Dreaming of Sicily – from West Cork to the Mediterranean

For over 15 years, MammaSicily has been bringing holidaymakers to Sicily to experience this Italian region’s unique artistic, cultural, and culinary heritage. It specialises in holidays at some of the most beautiful villas on the island where you can immerse yourself in the sites, tastes and experiences of Taormina, Cefalú, Palermo, Ragusa and Siracusa – to name just a few. West Cork People speaks with the owner of MammaSicily, the writer and radio-television author Giovanni Vallone, who has recently moved to Bantry in West Cork with his wife, the well-known chef Silvana Recupero. 

“We moved to Bantry because of the beauty, “Giovanni says. “We love the sea and we wanted to establish a base in Ireland for bringing more Irish people to Sicily. When we came here in May, we just fell in love with Bantry and the Atlantic coast. Also, I am making a documentary focusing on Ireland on behalf of Italian Public Network.”

Giovanni is well known everywhere in Sicily, as he has travelled and explored the island on his motorbike for most of his life. The local press calls him ‘the motor-writer of Sicily.’

“I love to enjoy the island, as well as the coastline. In Sicily we have different landscapes: the black coloured stone of Etna area; the yellow summertime landscape due to the grain fields; the green wintertime landscape due to the grain fields; and the white coloured stone of the southern side of Sicily that resemble Africa. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

“There is so much to see and enjoy. At MammaSicily, we provide a range of options including villas with pools, sea view villas, mountain villas or charming apartments. For any budget, we have something special.”

In comparison to West Cork, Silvana says the Irish are like the Sicilians – very friendly, open and welcoming to visitors. 

“But the experience and the place are very different,” she says. “We think Irish people will enjoy it very much. Over the years, we have seen more and more Irish discover Sicily.”

“When you book with us, you are getting all our experience and our assistance. We know Sicily and we know the people we work with. In Italy, like Ireland, relationships are very important. For over 15 years, I have been making sure that my guests have the best experiences and many of them come back to me again and again,” said Giovanni.

They can now mix two passions – their passion for Sicily and their newly discovered passion for Ireland. 

“I would like people to call me,” Giovanni says, “so we can talk about Sicily and enjoy an Irish cup of tea or a Sicilian dessert wine that we brought from our land. This is a nice way to talk about a journey to Sicily. So tell people that they can call me and I’ll arrange to meet them!”

Silvana Recupero’s passion is food. She is famous in Sicily and is an exceptionally gifted chef. She has presented many television programs showing off the best Sicilian recipes and has taught Sicilian cuisine to customers from all over the world, such as at Bahlsen farm, Culinary Institute of New York. With such experience it is no surprise that MammaSicily provides special food tours where guests can experience real Sicilian life from local housewives who are passionate about food and hospitality.

“You can experience two great things on one of our tours,” Giovanni says. “Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, which has the most incredible trails, walks and nature and, most importantly, there is an unforgettable and refined Sicilian lunch prepared just for you. The Fire of Etna and the cuisine of a Sicilian housewife: that is our most popular tour!”

And life in West Cork?

“It is an adventure and we love to find new things, new foods, and new friends. Only God knows what will happen. When you move from your country to a new one, you can forecast nothing. We just like to enjoy the beauties of this magic land: landscapes, beer, quietness, the incredible walks, your friendly people, and Ireland’s good and genuine food – I can assure you that your food is absolutely genuine!”

Who better to experience Sicily with? Giovanni and Silvana will bring you to the Mediterranean Sea, the sun, and the food of Sicily in one fell swoop! Whether it is a stunning villa to let or a full day tours on the Ionian coastline, cocktails on boats, visits to the Cyclopean Isles or explorations and swims in lava caves – MammaSicily has something for you. And all from two of West Cork’s newest locals! Just ask for Giovanni or Silvana!

See Giovanni’s website for all details, accommodation and tour options: https://www.mammasicily.com/ Or call him at 083 4019475 for a cup of tea or a glass of wine!

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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