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List of reviews

  1. Nov 15, 2019 at 12:12 AM

    My wife and I recently completed the Madonie Mountains to the Coast self-guided trek. We could not have beed more pleased. The GPS guidance and detailed maps were explicit and left us with a great sense of security everyday on the trail. The trails were typically secluded. as we saw only 6 people during the entire trek, and that was only on one day. The lodging was different every night, from a 5 star former monastery now a winery and hotel, to charming bed and breakfasts situated in spectacular hill towns.The dinner in Castlebuono was memorable, eating at a charming restaurant that specialized in local mushrooms picked from the forest we just walked through. The first two nights at a charming 18th century villa outside of Gangi not only had charming rooms, but the best Sicilian food on our entire visit to this exceptional island. Carmello, from Villa Raino, was a real star. Not only did he transport our luggage in a timely manner throughout the trek, when he found out that no restaurants would be open in one of the villages we were staying, he drove there, picked us up, returned to Villa Raino for dinner and took us back that evening. Everything about this trip was superb. I would highly recommend any of Carmelina's trips to those who love history, gourmet food and wine, love of the outdoors and engaging people. We can't wait to return!!

    William M Frej ( United States )

  2. Oct 29, 2019 at 05:28 AM

    In September, we thoroughly enjoyed the North East Sicily walk, particularly the spectacular last day into Castelmola. All the organisation was seamless; route instructions good and easy to follow, especially with the GPS; accommodation very good, varied, comfortable and
    interesting, plus great food. We highly recommend it.

    Roger and Jane ( Australia )

  3. Oct 27, 2019 at 03:00 AM

    Carmelina and Peter organised the North East Sicily walk for us. Very well organised. The GPS maps and book worked perfectly. Accommodation was varied but great. Loved staying in small towns where there were only two other tourists. Got to see the real Sicily. Food was delicious, glad we walked off the calories!
    Highly recommended

    Susan Lamp ( Australia )

  4. Oct 21, 2019 at 10:28 AM

    Four of us friends aged 58 to 64, took the NE tour walking 7 days between Montalbano Elicona and Castelmola. Carmelina's arrangements were immaculate, with everything taken care of. Our drivers and hosts were friendly and efficient. Directions were comprehensive and accommodations comfortable. We found the walks quite manageable, leaving time each afternoon for relaxation before drinks and dinner. We enjoyed the thoughtful route, the rugged outdoors and the beautiful villages. Along the way we fell in love with Sicily, whetting our appetites to return soon.

    Tessa Debeljakovic ( Australia )

  5. Oct 20, 2019 at 09:55 PM

    Carmelina's organization was amazing and we could not be happier with our hike through this part of Sicily. We are fairly experienced hikers but this hike was more demanding than we had originally anticipated--more on the "moderate" rather than "easy" level. But this was probably because we did not know what to expect and the level of exertion and time spent on hikes actually ended up being perfect for us. All we had to do was get up in the morning, have an amazing breakfast, and follow the walking directions. The description of each segment was fairly accurate in terms of duration as well as what to expect along the way.

    The one thing that could be improved is the directions, especially on the day we walked the Carbonai trail. On several segments on this day as well as others, it was necessary to have both the GPS app on our phone as well as the written descriptions provided and we still ended up getting slightly lost in some areas. It seems that different parts of the directions were written by different people and some editorial checking would be a good idea. The trails themselves are not well marked and it would be very helpful to have more red and white markers along the trails at strategic points. I realize this is outside Carmelina's purview but perhaps some gentle nudging of whoever is in charge would be helpful.

    The breathtaking landscape, villages, people, food, all were absolutely terrific. We learned a lot about Sicilian history and a fading way of life and were happy to contribute to tourism in an underappreciated and uncrowded area. A special shout out to Carmello for transporting our bags each day promptly and helping us with various organizational aspects; Aldo for amazing food and service at Villa Raino; Domenico the falconeer; Giovanna in Sant'Ambrogio for her assistance with our apartment there; as well as all the wonderful warm and friendly folks we met along the way.

    Rupali Das ( United States )

  6. Oct 15, 2019 at 03:28 AM

    Four of us did the North East Self-guided Walking tour in September 2019. We appreciated the personal attention to detail that Carmelina takes in the organisation and planning. She couldn't have been more helpful. This makes quite a contrast to other walking tours I have done with bigger companies where you have to fit in with the 'conveyer belt' schedule. We loved the small villages, the warm and welcoming locals, the excellent food arranged for us, the diverse types of accommodation. In short we had a wonderful holiday - and insight into Sicilian country life that we wouldn't have otherwise experienced. The trip notes are very detailed and carefully prepared - the best I have ever received. All the transfers and handling of luggage happened seamlessly. I unreservedly recommend Carmelina and Sicilian Experience.

    Dorothea ( New Zealand )

  7. Oct 14, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    Self guided Madonie Mountains to Coast. - i did part of this tour and really enjoyred the experience. All was well organised, accoomodation great and over all a super holiday.

    Lisse Caird ( Belgium )

  8. Sep 04, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Carmelina helped to organize my 50th birthday celebration in Sicily.
    I had the most amazing birthday thanks to her.
    The organisation was superb! Our accommodation was handpicked and spot on. All our excursions were carefully planned and worked out 100%.
    I can recommend Carmelina as your holiday planner with confidence!!
    Thank you Carmelina

    Diana Deist ( Netherlands )

  9. Aug 01, 2019 at 02:24 AM

    Self guided Madonie Mountains to Coast.
    A truly wonderful experience. Carmelina has a real passion for her homeland Sicily and shares it generously. Carmelo, the route manager,was very welcoming, helpful and systematic. Accommodation and food was excellent.
    The route is an intriguing mix of tracks and old paths some of them faint but that is all part of an amazing experience. Our time spent in Sant’Ambrogio at Casetta della Nonna at the end of the walk made for two weeks we will never forget
    Thank you Carmelina,Peter, Carmelo, Concetta and Giovanni.

