The car is ours. The dwelling behind belongs to a vineyard in Sicily that is part of the AGRITURISMO program recently started there. You ask what is AGRITURISMO ? It is a new movement in Italy to turn large farm houses at vineyards or olive groves , or similar, into vacation stops. The concept is basically you as a tourist get the opportunity to stay at a working farm or vineyard far, far away from the maddening world of tourism and chill out, enjoy a horseback ride, cooking class, tour of the farm, or even get down and dirty and pick some olives with the rest of the crew. Great idea, right?
After traveling half way across Sicily on the last leg of a Sicilian adventure with my friends and my husband, dreaming about this rustic villa in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by vineyards, where we would imbibe local vino…maybe even jump in the tub and do some stamping ourselves…and getting lost on several dirt roads on our quest… we pull up to a rather simple house, in a somewhat appealing setting, but totally void of any of the charm or amenities we anticipated.
Trying to ignore my husband’s astonishment at what he was looking at ( see him … husband #1, sitting above with husband #2,) I coaxed him to follow the lovely woman eager to show us to our accommodations in this simple building on the property. On the positive side the room was clean, and had indoor plumbing … on the negative side, it had the hardest mattress I ever sat on, and reminded me of my camp days as a child!
As we had three nights reserved here, and always being the “cockeyed optimist,” I sat down to discuss the activities I anticipated during my stay with the woman in charge. To my dismay, although we had organized via email all sorts of things as advertised on the web site, nothing was available! ( I should have guess it when I looked over at the “playground” area on the property, which consisted of an old, dirty red sliding pond and nothing more!!!!)
I have to admit the idea of being in the middle of nowhere on this earth has always fascinated me, and the place had a certain beauty, (especially at seven o’clock at night with no place to go!)
Okay, time to regroup. Yes, the place had a certain rustic charm. And the lovely woman in charge was eager to cook us a home cooked Sicilian dinner… which sounded like just the thing to perk our spirits up a bit.
We quickly order a bottle of wine … always good for calming the situation…and after one glass we have decided to hit the road again in the morning. But not of course, until we enjoyed a rather delicious country- style dinner, and a rather uncomfortable night sleeping in our rooms!
In the morning we make one quick call to our friend in Turino…always good to have a friend in Turino… And before you can say “ciao ciao,” we are booked into a fantastic hotel in Palermo, the Hilton Villa Igiea Palermo, for the rest of our stay. Please note the distinct difference in the accommodations!
The moral of the tale is that old adage, “All that glitters is not gold!” And I must admit that I guess I’m getting too old or spoiled for low down and basic. I can rough it on a sail boat, but I still need my senses stimulated by a certain level of sophistication. Do you suppose I should throw away all my travel guides from the Lonely Planet?
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!