Flying to Sicily (leave your bag behind!)

Well, that was an education. Over the years I’d heard about low-cost airlines such as Ryan Air before, but I’d never had occasion for a first-hand dealing. The long and short of it is that it costs roughly 50% more for my checked bag to fly from Torino to Trapani and back than it does for me to fly there and back. After reviewing all of their ‘fees’, I found that if I want to check a bag (I must declare either 15kg or 20kg at the time of booking my ticket) – which I will need to as my carry-on item is my fully loaded camera bag/backpack – it looks like it’s going to cost $100 round trip for the bag (i.e. $165 total), but just $65 if I traveled with no checked bag.

OK, rant over, sorry. OK, back to the trip, still chest-deep in the planning stages. Here’s what I managed to firm up yesterday:

  • 25 days will be spent in the wine regions of Piemonte
  • 21 days will be spent in the wine regions of Tuscany
  • 10 days will be spent in the wine regions of Sicily
  • 8 days will be spent in the wine regions of Veneto
  • 7 days will be spent in the wine regions of Campania
  • and finally, 3 days each in the wine regions of Umbria, Trento/Adige and Valtellina

To give you an idea of just how busy I’ll be on this trip, in looking at my map last night, I noticed I’ll pass right by Rome on my way south to Campania and past it again when headed north back to Tuscany – but I won’t even have a day to ‘be a tourist’ (which part of me wants to be, if only for a day). Oh well, next time perhaps.

So, to wrap up the Sicily portion of the trip, it looks like I’ll begin in Trapani (in the NW corner of the island) and take the next 9 days, traveling counter-clockwise, to circle back there. Most of the roads I’ll use follow the coastline, the main exceptions being time in Vittoria and Etna regions. But really, as things go, even those two regions aren’t far from the coastline, relatively speaking. To keep this in perspective, I have to remind myself that the size of Sicily (the largest island in the entire Mediterranean) is roughly two times the size of Los Angeles County.

Here’s my list of producer visits (basically just two visits per day):

  1. Firriato (Trapani)
  2. Caruso & Minini (Marsala)
  3. Donnafugata (Marsala)
  4. Planeta (Vittoria)
  5. Occhipinti (Vittoria)
  6. Gulfi (Vittoria)
  7. Destro (Catania)
  8. Murgo (Catania)
  9. Ciro Biondi (Catania/Etna)
  10. Girlolamo Russo (Etna)
  11. Graci (Etna)
  12. Cottanera (Etna)
  13. Tenuta delle Terre Nere (Etna)
  14. Calabretta (Etna)
  15. Passopisciaro (Etna)
  16. Davide Bentivenga (Etna)
  17. Palari (Messina)


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