Magazine article The Spectator

Sicilyield

Magazine article The Spectator

Sicilyield

Article excerpt

It could be, in Sicily, there comes a time when you 've had your f i l l o f seas ide calamari and cheap white wine. The sheer thrill of lying on a beach without goosebumps never really fades, but by day four you may need a break from all the nakedness: Italians blackening in rows like sausages, or Brits, more lumpen, clumped in ones and twos, turning pink.

If you can bring yourself to turn your back on the Med, it's well worth it. From Palermo, take the coastal road, then turn right, inland on the A19 towards Catania. Or drive south on the world's most surprising motorway, which leaps right over Monreale and lands on the cliffs above. Head southeast and soon the countryside will flatten into hills and plains of durum wheat baked yellow, waiting for harvest.

Nothing about inland Sicily feels truly As you reach the very centre of the counItalian. There's not enough bustle and chatter. Unmoving hawks fix in the gelatinous air, the sun seems motionless above the road. Old men in black stand by their mules and stare as the car goes by.

try, equidistant from each coast, the horizon rises up into a shallow chain of mountains and a small city appears on a hilltop plateau overlooking the valley. This is Enna, the highest regional capital in Italy, also known as Belvedere, beautiful view or 'l'ombelico', the 'navel' of Sicily.

Enna's like something out of a fairytale - the old sort where things don't necessarily end as you would wish. Cliffs drop away from the town on either side and a visitor who begins the steep approach feels a little watched. …

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