    Barbara Keane ( New Zealand )

  10. Jul 25, 2019 at 01:26 AM

    We loved our trip to Sicily. We spent our first three nights in Palermo and then off to Villa Raino. The food and service at Villa Raino was a highlight of the trip, such a wonderful family. We traveled from Gangi to Sant’Ambrogio.
    For us, the hikes were more difficult than we anticipated. We misjudged the elevation gain involved and the 90 degree heat. We saw losts of wildlife, cows, deer, wild boars, horses but no other hikers. It is important to have a backup phone charger because using the GPS was necessary a few times on the trail.

    The planning and support from Carmelo and Carmelina was fantastic.
    This was our fourth walking tour, three in Italy and one in Croatia. The time hiking was perfect each day, 3-4 hours, which gives you time to visit the towns you are staying in and you are not too exhausted from the hike.

    Verne Justice ( USA )

  11. Jul 06, 2019 at 04:54 PM

    A big thank you to Carmelina and Peter for organising a wonderful 9 day walk in North-East Sicily. We could not fault anything about the trip or its organisation. The walks were all different. The towns we arrived in were lovely and the accommodation was all excellent. Our transfers were also seamless and luxurious. A big thank you to Carmelo and Dreamservices. Sicily is gorgeous and we so enjoyed seeing it at our pace and far away from the madding crowd. It was a bit of a shock to come back to that world in Castelmola and Taormina at the end of our walk! I definitely want to go back to Sicily and explore some more and if I do I will not hesitate to use Sicilian Experiences again to help me do this.
    One recommendation to readers is if you want time to look round Randazzo, it is worth organizing a slightly later transfer for the day that you leave.

    Johanna Barry ( Sicily )

  12. Jun 30, 2019 at 08:02 PM

    A highlight of my time in Sicily. Thank you Carmelina amd Carmelo. The walk was lovely allowing us to see some unspoilt countryside. The GPS and written notes were vital and I found poles useful as there were some challenging sections. Jane Brentnall (Australia)

    Jane Brentnall ( Australia )

  13. Jun 30, 2019 at 09:20 AM

    Thank you so much Carmelo and Carmelina - what a brilliant walk! - from Gangi to Sant’Ambrogio over five days. Some tough sections but made it all the more worthwhile. From mountain passes (wild deer, wild boar) to hilltop towns (gelato & expresso) meadows (clinky-belled cattle and wildflowers) to woodland and the carbonara’s trail. Wonderfully eclectic accommodation with friendly hosts and brilliant food. And the prize was swimming in azure Med below the beautiful Sant’Ambrogio. We stayed an extra day in S’A - well worth it - such a beautiful village. Phone app was essential and made path-finding easy as the trail was not always obvious - but it took us to some amazing places. Special thanks to Carmelo for looking after us and our luggage so well. We love Sicily!

    Liz Bashford ( Australia )

  14. Jun 20, 2019 at 04:47 AM

    The Sicilian Experience walk promised much and delivered on every criteria. My husband and I and two friends had been keen to visit Sicily for a few years and I wanted to explore the culture of Sicily as well as the ancient sites and highlights. I found the walk online and contacted Carmelina. She was encouraging and helped us to work out our itinerary in Sicily and choose the walk best suited to us at the start of our trip. We are keen walkers and our friends less so but the 8 day walk we chose in the NE of Sicily provided us with great variety of terrain and village life as well as the experience of seeing Mount Etna at a distance as a local focal point and close up on a days walk.
    We have done many self-guided walks in Europe and this walk was one of the best organised of all with wonderful booklet and maps as support. The walk enabled us to meet many locals few of whom spoke English so we were able to practice some Italian and enjoy their open-hearted warmth. We shared a hilarious time drinking wine and a coffee with workers we came across on two occasions whilst walking in forests, and coffee with our drivers. We were nearly blasted off the forest edge on our first days walk with gale force winds and rain in a native forest but finding wild peonies growing and the beauty of that landscape was an exhilarating start. We passed herdsmen with their cattle on the roads, walked along old roman stone tracks, enjoyed a plethora of wildflowers everywhere, and really savoured the local dishes of each area.
    Arriving at our final destination Castelmola, high above Taormina, we celebrated the careful choices made by Carmelina in the itinerary which gave us the authentic experience of the towns we had been in compared with the tourist destinations one hears of. We would recommend the walk to anyone who wants to understand Sicily in depth.

    Josephine Watts ( Australia )

  15. Jun 05, 2019 at 01:50 AM

    My wife and I just completed a 9 day self-guided walking tour with Sicilian Experience. We started in Montelbano Elicona and ended in Castelmola. The trip was fantastic from beginning to end. Carmelina provided a booklet with detailed descriptions of the routes and maps. In addition, we downloaded gps maps to our phones. The instructions were easy to follow. The accommodations they arranged were all first rate. Transfers of our luggage were seamless as were the few drives to beginning of hikes to avoid busy roads. The scenery was gorgeous. We loved the solitude of the country-side and friendliness of people such as the cherry pickers we passed along the route who ran to give us handfuls of their pickings. The hikes each day ranged from 8 to 17 kilometers, giving us plenty of time to relax in the afternoons on the decks of the wonderful inns and hotels we stayed in and/or to roam around the towns.
    We highly recommend the trip and the Sicilian Experience company.

