Sicily’s unexplored hidden interior – BBC Travel


But it’s not just the architecture that Gebbia wants visitors to admire. In Petralia Soprana, she takes travelers to Bar Aspromonte, a café on the other side of the Madonie famous for its sfoglio madonitaa cake made from thin pastry filled with tuma (a local unsalted cheese), candied pumpkin, sugar and pieces of chocolate. (There is actually a fierce rivalry between Polizzi Generosa and Petralia Soprana for which village does the best sfoglio).

In the borgo just below, Petralia Sottana, she has visitors stop at Giulia Valenza’s haberdashery. Owned by the de Valenza family since 1954, the emporium specializes in high-quality yarns and hosts free knitting workshops for locals, which travelers can also join.

Looking ahead, the network aims to continue to grow with more hosts, more partners and more routes, but, Lanza said, this will take time as most residents are not used to working. with travellers, especially foreign ones. “Not everyone speaks English or has responded to tourists’ needs or requests,” she said. “It will be a learning process.”

Still, “a bottom-up approach is the only way to truly understand Sicily and bring about positive change in areas like the Madonie,” she added. It starts with people.”

Country walks is a BBC Travel series that embraces rural life, helping travelers reconnect with nature, learn craftsmanship and live more sustainably, while learning about local culture.

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