“Everyone says that Sicily is not just like a country, but a continent all of its own. Stay at the best of its B&Bs and they’ll act as portals to open up its dramatic, uncharted brilliance”.
This wild place was once famous for pirates; everyone else stayed away. Say what you like about pirates (quietly! They are still here, their descendants sit under umbrellas on the quay, repairing fishing nets) but they know a perfect island when they see one. And a perfect beach.
And you should Know that there is no sand on the best beach in Sicily. It is a strand of tiny pebbles, shining black, pink and grey at the sea’s edge, and bigger stones, hot and smooth as eggs below the cliffs. Above rises thick greenery, bright with flowers; the air smells of rosemary, lavender, sage and thyme. The cliffs climb up to crests and peaks. There are eagles up there, peregrines and mouflon, long-horned wild sheep which move in flying leaps through the rocks and flowers. However, the sun is always properly hot. The water is so clear you can see the changing seabed all the way along the path from the tiny port where you arrived. The seaways here are full of wrecks: Punic, Roman, Greek.
As you dream, that you have slipped through a hole in the world, through a gap in the net of time, on an early summer morning you will have it all to yourself. The piers of rock on either side make it feel exclusive. You sit on the hot stones with your feet in the water and think of Odysseus: Samuel Butler and Robert Graves believed this was Ithaca, his island home.