Hi everyone, it's Dolce Diana and today I want to share my experience traveling to Sicily with you. But not just the typical touristy spots, I'm talking about going off the beaten path and exploring some hidden gems.

One of the places we visited was a small fishing village called Brucoli.

It was so petite and quaint, with amazing food and beautiful scenery. We felt really safe there, as the locals were very friendly and welcoming. We stayed in an Airbnb and the owner assured us that Brucoli is a very safe place, and we could even leave our stroller outside the apartment building.

Brucoli had everything we needed, including a teeny-tiny grocery store with four aisles and an amazing deli in the back. We tried some of the freshest and most amazing cheeses, meats, and olives there. The mozzarella with pistachios in it was my favorite. I even learned, through trial and error, how to complement the delicious cheeses. “Formaggio buono!” I was very proud, and a little embarassed. Great combination as a tourist trying to put in the effort and speak some phrases in the local language. We also explored the little streets and shops, where we found fresh bread, jewelry, dresses, and a local ceramic maker. I bought a beautiful ballerina pink lace top and ee even got an owl as a souvenir to dispaly in our living room at home. 

If you go further south, you’ll hit a town called Syracuse, which has some of the most amazing ruins. Harlow and I visited an amphitheater where they used to hold gladiator events, which could even be filled with water. It was fascinating and scary at the same time. We also saw a super old, Greek altar that was used for various ceremonies. I marvelled and pushed her around in a stroller, she took a little nap. She woke up just in time to relax in the shade near the exit and get some snaps of her with the ruins in the background. She’s eating a banana and has folded up surgical masks on her tiny wrists. A memory for pandemic toddler travelling. 

But my favorite place in Sicily was Ortigia. Ortigia is the historic downtown of the city of Syracuse. It is located on a small peninsula. It was so beautiful and full of life, with really nice restaurants and spas. There was a fountain in the main square with a statue of the goddess Diana riding horses out of the water. It was breathtaking and I loved walking to the square with Harlow from our AirBnb and having coffee and arancini there. It was at these cafes that Harlow decided she liked “foamy milk” which she still loves to this day. I have great memories of giving her tiny spoonfuls of the top of my cappucino. Dan and I also tried some homemade pasta and local wines and did wine flights. The people there were so nice and friendly, and we even made some friends.

"The South of Italy and Sicily were gifts from the Gods to the Greeks"

One thing I loved about Ortigia was that every place that sold pastries would get them delivered fresh that morning. We tried the freshest, most amazing pastries there, and they were out of this world. There was also an open-air market where we bought fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and spices. We even got to know some of the vendors who were so sweet to Harlow, my daughter. They would always give her a cookie or banana and talk to us in their chit-chatting ways.

The whole area of Brucoli, Syracuse, and Ortigia is definitely off the beaten path, and not many Americans visit there. But it’s a must-see for anyone who wants to experience authentic Italian culture and hospitality. You can even see the volcano Aetna from some parts of the island, which is amazing.

Sicily has so much to offer beyond the typical tourist spots. The small towns and hidden gems are what make it truly special. So if you’re planning a trip to Sicily, don’t forget to explore places like Brucoli, Syracuse, and Ortigia. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed