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Patrick Love Photography bio picture

Simply put,

I love carrying around a camera, and trying to get people to look into the lens.

Marettimo, Sicily

This map outlines the route we took during our twenty days in Sicily.  We started in Palermo, then traveled clockwise until we got back to Palermo.

sicily900 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo The Island of Marettimo was the last stop of our trip.  I saved it for the end, because you don’t want to spoil the rest of your trip by visiting the best place first.  My love affair with this island goes back over a decade to when I visited in 2001.  In my memory it was the perfect Mediterranean island pristine, untouched and ready for adventure.  One bar, a couple of restaurants, and a few home stays for visitors.  Once there, your options are a bit limited.  You can go hiking, swimming, scuba diving, take a boat tour around the island, or go fishing if you are able to sweet talk a local.  Most of all, visitors just come to experience a totally different type of living.  One completely cut off from the noise and striving of the rest of the world.  If you are an island snob, searching for that perfect essence of what makes an island a special place, then you will find it and none of the extra trappings that can get in the way of that special vibe.

We stayed at La Tartaruga Bed and Breakfast, which was perfect in every way.

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The old Norman Castle can be seen above the city, even though it’s all the way on the northern tip of the island.  DSC2362 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2301 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2275 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo Half way up the side of Mt. Falcone, among some Roman ruins, hikers can stop for a rest in this Byzantine church.  DSC2242 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo

On a boat tour around the island, guides will expertly stear their boats into several of the islands caves and blue holes like the one seen here.marettimo1 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2385 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2396 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2436 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2447 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo

We hiked to the highest peak on Marettimo, Mt. Falcone.  The town can be seen below on the left.DSC2253 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2268 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2269 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2284 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2286 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2292 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2297 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2305 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo Visitors can hike to a crumbling Norman castle that also once served as a prison.  DSC2143 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo DSC2187 Marettimo, Sicily Marettimo

Isole Favignana, Sicily

The largest of the Egadi Islands, Favignana was one of the highlights of our time in Sicily.  You’ll have to excuse the lack of photos, but I was having fun doing other things.  Biking around the island, snorkeling or swimming, scuba diving, and enjoying the vibrant town which has countless restaurants, cafes, bars, and bakeries to keep visitors from all over the world satiated.  Of all the Egadi Islands, Favignana has the best beaches and is best equipped to handle foreign visitors.  Somehow it does this while managing to not lose its charm and character.

We stayed here, which got the job done, but but was not amazing.  If you want to splash out, stay at the Cave Bianche Hotel.

DSC2053hdr2 Isole Favignana, Sicily Favignana Egadi Cala Rossa Warm Mediterranean water, no litter, and a shallow white sandy bottom make Cala Rossa one of the best beaches in the world.  DSC2086 Isole Favignana, Sicily Favignana Egadi Cala Rossa “Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you’ve got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you’ve got to dye your hair cobalt blue, or wander remote islands in Sicily…

― Julie Powell

DSC2122 Isole Favignana, Sicily Favignana Egadi Cala Rossa

Saline di Trapani, Sicily

On a small stretch of road between Marsala and Trapani are the remains of Sicily’s once booming salt industry.  Now, due to global market forces undercutting their prices, Saline de Trapani is little more than a family business which provides salt to the slow food movement around Europe.

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For centuries, salt farmers have maintained shallow marshes with gates that allow windmills to pump fresh seawater into each marsh where it is kept until the seawater evaporates, leaving behind the salt. DSC1814 Saline di Trapani, Sicily Saline di Trapani DSC1861 Saline di Trapani, Sicily Saline di Trapani

Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily

To be honest, Agrigento isn’t much more than a stop over on the way to western Sicily.  However it does have the best Greek ruins in Sicily and a unique beach nearby.  We stayed in a nice apartment here.

DSC1720 Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily Scala del Turchi Agrigento DSC1728 Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily Scala del Turchi Agrigento agrigento Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily Scala del Turchi Agrigento DSC1743 Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily Scala del Turchi Agrigento DSC1763 Agrigento and Scala del Turchi, Sicily Scala del Turchi Agrigento

Ragusa and Modica, Sicily

Famous for spaghetti sauce and chocolate, Ragusa and Modica are perhaps the best-preserved baroque towns in Sicily.  We stopped in Modica for a quick lunch and to buy chocolate bars for friends back home.  We stayed the night in Ragusa, where we explored its steep, pedestrian-only back streets.  The place we stayed in Ragusa was just a short walk from the view just below.

DSC1689 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1588 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1539 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1579 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1586 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica “Cultures of honor tend to take root in highlands and other marginally fertile areas, such as Sicily…

― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

DSC1591 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1599 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1604 Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica DSC1612hdr Ragusa and Modica, Sicily Ragusa Modica

Syracuse, Sicily

Syracuse, or more specifically Ortygia, is a mini-peninsula connected to the mainland by three short bridges.  It is the historic center of Syracuse and as such, is packed with the aging baroque apartments that once made up the largest city in the medieval world.  Eventually, you have to give yourself over to the tangled web of narrow streets and just wander. No matter what, every street comes to an end at a Piazza or the sparkling azure sea.

Syracuse has some of Sicily’s top restaurants.  Restaurants here tend to be a bit more international, and feature variations of Sicilian cuisine.  Trattoria La Foglia has inventive food, perfect service, and a bohemian-chic style all its own.  Le Vin de L’assassin Bistrot absolutely stole the show.  You’ll need a reservation and the ability to read handwritten french on chalkboards to access the French-Sicilian fusion cuisine here.

We loved the small apartment we rented.  It can be found here.  The location couldn’t have been any better (next door to Le Vin de L’assassin).

