Today, 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.
We 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.
Walking 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).