Mention Sicily and relaxing beaches, fantastic mountain views, sunshine and excellent Mediterranean food fill the mind. A place where you can rub elbows with the gods.
Sicily is both old and new. Dipped in the beauty of history while keeping in time with the modern world. We deemed it as the perfect backdrop for our campaign.
Take for instance, the town of Palermo. It has everything. You can get lost in ornate baroque churches, prance around in expansive piazzas, get blinded by shiny domes and marvel at the history of the cobblestone streets you walk on. At the same time, crumbling buildings and worn out facades remind you of progress. Duck into narrow alleyways and prepare to battle it out with scooters as they brush by when you walk. Street vendors with an assortment of fruits, colorful blooms and strange sea creatures all laid out for careful inspection.
The other popular Sicilian town is Syracuse, in the southeastern portion of the island. You might have heard of it from way back in history class.
Here, you step into the world of ancient Greeks and Romans. A short walk leads you to the Temple of Apollo or the site where the Altar of Hieron II once stood. At Piazza Armerina, you'll find beautiful wall mosaics of girls in "bikinis" inside Villa Romana del Casale.
Image Credit www.visitsicily.info
Of course, Sicily is more than crumbling temples and a playground for forgotten gods; it's also a haven for gastronomist. Right near Villa Romana del Casale, for example, there's never a corner or a café too far away. Check out Al Fogher and get a helping of delicious Sicilian cuisine. Run by a small family, they serve wonderful dishes and offer a beautiful garden terrace while you sip your wine.
Take a drive out to Taormina; one of our locations for the campaign, the climb can test your nerves and driving skills. Taormina has a constant hover of people from June to August. But wait around until September and you'll find quiet time with the beaches. Achingly beautiful panoramas with quaint architecture and Mt. Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano stands ready for a snap.
Image Credit www.fredericococo.it
Its greatest attraction however, is 2,300 years old – the marvelous Teatro Greco. A spot where Greeks once enjoyed their sonnets and the Romans their plays, it is well preserved. As you sit there taking in the art, the view will leave you breathless.
Walk a short distance and you'll find Piazza Duomo where a centaur, Taormina's symbol, stands proud. People watch at Corso Umberto I while sampling Sicilian pastries and pistachio gelato. You won't regret it. If the cannolo was something you loved, you'll enjoy the Vienna finger cookies loaded with jam.
And did we mention the beaches.
Feeling a splurge while you check out Mt. Etna views? Stay at Grand Hotel Timeo and make sure to leave at least 2 hours for the breakfast buffet. Or to really make it authentic we stayed at the beautiful Villa Edera, it's perfect for families or a large group of travellers.
Our second shoot location, the famous is a stunning piece of exposed white marl near Realmonte, also known in Italian as 'Scala Dei Turchi' or 'The Turkish Steps'. Delicately carved by nature into giant steps, it was a favored landing spot by pirates, hence the name. It takes a bit to get here but it's worth it. You can walk along the beach and enjoy the water. At the same time, you can stay for the sunset and watch it parade its beautiful orange glow against the white soft stone.
Sicily is best enjoyed when you have great coffee in hand, not to mention an appreciation for the quaint and beauty of the old world. It's a remarkable place steeped in history, culture and fantastic food. We can't blame you if by the end you want to stay. It was hard for us all to leave.