Day 5: Frutti Di Mare (Sciacca)

IMG_1109Today, Leslie and I drove from Cianciana to the coastal city of Sciacca, a gorgeous city famous for its ceramics and its seafood. It is about 50 minutes from Cianciana (unless you get lost as we did), but it is worth the trip.

IMG_1105IMG_1106We ate at a restaurant called Porto San Paolo restaurant. It is famous for its famous fresh fish and we had an assortment of recommended dishes. I started with the fresh octopus, which might be a bit daunting for some diners. The octopus is very lightly cooked and served in a red sauce. It was like eating the small octopus right out of the water. Leslie has the assortment of fish dishes which was awesome, particularly the grilled octopus. We then had the seafood pasta which was wonderful. This was followed by mussels (my dish) and grilled sea bass (Leslie). It was a classic Sicilian seafood lunch. It is a bit more pricey than the commonly low prices of Sicilian restaurants but the view and the cuisine justifies the cost.

IMG_1116Walking around the city is a pleasure, though there is one drawback that is likely to strike many Americans. The city, particularly around the harbor and port, does little to control the litter problem which is disgusting. In one of the most beautiful places in the world, the locals routinely dump trash in the water or filled open spaces with garbage. It is astonishing that a city dependent of tourism would not commit the minimal number of people needed to clean up its most visited areas. Looking down into the water, you see piles of trash and walking on the beach you find a virtual trash dump. It is particularly perplexing in a country that employs one of the highest percentages of its citizens in government jobs. Yet, it seems unwilling to dedicate a small number of people to cleaning up the trash or to enforce a litter law. It is a problem that is found throughout large cities in Italy (including Rome), though villages like Cianciana are spotless.

Nevertheless, despite the worst efforts of the city fathers, Sciacca remains a gem of a city to visit, particularly if you want a classic Sicilian seafood meal. (We then found a wonderful place for a Cannoli near the basilica).

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22 thoughts on “Day 5: Frutti Di Mare (Sciacca)

  1. I only found Palermo to be somewhat of a dirty city. I’m sad to hear about the trash on the beaches and outlining areas.

  2. Love octopus and mussels. Love it all. Eel is sweet, like rabbit. JT is not old enough to remember. We Americans used to litter w/ the best of them. I remember days when you stopped for take out, drove down the road eating, and then just tossed out the window, all the trash. Jeff Goldblum, who grew up in an upper class family, was on Letterman and described his family doing the same. We can thank Lady Byrd Johnson for changing our culture. Her First Lady mission was ending littering on our highways and removing unsightly billboards. They used to be out of control. It was a very successful project. Sicily needs a Lady Byrd.

  3. Just watched the Aaron Rodgers led Packers march down the field, w/ no timeouts, and win on a touchdown pass w/ 3 seconds left. I’m now watching the Cutler led Bears. Flipping over to the San Diego game when I feel like watching an NFL QB.

  4. I have only had octopus Chinese style which is like eating rubber bands. It fights back. And Nick, I miss those Burma Shave signs along the highway. My siblings learned to read by those.🙂

  5. Many people (other than teenagers) don’t seem to notice trash around them. Cleaning up their environment doesn’t occur to them, even when it would be quite easy. The trash becomes part of their environment. But they are open to change when others comment on how much better it would be without the trash.

  6. I had octopus and other things undefined when in Japan. No point in traveling if you always eat at MacDs. The pictures are absolutely beautiful. Sounds like a great trip!

  7. Sad to see the litter, I found many parks in Istanbul and Izmir to be just a described here. The rest of the country was much better though.

    Eel is one of my likes, especially with sushi/sashimi. Good to see the weather is kind to you.

  8. Just heard Utah did appeal the case with the Browns. Sorry to hear that. Their defense is that it’s not the Browns they are worried about, but that somehow keeping the cohabitation law on the books allows them to investigate abuse allegations. Why do they need a law against cohabitation to investigate domestic or child abuse?

    • Karen,

      What is said and what is their actual motivation is often very different.

      They don’t need a cohabitation law to investigate DVs or child abuse. Most states do not have that law and somehow manage.

      I think this whole thing is about saving face and pride among the politicians furthering this appeal. Their own sense of morality and prosecuting it against others is probable secondary. I might be wrong but Professor Turley probably knows better but he probably cannot comment on this at this stage.