    Steven Wax ( USA )

  16. May 29, 2019 at 11:03 PM

    Wonderful holiday self-guiding in NESicily. Excellent organisation, professional personnel and true Sicilian experience! The transfers worked like clockwork, the accommodation was all unique and characterful, we sampled excellent food and above all, the walking was outstanding - comprehensive notes accompanied by useful photos plus gps link. Looking forward to returning to visit Madonie mountains.

    Heather Burnett ( UK )

  17. May 29, 2019 at 06:12 PM

    We had a wonderful week's walking tour, on our own but guided by the maps, route description and phone maps that Sicilian Experiences provided. Those supports made route finding very easy even in cloud. Without them we would have been lost, because the countryside and Madonie Mountains have many braided, un-signed routes, with jeep tracks intertwining with footpaths. Plus, the guidebook told us many interesting things about the landscape (gorgeous, with spectacular wildflowers in May) and Carmelina had booked our nights in great places to which Carmelo delivered our luggage. Luxury! Dinner was often included and the food was plentiful and good. The people at Sicilian Experience really go above and beyond, even clearing the trail when necessary. We arrived at our journey's end in Sant Ambrogio and took the bus to check out Cefalu, where we saw even more clearly that our hike had given us the best of Sicily. Sant Ambrogio was delightful, Cefalu not to our taste. We hurried back there! I would recommend this tour to anyone. We are fit 60 somethings and found it easy - with good boots of course.

    Bernadette Powell ( USA )

  18. Feb 18, 2019 at 10:56 PM

    My husband and I did two self guided walking tours with three days in between them. Central starting in Gangi, north to the coast, then to the east ending in Taromina. Best vacation we've ever had with best, most conscientious personnel. I chose this company based on earlier reviews about Carmelina. She's smart, cultured, athletic and has put together two fascinating self guided tours with wonderfully unique accommodations in every village and a host of knowledgeable route managers who all speak perfect English. You won't regret going with this company.

    Nancy Pringle ( USA )

  19. Oct 31, 2018 at 11:18 AM


    Dear Carmelina

    Thanks for the call last night. Sorry I couldn’t talk longer but it is very expensive with an Australian mobile phone, and also a pity we were not able to meet you in your pretty an friendly village of Sant' Ambrogio.

    Your self-guided walk was the first time we have done a holiday through an organised tour. We have had several European holidays, and they often include some walking or cycling and often away from the main tourist sites but in other trips we have always organised everything ourselves, so this was a bit of an experiment for us. But it was well worth it and we will always remember it as one of our best travelling experiences and recommend it to friends. We couldn’t have got the quality of the experience we had by organising it ourselves and we wouldn’t have known about so many of the interesting places and people along the way.

    The itinerary was excellent. We loved the differences in landscape and scenery with each day, the idea of walking from one side of the Madonie Mountains to the other, and we enjoyed walking through the farmland, seeing the occasional farmer, and other interesting sites such as the old Roman routes, cork trees, mushroom collectors and a few wild animals. We saw a couple of large male deer with huge antlers and a few will boar, and heard lots of bird song in the bushes. We found each day of walking just right in effort, and it was so much easier and more relaxing having the excellent route book, photographs and GPX files from Carmelo. I have got lost many times before trying to follow paths in Europe but not at all on this trip. The towns at the end of each day were very interesting as well and it was good to witness village life and ponder the changes that each place has been through. I think we got to see the real Sicily that we would not see just going to the top tourist sites.

    All of our hosts were very welcoming and helpful and having Carmelo move our bags on and make sure we knew what was happening each day and that we arrived safely was a great support. The meals were excellent and we have sampled much local produce and probably eaten and drunk too much. Highlights were the wine tasting and dinner at the end with Mimo of course – such a warm host, fabulous food and spectacular setting. But we will also fondly remember dinner at Nangalarruni, where the day’s mushroom harvest was brought in and sorted while we ate; Abbazia Santa Anastasia where we at fabulous lamb and the best risotto we have ever tasted; and Carmelo’s mother’s cooking at Villa Raino. Her Ravioli Ricotta dessert was sensational.

    Thanks again for organising such an interesting itinerary and promoting your region so well.
    Best wishes

    Ian and Janelle


  20. Oct 31, 2018 at 11:15 AM


    I can’t believe we have already been home for a week and have meant to email since then!
    We had an amazing week and loved every minute of it. Sicily is spectacular and the walks were divine.
    Everyone we met was utterly charming and so kind and helpful. Carmelo was wonderful, as were his whole family and we loved Giuseppe and his wife who taxied us around in Castelbuono!

    Emma O'Hea ( UK )

  21. Oct 17, 2018 at 09:41 PM

    I can not say enough about the wonderful vacation Sicilian Experience, and especially Marian, arranged for our recent,
    first time visit to Sicily. Every hotel/B and B, activity, and even restaurant reservation was flawless. She helped us create a memorable, stress free vacation, with no surprises (except the unpredicted amazing scenery and magnificent weather).
    Our thanks too everyone.

