Wondering where to visit on our final full day in Sicily, I came across some photos of Sferracavallo which appeared to be an idyllic fishing village nestled below some rugged cliffs, so we decided to head there. It’s located 13km north west of Palermo in the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve. It’s quite close, but very different, to the large seaside resort of Mondello which we had visited earlier in the week.
The village with the difficult to pronounce name has its own railway station with an hourly service from Palermo Centrale. When purchasing our tickets I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were only €3 each return for a 30 minute journey along the airport line. The train stopped rather too many tines but eventually pulled into Sferracavallo station which was a little out of town.
With the assistance of Google Maps we soon found our way to the village centre in around ten minutes. The sleepy fishing village is set at the foot of Monte Gallo and boasts a stunning backdrop with its large, rocky outcrop. It’s a place where time has seemingly stood still with its small fleet of fishing boats gently bobbing up and down tied to moorings alongside the small pier. Nets were sprawled out drying on the quay and we carefully stepped over them as we strolled along.
We thought it was much prettier than it’s bigger neighbour Mondello and it is said to be one of the most beautiful seaside villages in western Sicily. Surrounding the bay are a cluster of seafood restaurants each of them noted for their fresh fish and culinary skills which are popular haunts with city dwellers for long, lazy, seafood lunches. We opted to have lunch in the La Perla del Mare restaurant which had a terrace overlooking the emerald, clear water and our simply prepared lunch was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious.
The village has few shops but an attractive beach and we walked off our lunch strolling along the seafront up the hill to the top of the village. The path disappears part way along and we climbed to the top along the road keeping close to the kerb as some sections lacked a pavement. We timed our walk back to the railway station reasonably well and didn’t have to wait very long for a train back into Palermo.
We had enjoyed our short visit to Sferracavallo, especially our lunch but would recommend just a half day or lunchtime visit as there are limited things to see and do.
On our final evening in Palermo we dined at Bisso Bistrot which is located next to Quattro Canti in the city centre, my husband having read about this small restaurant and suggested dining there earlier in the week but it was very crowded then so we ate elsewhere. Fortunately, we had timed our second visit to perfection as we managed to get a table straightaway, with several other diners following us in, resulting in the bistro soon becoming full.
Reservations are not permitted with diners sitting at large, shared tables. The service was attentive and not rushed with the atmosphere buzzing. I selected a starter of aubergine, egg and cheese balls which tasted delicious but was quite substantial and could easily have been shared. Our mains of seared tuna steak and lightly fried squid, octopus and prawn were freshly cooked and washed down with glasses of local Sicilian wine. The meal was very reasonably priced and it was a pity we had left it until our final evening to visit, as otherwise we would have undoubtedly returned.
A short walk followed through the old town, passing the National Museum and the Pretoria Fountain before returning to our apartment to gather our belongings together for our journey home.
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