Tips & Info for a holiday in Sicily #1: the climate and the appropriate clothing

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Looking the search terms used to find your blog is comforting, it makes you feel a less strange person. Somebody asks if Sicily is in northern or southern hemisphere or if Ryanair company allows to put pasta, coffee, Nutella, cigarettes and olive oil in the hold baggage (certainly he/she is an university student from Southern Italy) or if the heat kills birds in summer in Sicily. The million dollars question “Is Palermo safe?” is not important as “What do I have to wear in Sicily in February/April/May/summer/September/ December/ in Palermo, in the top of Erice mountain/ during Cous Cous Festival? (????)”
Here a long post about the weather and the appropriate clothes for a holiday in Sicily 🙂

Sicily is an island but is one of the most varied regions of Italy. The western dialect is different from that eastern one, different words for the same things within few kilometres, there are wars even about the name of foods. Sicily is a hot island and its people too. People go to Sicily above all in summer thinking of beaches and sea but forgetting that it’s the biggest island in Mediterranean Sea. There are many mountainous areas very far from the sea and the temperatures aren’t the same between the costline and hinterland.

Generally:

Coastal Area: mediterranean climate

Spring and summer are very long, winter is short. Rainfalls are rare in summer, it rains above all in winter (but not so much) and the diurnal temperature variation is between 11°C early in the morning with a keen wind and 22°C at midday with a hot sun (in December). Snow is an illusion in the coastline (with some exceptions) but there is a high humidity level, often over 85% (it means that if thermometer measures 33°C, you perceive over 40°C).

Hinterland: continental climate

Here it rains less but temperature is very low with snowfalls, frost and fog, fog, fog in winter. Summer isn’t too much hot because of the lower humidity level.

Sicily is very beautiful in spring, when Nature is lush and colorful and few people take a week’s holiday, the island is all for you. The temperature fluctuates between 18°C and 30°C and the evenings are cool. Spring in Sicily is ideal if you hate the summer stuffiness but you want to go to the beach and visit the cities.

Summer

is very hot and the sun is cruel, there is the same climate in north Africa, also because there is the Sirocco, the wind blows from the desert, the sky is covered by sand and temperature is between 27°C and 40°C. If you like the sea and spending many hours on the beach this is your season. Whereas if you prefer trekking, August isn’t a good idea for your summer holidays (unless you have experience of stronger trekking behind, at Great Salt Lake for example). Summer in Sicily is more beautiful in July.

Autumn

temperature is pleasant as in spring, from 18°C to a maximum of 26°C. You can still bathe in September and often till the first half of October. It’s a good period for holidays: less tourists, more relaxed hoteliers and kinder restaurateurs, many culinary events and cultural festivals as “Le Vie dei Tesori” (I talked about it here) and trekking is perfect. Unfortunately the boat trips of little islands are only in September, because the sea isn’t good for a pleasant sailing but ferries and hydrofoils work during all year, if anger of Poseidon allows the trip.

Winter

It’s the season with few tourists, also because there are less Ryanair flights starting from November. Temperature is between 5°C and 23°C and it’s the season of rains and cold wind. Winter exists also in Sicily and it could be cold so don’t wear flip flops, ok? IT’S COLD! Sometimes because the humidity it’s freezing. You can’t bathe and trekking is hard if it rained or a cold wind is blowing (but in other moments it’s ok if you don’t fear the cold). The real winter arrives to sicilian coastline from the second half of December and lasts till February. It starts before in the hinterland, where it snows, so consider ten degrees less. The ski season opens on the top of Etna and at Piano Battaglia (near Palermo)

When is the best period to visit Sicily?

April (the temperature is good but sometimes it rains) – May- June – September – October and, why not?, November are the perfect months to visit the sicilian coastline, both for trekking and for visiting the cities because temperatures are torelable, between 16°C and 27°C. I included November because in the last years there is a “translation” in the seasonal calendar and the good weather delays to arrive but in November you don’t need the coat and the wool scarf. The weather is variable, so some days a t-shirt and a cotton jacket are enough and other ones you need also a hoodie, above all in the evening.