    Tom Byrne ( USA )

  22. Oct 17, 2018 at 09:37 PM

    We loved this walking you in NE Sicily. Carmelina and Peter were fantastic guides very knowledgeable and fun to be with. The hikes were amazing gorgeous views. Each town was unique and interesting.We loved meeting the woman who recreates medieval costumes and the man who reproduces ancient instruments and plays them all. The accommodations were lovely and the people friendly
    I would do another trip with them

    Trudy Chernin ( Canada )

  23. Oct 17, 2018 at 09:15 PM

    We loved this walking tour. Carmelina and Peter were fantastic guides, very knowledgeable and fun to be with. The hikes were amazing ,the views gorgeous. Each town was unique and interesting and we especially enjoyed the add on like a visit with a woman who recreated medieval costumes and a man who makes reproductions of ancient instruments and plays them all. Really had a chance to get into the culture. Loved all the accommodations. People were fantastic everywhere.Would definitely do another trip with them.

    Trudy Chernin ( Canada )

  24. Oct 17, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Enjoyed a great walking holiday in NE Sicily in Oct 18 with Carmelina & Peter. Each walk had its own charactistics as did the various places we visited. In addition to the wonderful scenery in the Nebrodi mountains & around Etna we also enjoyed various cultural experiences that were layed on by local people on the way. Carmelina really enjoyed showing this lovely island & its enormously rich history & culture to us. Great food & wine along the way.
    I will definately look out for other trips from Carmelina & Peter in the future.

    Paul Dowson ( Germany )

  25. Oct 16, 2018 at 05:35 PM

    We just returned from an 8 day guided walking tour of NE Sicily with Carmelina and Peter. The trip was fabulous. Carmelina shares her knowledge and love of her country. We got a real flavour of the area as the towns and hikes were all different. We would definitely arrange another trip with Carmelina.

    Billy Shuster ( Canada )

  26. Sep 26, 2018 at 03:49 PM

    My husband and I have just returned home from Sicily after a wonderful trip. The variety of the walks were excellent. The level of detail provided in our trip notes and the GPX maps provided were second to none for a self guided trip. The accommodations were very varied and interesting with great food. Many thanks to all at Sicilian Experience who were available throughout our trip.

    Therese Gogarty ( Ireland )

  27. Aug 28, 2018 at 05:32 PM

    A group of ten of us (family and friends) stayed in Cefalu for 2 weeks and Carmelina was a huge help to us. Not only did she find us an amazing cook, who made incredible Sicilian dinners for us every night at a very reasonable price, but she also organized a private sunset boat trip for us along the coast of Cefalu, and that, too, at an incredibly reasonable price. She always answered my emails and What's App phone calls within minutes. In short, Carmelina was super reliable and super helpful and without a doubt she made our vacation in Sicily the amazing experience it was, from the nightly home-cooked meals to the never-to-be-forgotten sunset boat ride along the coast of Cefalu. Thank you, Carmelina! You're the best! Hope to need your help again in the future. Rest assured, you'll be the first person we call when we return to Sicily!

    James O'Connor ( NYC, USA )

  28. Jul 02, 2018 at 08:34 PM

    My wife, I and one of my adult sons just returned from the Northeast tour. It was perfect. Each day brought varied scenery and terrain. The accommodations were excellent and best of all each night's stay was different from the others. The tour was thoughtfully planned by Carmelina in every respect. Highlights included friendly farmers and grumpy cattle.

    mark and Emily Hanlon ( United States )

  29. Jul 02, 2018 at 07:16 PM

    Valerio was an excellent guide for the mediaeval towns of the Madonie Mountains. The one day tour was thoughtful, engaging and fun. I learnt so much about this extraordinarily beautiful region, its welcoming residents, delicious food and terrific stories from a local proud to share his heritage. A great day. Thankyou.

    Suzanne Bravery ( Australia )

  30. Jun 12, 2018 at 12:29 PM

    Carmelina is an excellent communicator and takes great care and pride in the walks she arranges. Our recent walking through the Madonie Mountains was delightful and we were well cared for at every part of the journey. If you want to come to Sicily you would be hard-pressed to find a better person to assist you in your exploration.

    david rose ( australia )

  31. Jun 06, 2018 at 03:32 AM

    Our trip to Sicily was outstanding. Carmelina arranged the self- guided hiking trip, travel to Lipari and Palermo. Every arrangement worked out perfectly and Carmelina was available via email for my multiple questions. The hiking was challenging, the GPX system really saved us on a number of occasions. We loved Sicily... the beauty of the mountains, small villages and the food. Would love to return.

    Judy & Richard Greenwald ( USA )

  32. May 30, 2018 at 08:17 AM

    Carmelina arranged a wonderful holiday for us and took care of all the details, including accommodation, transfers, cooking classes, guided tours (a Palermo street art and street food tour was a highlight). It went flawlessly. We spent some time in Palermo, went to Trapani to see the Holy Week procession, did the Madonie Mountains to the Coast walk, spent several days in lovely Sant Ambrogio, then transferred to the Taormina area, then back to Palermo. Altogether we spent almost a month in Sicily and it couldn't have been more enjoyable. During our walk one day, we even encountered Carmelina and Peter clearing the trail ahead of us! That's the kind of dedicated service you can expect. Thank you, Carmelina and Peter!

    John Hoover ( USA )

  33. Apr 29, 2018 at 09:26 PM

    My wife and I just completed the self-guided north east Sicily trip. This was our first walking tour and we would be hard pressed to do anything but this again. We never knew how pretty Sicily is in the Spring.The diversity of the scenery, the accommodations, the food and the wine were all spectacular. We are both 63 years old and the walks were comfortable as well as being so enjoyable. The planning by Carmelina and Peter could not have been better. Thanks for the best holiday ever.