  9. Darren – that makes sense. There are already laws on the books to address abuse allegations.

    I just read about it in the paper. It said Professor Turley was unavailable for comment. And I thought, right, because he’s having a fabulous vacation and dining experience in Italy!

  10. I hope they have stopped sinking ships with nuclear waste and human bodies into the waters around there:

    Pressure is growing on the Italian government to act over revelations that 30 or more ships with radioactive cargoes, deliberately sunk by the Mafia, may be polluting the Mediterranean.

    (Mafia Contract Out – On Mother Earth).

  11. Silly travelogue question: My kid just returned from a 2 week trip trip to Italy (Venice) and Greece (Corfu & Santorini) …she seems to always include Italy in her itinerary before going off to the elsewhere in the Mediterranean or Europe. I know she’s never visited Sicily, especially not Cianciana. Give me a good argument to send her there next…the old time atmosphere seems like something she would like immensely. She works in a high pressure finance job that gives little respite, so her trips are her escape. Your trip sounds perfect. If you get a chance, I’d love the itinerary.

    Either that, or I will insist she visit Austria in winter, visit Vienna, and then go to Kitzbuhl and Innsbruck, for some world cup races, which I will meet her there for the events. I still know some old time racers who will always be at one or the other of those events….even if we are all old dudes now.

    Never the less, Sicily makes more sense, for the rural atmosphere and for the history.

    • Aridog, if she likes geology and volcanos, then Mt. Etna is a fascinating visit in Sicily. Messina as a town is an interesting stop too. There is an astronomical clock tower there that I found fascinating, and in the straits of Messina I observed a submarine patrolling. I don’t know if that is a frequent observation or not, but I thought it was pretty cool. If she likes cruises, leaving from Rome through the straits of Messina, along the way they often pass Mt. Stromboli, an active volcano that also is cool to see. It is a volcano just protruding out of the water, all by itself. Fascinating.

      I have been to Venice, Corfu and Santorini. Venice and Santorini are very unique visits as you probably know. Few places can compare to them for their uniqueness. Sicily is a nice visit, but it will not exceed value as a visit to those two places, in my opinion. Your personal mileage may differ. On the other hand, Sicily would be higher on my list of places to visit than Corfu.

    • Aridog, if she likes unique Mediterranean towns with culture, then you might consider adding Dubrovnik, Croatia to her list of places to visit along with Italy. Dubrovnik was a big surprise to me when we landed there as a port stop on a Holland America cruise ship. Look it up and you will probably see what I mean. A fascinating old town located on the beautiful clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.

  12. david2575….sorry to be slow in responding. Been busy with old work stuff and medical stuff this week. I’ll pass along your suggestions to Kim, although I suspect “shopping” is her main drive, she has fooled me more than once….one of her trips was to visit old cathedrals and churches in Italy and France…the very l-a-s-t thing I thought she’d be interested in doing.

    As for what I know about Europe…all of it is from immigrants, or competitors, from there, my visitation interests are in Asia, because I once lived there and missed so much of it….at the time because of wars and other unpleasantnesses. Kim keeps threatening to drag me off to Europe sooner than later. And I keep telling her no problem if it is for the Hahnenkamm Alpine ski races in Kitzbuhel, Austria, with race venue accommodations, I’m ready to go🙂 She mutters something about “cold”…go figure.

    • Aridog wrote: “She mutters something about “cold”…go figure.”

      LOL. She and I think the same way. One of my daughters wanted to go to the Arctic circle to stay in these glass igloos and watch the Northern Lights. It is a very unique hotel in Finland called Kakslauttanen. Check the hotel out with the pictures:
      http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/

      My first reaction was how awesome. Then I was like, “wait, it is really cold. I do not like cold.” My memories of cold is that it is like living in an ice box. I do not like that. Getting snowed in, not able to take plane or even drive car on icy roads. I don’t like that.

      As I began to plan the trip, with sledding, snowmobiling, etc., I eventually thought it was just too much money for three people to do. I usually travel free on points and stay at hotels for free, but there was no option for that here. So we switched to an Alpine trip where I could work the points to our advantage. She was happy about it, but I am again thinking like your daughter. But this is going to be cold.

      If she likes shopping, then I am certain she loves Milan. I brought one of my other daughters there earlier this year. She stayed in Milan shopping while I took a detour to Florence and Pisa before coming back to Milan to meet up with her.

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