Sicily is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in the heart of a region where wine has been made for over 4,000 years. Sicily is a meeting point of cultures which developed in Europe, Africa and Asia and which fused together to form an inseparable and unique fruit. Because of this, when visiting the island, one may encounter people as blond as the Vikings or dark as the Berbers, whilst the Sicilian cuisine is a concentration of the many flavors to be found on the shores of the small sea, or rather large lake, whose name means “in the middle of the lands”.
Sicily has preserved its historical centers and the typical nature of ancient European cities, such that often large parts of both its small and larger cities date back to bygone centuries. For instance, Siracusa’s cathedral is essentially the Temple of Athena (built 25 centuries ago), adapted for use as a Catholic church. While Palermo has the largest historical centre in Europe, and maybe even in the world, based on buildings dating back to before XII century. Skyscrapers are noticeable by their absence. The largest cities consist of buildings between two and eight stories, the smaller cities tending to only have buildings of up to four stories high. Typical of nearly all of the centers, at least those dating back to before 1800, is the presence of a castle.
Wine in Sicily has a history thousands of years old. Archaeological remains, in fact, prove the cultivation of vines around 3,000 years ago, and it is not by chance that one of the largest ancient wine cellars known today is to be found close to Agrigento. This wine cellar was in operation 2,400 years ago when Archestratos was writing in Siracusa the first ever book dedicated entirely to gastronomy, transmitted to us.
According to a modern day winemaker, all the wine grapes coming from the Middle East and Greece, passed through Sicily and then made their way north. We don’t know if this was in fact the case, however it is certain that even today hundreds of different grape varieties are cultivated in Sicily.
Our has its own vineyards in Noto, a city famous for both history and art, with great wine-making traditions which still remain today. In 2002 Noto has been included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.