    Bernie Tuggle ( USA )

  34. Apr 19, 2018 at 07:02 PM

    My friend and I did the self-guided walking tour of north east Sicily beautifully
    organized by Carmelina in every detail. She has put together a wonderfully varied itinerary incorporating mountains and gorges, which finishes in a triumphant descent into Castelmola from behind.... emerging in Taormina feels like you have come out of another era, into the world of modern tourism having crossed through little known gems of Sicily. We stayed in a variety of lovely, mainly family run, establishments and ate superbly throughout in places she recommended. The detailed descriptions of the walks, including photos of waypoints, and the satellite maps which marked our progress on the phone meant that we couldn’t get lost even if we tried! But it was doubly reassuring to know that tour manager Peter could have pinpointed us and directed us if necessary.
    Thank you Carmelina for making our holiday such a memorable one.

    Joanna G ( UK )

  35. Apr 14, 2018 at 09:47 PM

    Sicilian Experience arranged a guide and donkey trek for us through the Madonie mountains. We loved it, and learned a lot about the countryside from our guide. We were also sent directions for a beautiful circular walk starting in Sant Ambrogio, including a visit to a shepherd to find out how he makes ricotta cheese.
    We were staying in Cefalu, and it was perfect for us to experience beautiful walks nearby whilst still leaving lots of time for the beach.
    Our children (13, 11 and 7) also enjoyed the walks, although our 7 year old did moan a little bit ;-)

    Jennifer Mushumani ( UK )

  36. Apr 07, 2018 at 09:25 AM

    My son David and I had a wonderful four days walking in the Madonie mountains down to Castelmolo. Carmelina and Peter are dedicated enthusiasts of Sicily and it’s many natural beauties, and having their unrivalled local knowledge made all ththe difference in terms of knowing where to walk for the best views, where to eat for the best food, and where to stay for the best local experience. It was an excellent trip and superbly organized.

    Alison Cork ( )

  37. Jan 15, 2018 at 04:00 AM

    Dear Carmelina,

    Thanks for this newsletter - it's finally prompted us to write and thank you more effusively for the wonderful Sicily experience that you organized for us last summer. Wherever we went, your local partners spoke of your professionalism and high quality bar -- and we agree completely with them. For us, the combination of seamless connections you organized between the various components of our two-week trek along with the freedom to feel like we were doing it "on our own" and not as part of an organized tour was perfect. Planning with you was a true conversation, and the degree of customization you willingly provided made our experience unique to our needs (with your input).

    The fact that we crossed Sicily without having to drive was a delight. The places you selected for overnights were all great. The hike was a delight and even though we got "lost" a couple of times, it only added to the sense of adventure and exploration, and we soon found our way back to the route! Carmelo checked up on us regularly and popped up along the route as if he knew exactly where we'd be. Through you, we got to meet and spend time with a cast of Sicilians, and that added depth to the experience. In particular, the whole day of Ruth's birthday was a magical experience that will be hard to top in future years! We ate well all along the way and especially at Osteria Bacchus where we truly enjoyed learning about real Sicilian cooking (and family life!) with Mimmo. We would also highly recommend a visit to Marettimo if any of your clients are interested - it was a lovely, quiet island with plenty of beautiful day hikes.

    What sets you above other tour operators is that you yourself are on the ground, immersed in and living in Sicily, and you have built a team of like people around you. Congratulations, and thank you.

    Ruth and Martin

    Ruth MacKay ( Canada )

  38. Oct 30, 2017 at 02:24 PM

    This was our first experience of self guided walks and it's hard to imagine a better start. With Carmelina's expert guidance we walked tracks through all sorts of different terrain, many possibly unknown even to locals. Most days we saw no one except the odd goat herd. Carmelina could not have been more helpful and was always on hand for any queries, and the people she employed to drive us to our starting point each morning were also very personable, for instance, when I needed a pharmacy and the local place had a long queue, our driver insisted on taking me to the next village and waiting for more than an hour!. Her notes were excellent and we never got lost. The walks, whilst not terribly long, were quite challenging because of the terrain, so we'd arrive hungry but not exhausted. Just make sure you take plenty of water. The food was almost too much and so very good, and goodness, the Michelin star meal Carmelina organized was superb. That night I wasn't feeling too well so I asked the waiter how long it would take. He politely replied that if we were in a hurry we could probably get something quicker round the corner. When the food came (only 20 minutes) we were delighted and we understood, it was all so fresh and beautiful and different. And then there's the gelato! I wish we could have stayed longer. Brilliant!

    veronica edwards ( australia )

  39. Oct 23, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    I really enjoyed this tour through the beautiful towns and countryside. It was made all the better by the tour guide, Valerio, who was very knowledgeable and enjoyable to spend a day with. The highlight is definitely Pollina, which is a breathtaking village set high up with the most stunning views of the mountains from the amphitheatre. The lunch at the restaurant was exquisite and made a lovely end to really good day.

    Sonia C ( England )

  40. Oct 14, 2017 at 05:37 PM

    We took the tour of the shepherd making ricotta outside of Cefalu and absolutely loved the experience! Our guide Marcello was outstanding as he was friendly and very low key and extremely informative.
    Guilio the shepherd was something out of a novel. He is continuing an art that was begun by his father. Watching him make the ricotta in the middle of a field surrounded by goats, we were in an open air hut and the year could have been 1954 rather than 2017.
    Guilio could not have been more accommodating as he went through the entire process. Even though he didn't speak English we all understood each other quite well.
    As long as you can walk on dirt roads this is an experience I highly recommend. The scenery alone is worth the trip.

