The 10 Sicilian typical things you can’t miss: a journey between traditions and culture

typical sicilian

If you’re planning a trip to Sicily, you have to know what are the most important things to do to completely immerse in the culture and the tastes of the isle. To help you, here’s a list of the 10 Sicilian typical things that you can’t miss:

1)      The Sicilian cart. It was used just for transport. Later it become a very decorated and colored iconic symbol of the isle.

2)      Bronte’s pistachio nuts. Sicily is the only region where the pistachio nut of the pistacia vera species is cultivated, and the Bronte one is so exquisite that it received the attribution of  DOP pistachio nut (DOP is the Italian equivalent for PDO). Needless to say that this “green gold” is known all over the world and it’s used for good ice creams and typical sweets.

3)      Cannoli and Cassata. Talking about sweets, when you visit Sicily, you have to taste a great Sicilian Cannolo or a piece of Cassata. Both of these typical sweets have in common the fresh local ricotta. There are numerous variations, with the addition of chocolate drops, pistachio nuts, cinnamon, pine nuts and other ingredients.

4)      Popular markets. Ballarò, Vucciria, Capo, Fera ‘o Luni: these are the popular markets in Palermo. Sounds, perfumes, and colors mixed to create an energetic confusion. They were built during the Islamic period, in fact these markets remember the Middle East “suks” and they are in the historic center of the city.

5)      “I Pupi”. The show of the typical Sicilian marionettes, “I Pupi”, is something you can’t miss. There are numerous around the city and they talk about the adventures of dames and knights during the Arab-Norman period. While classic marionettes have strings, I Pupi don’t, and they’re moved with specific beams by the expert “pupari”.

6)      Arancine and street food. Between the typical Sicilian dishes there are the “arancine”, a must for every tourist. Palermo and Catania have the best arancines in Sicily, the recipes are many and for every taste. Other famous elements of the Sicilian street food are the pani ca meusa (bread with spleen), cazzilli (potatoes croquettes), panelle (fritters with chickpeas flour).

7)      Scacciapensieri (the Jew’s harp). It’s also called marranzanu in Sicilian. This traditional instrument is composed by a metal foil bended as a horseshoe. Its characteristic sounds is present in almost every popular Sicilian song, particularly in “tarantellas”.

8)      Teste di moro. They are traditional vase made of ceramic that represent moor’s head. The legend says that a wonderful Sicilian girl fell in love with a moor boy and when she heard that he had to come back in Orient, she cut his head and made it a vase where the basil grew luxuriantly.

9)      Marsala. Made in the city of the same name, this liqueur wine is tied to a famous Palermitan entrepreneur, Vincenzo Florio, who started the production in 1853 to challenge with the English competition. Marsala was the first wine to receive the DOC denomination in Italy and it’s one of the Italian symbol in the world.

10)  Chocolate of Modica. Dulcis in fundo, the famous chocolate of Modica: its peculiarity is the fact that during the production it never do beyond 35-40°. This let the sugar crystals and the other ingredients not to completely melt, so the flavor of the cocoa is particularly intense.

This is just a little selection of the Sicilian typical things you shouldn’t miss during your holiday and they give an idea of how many beauties this isle can offer to its visitors.


Image source: Wikimedia

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