ortygia. Everything is steeped in Greek influence: the legendary Fountain of Arethusa, the Fountain of Diana, the cathedral featuring perfectly preserved elements of the Temple to Athena and the remains of the Temple of Apollo. In the afternoon, we moved to the Sicilian capital of Baroque art, the magnificent Noto. Here, we heard the tragic stories of those who lived in the convents situated all around the city. This story is referred to in the classic novel “Story of a Blackcap”. Evening visit to the castle of Aci in the town of Aci Castello.
Stop on the beach in the Vendicari nature reserve, a necessary interval both for the beauty of the place and due to the challenging temperatures: the previous days were not particularly fresh but on this day temperatures reached a record 49°C in Sicily! Let’s just say that with helmets and jackets, life was not easy (although we were aware of this when we chose our destination). In the afternoon we stopped in Marzamemi, a small but truly enchanting place. Then, when we were ready to set off we hit a problem: with the extreme heat and all the weight we were carrying, one of the tyres was a goner, literally melting. Having solved the problem, we resumed our journey, although we were forced to spend very little time at our next stop: Ragusa Ibla.
We enjoyed a day relaxing on the beach at the Scala dei Turchi cliffs. A captivating location! We took advantage of an evening visit to the Valley of the Temples, enjoying less fierce temperatures and visiting the large archaeological site at a leisurely pace. It is important to note that some of the temples here are among the best preserved in the world, including those in Athens and Paestum.
We headed north-west to visit the city of Trapani, which has a beautiful historic centre and is famous for the salt pans of Trapani and Paceco, where the windmills make for unique views.
We also visited nearby Eryx, a lovely medieval village with ancient churches, the Venus castle and its wonderful gardens. We have to mention the mythology here: it is said that the name Eryx is a tribute to the founder of the city itself, the son of Venus and Butes.
Our tour ended in the city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily and a cultural melting pot, with many different influences from the various periods of Greek, Arab, Byzantine and Norman rule. You can see it and feel it as you walk through the streets and take in the majestic architecture, very different from that encountered in the other Sicilian cities mentioned.
Having travelled 2740 km, packed with emotion, this is a tour we really feel should not be missed (perhaps spreading it over a few more days). Sicily is a land where you can explore the history and culture of many different peoples, enjoy a magnificent coastline and savour exquisite food.
Michele and Katia, our biker diary
WATCH THE GALLERY