    Ira Goodelman ( USA )

  41. Sep 25, 2017 at 01:15 PM

    Me and two of my friends decided to go for a horseriding tour while we were in Sicily. We soon realised that prior booking had to be made after receiving rejections that there was no availability. However, we encountered "Sicilian Experience" and decided to give it a try. Amazingly, we managed to get a slot which was on our last day in Italy, making the experience an unforgettable one as we were really keen to try horseriding. Our guide Renato was very welcoming and friendly. He shared about various historical buildings and even picturesque places to take photos. Graterri is a really beautiful place and it would be a pity if it gets destroyed someday. We hope that such villages will remain in the future so that people can appreciate nature. Thank you Renato and Carmelina! We definitely had a great time there :)

    Khadijah binte Rafi'ee ( Singapore )

  42. Jul 16, 2017 at 11:08 PM

    My husband and I spent about 2 weeks in Sicily with Carmelina & Peter in Feb. 2017. They were amazing people and Carmelina's knowledge, experience and enthusiasm more than fulfilled our expectations. We have traveled all over the world and this trip was one we will definitely remember forever. Not only was the trip tailored to our needs and desires, but it was so much more. We learned an enormous amount, ate great food and thoroughly enjoyed our time.
    I highly recommend Sicilian Experience as the best company to create a wonderful trip to one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

    Kathryn Minette ( USA )

  43. Jun 26, 2017 at 05:13 PM

    I had many varied reports about Sicily as a holiday destination and frankly they were not particularly alluring, but the historical aspect of the island intrigued me so i decided to give it a proper try. I reviewed the options available to me and decided to give Sicilian Experience a try because Carmelina was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and quickly appreciated that i wanted to do something out of the ordinary and completely different.
    We had the most fantastic time for the 10 days we were there, with amazing accommodation covering a variety of genre's organised or us every night; timeous pick-ups and drop offs; wonderful staff who went out of their way to assist us in every way possible and nothing was too much trouble; beautiful rural countryside with absolute peace and quiet; spot on self guided maps to get us from A to B avery day; plenty of time for ourselves; fantastic food always, and simply a kaleidoscope of different experiences which we will treasure for ever. Sicily is in my heart as in Carmelina's. I would go back in a heartbeat. Thank you Carmelina, Carmelo, Nuccio, Mimmo, and everyone who contributed to a first rate holiday experience. Bravo!! Wishing you everything of the best.

    John davies ( South Africa )

  44. Jun 18, 2017 at 01:15 PM

    Springtime in Sunny Sicily

    Early May saw 19 Henley & Goring Ramblers set out on our latest overseas adventure: a walking holiday in Sicily. Our destination was the picturesque historic town of Cefalu, on Sicily’s Tyrrhenian northern coast, where we were ideally placed for excursions into the Madonie Mountains regional park.

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    Our guide for the first week was the adorable Carmelina Ricciardello, who is Sicilian Experience (www.sicilianexperience.com); we couldn’t have wished for a more capable guide. There are very few footpaths and hiking routes mapped in this part of Sicily, but Carmelina walks hundreds of miles a year in the region and knows all the best routes. Initially we walked some lower level paths to find our feet, but then steadily moved to the higher mountains between 1200 and 1600 m, where we were rewarded with spectacular all round views towards the Aeolian Islands and Mount Etna. Along the way we met some wonderful characters: Julio the goatherd, who demonstrated how to make cheese the traditional way in his hut in the mountains, with lots of tasting at all stages of the process; Mimmo the wine maker and restaurateur, who makes wine for use in his restaurant. Mimmo provided us with one of the most memorable meals of our trip as we sat on the sunny terrace with spectacular views of the sea far below, and, with typical Sicilian hospitality was still offering us another glass of wine when Carmelina dragged us back to our coach! We were treated to a display of traditional falconry skills in the high meadows of the Madonie (by another Mimmo!), and a wonderful refreshment stop in delightful Castelbuono to taste proper Sicilian ice cream and almond pastries.
    We had five walking days, doing between 6-8 miles per day with ascents / descents of 400-600m. On our “rest day”, many opted to take the train to Palermo and visit the historic palaces and richly decorated churches. The highlight was the Cathedral of Monreale, where every available surface is decorated with spectacular mosaics depicting biblical tales.
    Our week passed all too quickly, and we said an emotional farewell to Carmelina, who had quickly become our friend and had shared with us her passion for Sicilian history and culture. We moved on to Giardini Naxos, in the shadow of Mt Etna, and close to the city of Taormina. Here we continued our activity-packed days with an excellent guided walking tour around historic Taormina, and for many of us, a trip up Mt Etna.
    Some of the unexpected experiences: arriving in Cefalu as the Giro d’Italia cycle race approached, meaning that the town centre was closed, and we had to drag our cases the final kilometre to our hotel! And touring Taormina in virtual lockdown ahead of the G7 Summit; almost as many soldiers and police on view as tourists!
    We would all like to thank Peter Stone for his organisation and leadership before and throughout the trip (and, on the walks, for the endless supply of mints!)
    Tony Godfrey

    Wye Valley in May 2017

    Ramblers ( UK )

  45. May 03, 2017 at 06:53 PM

    We spent a wonderful day with Carmelina enjoying a walk from Sant Ambrogio which included a cheese making demonstration with a local goat shepherd Julio and then a wonderful lunch and wine tasting with Mimmo from Osteria Bacchus. We would highly recommend this day.
    Kay and Andrew (Australia)

    Kay Cook ( Australia )

  46. Dec 30, 2016 at 06:31 PM

    We are a family of 5 adults and we had an amazing day cooking with Memmo. We cooked, ate, drank wine and laughed all afternoon. It really was our best experience in Sicily. Could not recommend it more.

