Find out about some of Sicily's hidden gems with Sicilian born Oriana...
Today we’d like to introduce you to Secret Sicily, a great travel blog started by Sicilian born Oriana, last year. Originally from Palermo but now living in London, I caught up with her recently and took the opportunity to find out more about her blog and life in Sicily.
“I started writing Secret Sicily because I was tired of not finding enough information about the ‘real’ Sicily on the Internet and almost no information at all in English. Every time my friends asked for advice on where to go in Sicily, I would write bespoke mini-guides for them – and I would really enjoy it! Being a Digital Campaigner during the day, and a blogger at night, it was just a matter of time before this turned into my new digital project.” Oriana explained. ” I love telling stories, sharing information and making things more accessible for other people. I also love learning something new every day and meeting fellow bloggers who are passionate about travelling, cooking and writing just as much as I am.”
Much as you’d expect, Oriana’s blog contains great ideas for things to do and places to visit (check out her West Coast Itinerary) as well as the odd tasty recipe or two, such as Arancina ‘al burro’.
Her entertaining blog also goes way beyond this to show you another side of Sicily. She is at times brutally frank, sharing her thoughts with a great sense of humour. “I love breaking stereotypes by playing with them until they lose their negative connotation. I don’t think people should take themselves or their culture too seriously, and I think self-irony helps break barriers between cultures.
My most popular post so far is Christmas with a Sicilian family – a survival kit. I guess people loved it because it’s funny and terribly honest at the same time. Anyone who has a Sicilian family (or has ever seen one) can relate to the struggle of an expat going back home for Christmas. I’m glad my mum doesn’t read English; she would probably tell me off for this.”
When I asked what she loved most about life in Sicily, apart from the obvious, food and weather, she replied “I‘d say I love that ironic/sarcastic Sicilian sense of humour that is often very hard to understand for people who are not from the island, and very difficult to translate into other languages.”
Her tops tips for visiting Sicily include… “Renting a car and exploring the most hidden spots of the island. Eat as much local food as you can and stay away from ‘tourist menus’ and high street restaurants.”
And Oriana’s favourite place on the island? “Probably la Valle dell’Anapo – a hidden natural reserve nestled in a deep canyon near Syracuse, quite hard to reach. The river that flows through it forms a series of pristine pools and waterfalls that will take your breath away! Definitely a must go.”
Oriana’s blog goes beyond what you would normally find in a travel guide. It helps people discover the real Sicily and experience it like a local. “I’m not interested in painting a beautiful picture of an island full of joy and sun – this is not what Sicily is about. My blog is for real travellers who want go past the touristy places and see Sicily through the eyes of a Sicilian.”
So if you want to share in the secret, check our Oriana’s blog SecretSicliy.org, follow her on Twitter @secret_sicily and on Facebook Secret Sicily Blog.
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