Some fearless bathe also on 26th December but the best period for the beach is between May and September. In the hinterland the temperatures are more clement in summer. If you like to ski you can go to Etna in December, the level of snow is already good. Usually it snows from half of November to the end of February.

Recapitulating:

January: 5°C – 22°C
February: 5°C – 22°C
March: 10°C – 26°C
April: 12°C – 27°C
May: 16°C – 28°C
June: 18°C – 30°C
July: 22°C – 36°C
August: 26°C – 42°C
September: 25°C – 35°C
October: 15°C – 22°C
November: 8°C – 20°C
December: 5°C – 22°C

What can I wear for a holiday in Sicily?

CLOTHES

For winter: bring sweaters, coat and cap because it’s cold. If you need a Ryanair- friendly light luggage and you won’t stay always in a 5 stars hotel, substitute the sweaters with a fleece sweatshirt, they weigh little and keep warm. I recommend above all the cap, to warm up the ears and keep the hair in order. Second option for girls: bring a fur earflap! Warm ears and disciplined hair guaranteed 😀
Here we don’t wear rubber boots when it rains but sicilian roads are potholed and giant puddles form with two drops of water, so wear waterproof shoes 😛
The wind is strong in seaside tows as Trapani, so if it’s raining and you have an umbrella you could say accidentally some swear words. Bring a k-way, few grams weight and wind and rain are a distant memory.

For summer and autumn: bring light clothing. If you want to go trekking in the natural reserve of Zingaro in August, DON’T WEAR AN UNDERSHIRT if you want to avoid a burn, there are only two trees in all reserve! Put liters of sun lotion and cover your shoulders with a scarf after 11 a.m.. Bring a cotton jacket for a walk by the sea. The same applies if you have a holiday in Trapani and go up to Erice, where temperature always drops of 4-5 degrees.
From May to the beginning of October you can wear the swimsuit under the dress, one never knows (NB UNDER the dress and NOT as the only clothe, this is a strange mistake of some turists :P). For a holiday in November put long sleeved shirts, t-shirts and at least a jacket and a sweatshirt for the cool wind.
NB Bring a sun lotion with high SPF, also to walk in the town.

SHOES


It depends on what you need to do.
If you go trekking in Zingaro Reserve don’t use flip flops, not even for the easy coastal pathway or you just want to bathe in the small coves. Wear sneakers, or better tough shoes, there are many unpleasant stones in the pathways.
I suggest flip flops just for the beach in Sicily. Many villages and towns have paved roads, sometimes with pebbles, so even if you like that terrible foot massage, the slip is around the corner. Instead they are fundamental on the beach, to walk on the infernal hot sand after noon or for walking on the shoreline (the sicilian beaches are different from each other, someones have a sand as fine as talcum whereas others are rocky or full of pebbles or with stone grains)

So, no heels for a holiday in Sicily? Mmmm no joking, please! Heels and wedges are allowed but girls, be smart, put a pair of foot-saving ballet flats in the bag, you don’t know the roads to go.

As usual, if you’ve read this far in this post, I love you! 😀

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com;
If you prefer to sleep at Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Annunci

Flowers in Sicily | April

Wild fennel flowers in Sicily

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Some months ago a man pointed out us that the foreing people imagine Sicily dry and yellow but it’s because they come here in July or August and they marvel of the colours of our lands in April.

The Sicily isn’t nearly barren! I wrote this post for the first time in italian during the passage from a very rainy winter to a scorching summer preview, in the end of April. There wasn’t spring this year but luckily I never shifted the clothes in my wardrobe this year. It’s prevision (presage?), not extreme disorganization. And in those days before the “terrible” sicilian summer I walked and walked and know I show the sicilian country in spring.

In April the lands are full of “Sulla” (Hedysarum coronarium), that is fuchsia flowers for happy cows. It’s a native plant in Sicily and there are big fuchsia carpets in this month, also because it was planted specifically for pasture. It’s appreciated by cows and bees. It can be eaten in salad or omelet, both flowers and leaves, but I don’t know its taste. If you don’t like new age salads you can put them in a pot, they are long-lasting.