    Sherry Glazier ( Canada )

  47. Nov 25, 2016 at 10:41 PM

    This ranks up there as one of the best trips I have had. My friend and I did a self-guided walking tour in the Madonie Mountains and also stayed and walked near Sant' Ambrogio.
    Carmelina was very helpful from the first emails and all the way throughout the trip. She took very good care of us during the whole trip. We enjoyed our stay in Gangi and were also very well taken care of there and in the area by Carmelo and family. We also enjoyed a visit to a cheesemaker, wine tasting, and cooking class/trip to the Palermo market. All of the experiences were outstanding. Food and lodging were great. Sant' Ambrogio is a delightful place to stay, away from the tourists, and in a beautiful location.
    We were able to visit some local art sculpture and the amazing and fascinating Greco-Roman ruins at Halesea.
    The self-guided walking was an invigorating experience, with views of the mountains and the sea, pastures and farms. During November we saw very few people and were out in the beautiful countryside with nature and the grazing animals. And the fresh fruits and vegetables, and delicious food...
    I would like to go back to Sicily again as there is so much to see, and I will definitely arrange my next trip with Carmelina and the Sicilian Experience.

    Linda Mack ( United States )

  48. Nov 24, 2016 at 10:37 PM

    A really enjoyable week learning about The Real Sicily: all was beautifully arranged and, when the weather suddenly deteriorated, swiftly rearranged so we saw all to the best advantage. Self-guided walks worked well for us: we could go at our own speed and didn't feel we were either rushed by a guide or holding anyone up. The introduction to local wine and cooking our purchases from Palermo market with Mimmo were a joyous addition. Highly recommend.

    Julia Duschenes ( UK )

  49. Nov 20, 2016 at 12:04 AM

    My husband and I did the self-guided walking tour from central Italy (Enna) to the coast in mid October. It was the highlight of our 6 weeks in Italy. Carmelina is a wonderful ambassador for Sicily. She arranged wonderful accommodations which highlighted authentic Sicilian food and friendly locals. The walk, although more of a hike, was incredibly beautiful and varied in scenery. We stayed in Sant' Ambrogio for 6 nights and loved the village. Wine tasting and a delicious dinner with Mimmos was another highlight. For those seeking an authentic Sicilian experience with wonderful scenery we highly recommend Carmelina's tour!

    Katherine Willson ( Canada )

  50. Nov 17, 2016 at 02:23 PM

    Second guided tour with Carmelina for ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club). This time to less visited western Sicily. Primarily a hiking adventure. Once again a lot more. Not only wonderful hikes, but superb food and accommodations, along with extensive cultural information. Hope we get to do it again!

    Vicky Singer ( USA )

  51. Nov 05, 2016 at 09:43 PM

    The other reviews are entirely accurate. Carmelina is an invaluable resource when organising your Sicilian adventure. She answered all our questions with infinite patience and efficiency and helped us stay in beautiful Sant'Ambrogio, which is a lovely, peaceful village that we wouldn't have known about if not for her. And of course wine tasting and dinner with Mimmo was the highlight...best risotto I have ever had! Thank you Carmelina, we hope to be back again one day soon.

    Sonia ( Australia )

  52. Oct 21, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    Thanks Carmelina for arranging wonderful experiences. Had a great time with Marcello visiting the goat herder and seeing basic cheese making on the hillsides of Sicily.
    We had the most wonderful time with chef Mimmo at Oesteria Baccus. Superb food and cooking tips means that this is high on our most treasured times in 12 year of travelling the world.. Superb!!!

    Peter King ( Australia )

  53. Oct 17, 2016 at 02:07 AM

    Carmelina used to live in Perth, she was recommended to us by a close friend.
    We are keen hikers and, through our research were keen to do a self guided hike in the Madonie Mountains. Carmelina organised a fantastic itinerary for us over 6 days starting in Enna and finishing in Sant' Ambrogio. We walked about 4 to 5 hours a day through countryside and picturesque villages with views of the mountains and the sea. It was a wonderful way to see Sicily away from the tourist towns.

    Lovely accommodation at Villa Raino in a valley behind the town of Gangi and then in small guest houses and hotels along the way. Our tour manager was Carmelo who drove us to the start of the walks and looked after our luggage transfers and anything else we needed, he was so obliging and helpful, thank you Carmelo.

    At the end of the hike we stayed 3 nights in Sant' Ambrogio and enjoyed the peacefulness of the village, the sea, and of course a fun evening with Mimmo, tasting his wine and eating his delicious Sicilian seafood.

    Thank you Carmelina for arranging everything so perfectly, a very special experience.

    Julia Clark ( Australia )

  54. Oct 06, 2016 at 03:01 PM

    If you are looking for a real, authentic experience in Sicily, look no further - Carmelina knows the real Sicily inside-out and loves to ensure her customers get the most of this beautiful island. On this occasion we booked a cooking class through her in the gorgeous town of Sant'Ambrogio situated cliffside with unforgettable ocean views and only 10mins from Cefalu. Mimmo our teacher was great. He handled the group of 8 so smoothly and taught us how to make ridiculously tasty authentic meals and limoncello! the day was unforgettable, full of many laughs, A LOT of great food and wine, beautiful views and company. We have visited Sicily a number of times over the years and this is easily one of the best days we have had.