DSC1489 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1390 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1329 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1306 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1443 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1281 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1285 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia syracuse1 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1313 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1321 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia What you lookin’ at?DSC1328 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia syracuse2 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1331 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1332 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1354 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1362 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1371 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia “I’ll go to the south of Sicily in the winter, and paint memories of Arles –This part is my part of the movie, let’s hear yours”
― Jack Kerouac, Tristessa

DSC1387 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1419 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1444 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1456 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1463 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1470 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1517 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia DSC1529 Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse Ortygia

Gangi, Sicily

Gangi, once voted the most beautiful village in Italy, may be the quintessential small Sicilian village, with both the good and bad that brings.  Gangi is a jumble of churches, piazzas and houses on a perfect mound of earth.  Its earlier residents must have settled here due to the excellent surrounding farmland and the defensive advantage that protecting a steep hill brings.  Gangi is known for being a place that fiercely fought against the mafia in the 1920s.  In more recent times, it has faced a declining population, and few economic opportunities for its current residents.

To combat the decline, Gangi made the news with an extremely progressive plan.  Gangi’s townspeople decided to put empty homes up for sale to outsiders for just 1 euro!  This would bring an influx of foreigners, tourism and money.  I can’t help but admire the willingness to risk losing old ways, and the globalization of an extremely mono-cultural place.  Time will tell how this reshapes this ancient settlement.  Perhaps I’ll be able to return someday and stay in a home that was once purchased for 1 euro.

In the meantime, we rented an entire farmhouse on Air BnB.  Anne and I commented that this was the best bargain of our entire trip.

DSC1154 Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1143 Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1159 Gangi, Sicily Gangi “Sicily is paradise. I live in paradise. Now pass the pasta please.”
― Alfred Zappala, The Reverse Immigrant

DSC1162 Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1179 Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1183 Gangi, Sicily Gangi gangi Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1236 Gangi, Sicily Gangi DSC1258 Gangi, Sicily Gangi

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu is one of Sicily’s most famous seaside towns.  Holidaymakers from every corner of the world migrate here each summer for the lovely port, great beaches and perfect little side streets and piazzas.  Spending a morning in the central square below the church, drinking one cappuccino after another and eating pistachio-cream-filled croissants, is an experience to relish.  Of course, then you have to go for a hike or a swim to work off the calories, and the ones from your Italian dinner the night before.

We stayed at Bed and Breakfast Casanova.  It wasn’t the cheapest, but it’s all about location.  Its location is perfect.  The owner was also one of the coolest and most helpful guys we met on our trip.  Word of warning: if you are traveling with a rental car, you cannot drive into Cefalu.  You’ll have to park your car well outside the town and walk to your hotel.  The owner of our place came with a scooter and picked us up.

DSC1108 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1063 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC10422 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1134 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu cefalu1 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu “First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It’s alluring, but complicated. It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes. Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.”
— Beppe Severgnini (La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind) DSC1120 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1111 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1110 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1090 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1089 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu “I hate and detest Sicily in so far as I love it, and in so far as it does not respond to the kind of love I would like to have for it.”
― Leonardo Sciascia

DSC1085 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1061 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu “Italian cities have long been held up as ideals, not least by New Yorkers and Londoners enthralled by the ways their architecture gives beauty and meaning to everyday acts.”
— Rebecca Solnit (Wanderlust: A History of Walking) DSC1060 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1057 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1056 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1047 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1028 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu DSC1026 Cefalu, Sicily Cefalu

Caccamo, Sicily

Caccamo is small town with a way-off-the-beaten-path feel.  In fact, I don’t think there are any traditional hotels or BnBs in town.  There are only a hand full of restaurants, and it seems like they are hardly ever open.  I was drawn to Caccamo because of the picturesque church and castle that sit above the town.  It is rarely photographed because of the low number of travelers who come through this part of Sicily.  I was able to photograph both sunrise and sunset.  On both occasions, it was overcast and the light was flat.  Finally, after much waiting, there was a break in the clouds and I got the sunrise shot below.

I was able to find a homestay type of place here, though it did take some convincing of the owner.  DSC0941 Caccamo, Sicily Caccamo DSC0979 Caccamo, Sicily Caccamo “In Sicily where food is love and the street is a stage.  Street food is more than a cheap meal, it’s Communion.”
― Theresa Maggio, The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily

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Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily

Blessed with a truly Mediterranean climate, Palermitani (residents of Palermo) spend much of their time outdoors.  Palermo is full of markets that are busy in the day with people buying their daily goods, and convert to gathering places in the evening where residents meet-up, grab a bite to eat, watch football, or party late into the night.

Mercato della Vucciria was my favorite for nightlife.  Mercato della Ballaro was my favorite for mornings.

DSC25441 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC25391 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC25541 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC25701 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC25661 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro “In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.”
― Mario Puzo

DSC27201 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26991 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro Torrefazione Ideal Cafe has the best coffee in Palermo.

DSC26871 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26821 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26781 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26661 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26621 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26601 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26451 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26271 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC26261 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro There emerged, this evening, from that swarming esplanade of Des Invalides – amid the crackle of fireworks, the shooting stars, the stink of frying, the hiccuping of drunkards and the reeking atmosphere of menageries – the wild effusions of one of Nero’s festivals. It was like the odour of a May evening on the Basso-Porto of Naples. It was easy to believe that the faces in that crowd were Sicilian.”
― Jean Lorrain

palermo31 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC07611 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro DSC07551 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro “The Italians are fond of red clothes, peacock plumes, and embroidery; and I remember one rainy morning in the city of Palermo, the street was ablaze with scarlet umbrellas.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

DSC07241 Daily Life, Palermo, Sicily Palermo Mercato della Vucciria Mercato della Ballaro