Wood-sorrel” (in italian: Acetosella gialla, Oxalis pes-caprae), that before I knew as “The flower with stem tastes like lemon”. Doing searching on Internet I found this definition: growing over, (in Sicily it’s wherever) but it’s so nice with its lemon yellow flowers that it isn’t kind define it like this.

Also this plant can be used in salad but you can also take one and squeeze the stem by teeth, it has a light sour taste. I suggest you to eat only the flowers picked up in open country, it’s less probable that a dog went pee on. Eat it little because the oxalate acids are harmful to kidney. I think it’s the most typical and nice wild plant in Sicily.

Wild glad in Sicily

The wild gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), the Poetess and me picked up many and many of them during our walks, while the two Nespule looking for us alone, sad and disconsolate. They have fuchsia-violet flowers and we tried to plant them because they are simple but really elegant. They are frail, don’t leave them under the sun after harvest them. I couldn’t reproduce them in the vase, of course.

Sicilian broom, ginestra

The broom, that plant much loved by your mother,reason why your father didn’t hesitate to stop in motorway to harvest big bundles of them. This is my (very old) memory of this plant with yellow flowers.
– Memory number 2: they have a terribly hard trunk, you have to use a knife to cut them (their fibre was used to make ropes).
– Memory number 3: they smell nice and the bees like them (I discovered this particular while daddy, unflappable, harvested them next to me O_O).
– Memory number 4: They are very resistant and few discerning but they can be infested by aphids (I discovered this hugging a big bundle for my mother ).
– Memory number 5: my mother liked them very much.
– Memory number 6: that evening had on tv the terrible movie ‘The House of the Spirits‘.

Brock daisies and nice little daisies. I always liked wild daisies but I didn’t ever harvest them to put in a pot on the table, because I hate their stink! (and lilium smell too) I prefer other daisies that I saw, they are white and little and nice and Scopello parking lot is full of them. They remind me of the toilet paper that my parents bought when I was a child, with printed flowers and a so intense fragrance. (Ok, you can close this page)

Poppies in Sicily

Poppies! By now I don’t see many of these nice red flowers but when me and my brothers were children, our mother took us to see big exquisite red lands surronded by buildings at the Trapani periphery. I’m sorry their fragility, you can’t harvest and put them in a pot to have a happy awakening.

Wild fennel flowers in Sicily

Wild fennel. Sicilian lands are full of this plant but I didn’t know it. I took a picture of these ones in the lands around Segesta temple, before the sunset. It’s a likeable wild plant and it is an Umbellifera. The fennel is used everywhere but in my opinion the best use is in “pasta con le sarde“, spiced with the small tender branches you find during a walk. Actually fennel is good for everything: against the stomach ache, vomit, good for liver, seeds are used to aromatize the sausage in Sicily and it can be hallucinogenic O_O

Yellow and violet cardoon, in the end of April they are everywhere in Sicily. They are infest but nice, it’s a Lady Gaga Flower. It’s also the flower that reminds the sicilian shepherd Dafni, his parents were Hermes god and a nymph. He was beautiful like all shepherds of greek mythology (but their beauty genes are lost in current shepherds). Dafni was killed by his betrayed nymph-girlfriend and the Earth created the cardoon because of the pain.

Wild Iris in Sicily

Wild Iris in Sicily

Wild iris is one of the most elegant and hidden wild flowers, they are so tiny. I discovered that the meaning of its name, in greek, is rainbow and this is enough for me 🙂

Unknown wild flowers in Sicily

Unknown wild flowers in Sicily

Mistery flowers. I don’t know their name but I like them because they seem many tiny suns 🙂

I love pictures of flowers, I HAD TO write a post about flowers in Sicily. I walk slowly and I’m always the last of my group but I like take pictures of them and their evanescent beauty. When I see again these pictures it’s as remembering little happy memories, just for one moment. They don’t make you definitively happy or solve your problems but 5 minutes of beauty every day refresh the heart. Ever.

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com