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Sicily: Coast to Coast

September 21, 2011

The traveler who wants to head to the South Western coast of Sicily would drive the motorway which cuts through the island, Catania-Palermo, A 19.  However, if one wants to enjoy the drive along part of the southern coast on the western side, then one would not follow the motorway all the way.  The choice made was the second one.  At 11 am I set out from Catania and took  A 19 towards Enna.  The drive along the initial part of A 19 runs along an area which is rather rugged, dry, and hilly.  It has its own beauty and sense of wildness.

Arriving at Enna, town I visited years ago with my German friend, Brigitte, who called it the belly button of Sicily, I proceeded to take a highway heading to the southern shore.  As I headed south on SS 640, the scenery changed.  The landscape became plush and green.  As Canicatti’ approached, the hills all around were plastered with vineyards!  No music, no talking, just taking in the beuaty of nature along the ride!  However, road construction is an ongoing matter in the area and the detour from the planned path arrived,  ten kilometers before Agrigento.

Agrigento has a horrific backdrop nowadays, of a conglomerate of high concrete buildings, but the better landscape it is well known for is the Valley of the Temples.  Down the valley from today’s modern city lie a group of Greek temples.  Visiting the temples is not on the plan this time, but I have visited them many times in the past.  The peace of the area, the beauty of the landscape make this a stop any traveler must make.

Immediately after Agrigento, I drove through Porto Empedocle.  The town was asleep, as it was siesta time.  I drove past the Moncada facility, which I have heard a lot about, as Moncada is carrying out one of the large projects on solar energy on the island.  Next, I resumed the drive along the southern coast towards Marsala.  Time after time, little towns perched up on a hill would appear along the way.  Siculiana was one that caught my attention as its color seemed golden from the distance.  Another town enjoying a gorgeous vegetation of palm trees, a variety of trees, vineyards and orchards was Eraclea Minoa, right on the coast,  At this point, what added to the beauty of the landscape was the fact that the vineyards were just covering the land all the way up to the coastline, and the sea right next to them was an emerald green!!!

After a little detour inland for what was supposed to be the final leg along the coast, detour  caused by my following a sign to Marsala, but not realiziing it would not lead me to the highway, but rather to unkept country roads,  I arrived at my destination.  It is a  campground on the waterfront, right across from the tiny island of Mozia. Looking at the map of Sicily it is just north of Marsala. The family running this facility is very welcoming and just what I needed after a long ride, approximately 250 miles.  We ate together, spoke for hours and this morning I will set out exploring the area.  As one can see from the pictures below, salt production is carried out in this area, so besides visiting vineyards there will be excursions to the salt deposits.

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