    Carla ( Australia )

  55. Sep 29, 2016 at 09:33 AM

    My wife and I traveled to Sicily in September 2016. When planning our trip we engaged Carmelina to give us suggestions for where to go and what to do. Her advice was very helpful and the cooking course that she arranged for us at the Osteria Bacchus in Sant'Ambrogio was a special highlight of our trip.
    If you are planning a trip to Sicily do yourself a favor and contact Carmelina...you'll be happy that you did.

    Jeff Bernards ( USA )

  56. Sep 19, 2016 at 08:28 PM

    Our tour of the Madonie Mountains with Marian was excellent. We traveled to the far end of the park, interacted with interesting locals and understood the history and culture of the place. It was a day extremely well spent!!

    placido corpora ( usa )

  57. Jul 05, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    We were a group of 18 women visiting Sicily in June for eight days. We were accomodated in Cefalú and did not want to do exhausting sightseeing trips but wanted to experience the nature and people of Sicily. We were lucky to find Carmelina with her special offers. She took us to Julio, the shepard, and tasted fresh goat milk and watched him making cheese. Julio even surprised us with a song. And the highlight was dinner and wine tasting at Mimmos in San'Ambrogio. We watched the sun go down into the Sea while eating and drinking Mimmos wonderful food and wine. Thanks to Carmelina we got an insight into Sicilian people's life.

    Mechthild Köhl ( Germany )

  58. Jun 30, 2016 at 03:52 PM

    I have just returned from the nine day cookery course in Sant`Ambrogio arranged by Sicilian Experience. It was wonderful and I loved every minut of the Holiday. I will recommend it to everyone who wants to experience the real Sicily and who loves italian food. Thank you so much, Carmelina.

    Vibeke Hauberg ( Danmark )

  59. Jun 29, 2016 at 03:31 PM

    We just returned from two weeks in Italy and Carmelina was instrumental in making arrangements that resulted in an outstanding experience for our family! We had learned of Carmelina from a NY Times article from many years ago in which she was quoted. We pulled this story out of our files, contacted her, and proceeded to plan for our visit. She was very responsive and diligent, listened to our ideas, made many suggestions, and together we finalized a food-centered itinerary, including activities in Siracusa, Taormina, Palermo, Trapani/Erice and Lipari. All were superbly choreographed... the right venues, guides, chefs, etc. The real highlight was the visit to San'Ambrogio and the lunch at Mimmo's restaurant! What an incredible location, and Mimmo is a special guy who has poured his heart into his wine, food and community! We shared a long lunch on the terrace overlooking the sea with Mimmo, Carmelina and another wonderful couple. It will be long remembered by our family! Carmelita has become the ambassador for San'Ambrogio, a slice of real Italy. We strongly recommend Carmelina and her services and have already forwarded her contact info to friends planning Sicilian adventures. You will not be disappointed in using her services!

    Bill, Susan and daughters ( USA )

  60. Jun 20, 2016 at 05:01 PM

    We have just returned from a nine day cookery course organised by Sicilian Experience. It was so much more than a cookery course, more a wonderful insight into Sicilian people, their land and way of life. From the moment we met Carmelina, our host and guide, we knew we were in good hands. Her passion and knowledge was obvious. We stayed in the village of San’Ambrogio, just outside of Cefalu, but without its hoards of tourists. Here we became part of village life, engaging with local people as much as our meagre Italian would allow.

    Carmelina drove us into the beautiful Madonie mountains to visit the old towns of Castelbuono and Pollina. We met Mimmo, a falconer, who demonstrated his craft and allowed us to hold one of his beautiful birds. We were able to try milk fresh from a goat, which tasted better than we would have thought. The scenery was spectacular. We took a walk uphill from San’Ambrogio to meet Julio, a shepherd, who demonstrated for us how he makes cheese in the old way and we were able to taste it at every stage. We visited Cefalu and also the Santa Anastasia winery, although unfortunately our wine tasting had to be cut short because we had to leave quickly as wildfires were spreading around the countryside and approaching fast. Carmelina was of course able to get us back safely to San’Ambrogio and reassure us.

    The cookery itself took place in the Osteria Baccuhus, set on the edge of the village with wonderful views from its terrace, under the guidance of chef Mimmo who is the most warm and funny man with so many stories to tell about his life. On the first day we went with Mimmo by train to Palermo to shop in the Balaro market, choosing only fresh local produce which we would cook later that day. His philosophy is that of ‘cucina povera’ using lots of local vegetables in season and fish straight from the fisherman. We had five days in the small kitchen of his osteria, working alongside his other staff, including his son. We learned how to make pasta, arancine, pelpotte, stuffed peppers, small stuffed aubergines cooked in tomato sauce and many other things. Afterwards we would eat a lovely meal of what we had made all washed down with Mimmo’s delicious own wine. We even had the privilege of helping to prepare food for a pre-wedding banquet. There was also a lot of laughter.

    All in all this was one of the best and most memorable holidays we have ever had and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the Italian way of life and who doesn’t want the usual tourist scene. It is also very good value for what it cost and included. Thank you Carmelina and Mimmo.

    Pauline and Roger Lambert ( England )

  61. Jun 18, 2016 at 08:46 AM

    Carmelina brings extra life and excitment to the many interesting walks that she has meticulously chosen through her years of experience in her beloved Sicily. The endless numbers of friends along the way, who are always happy to see he and her walkers, go out of their way in typical Sicilian hospitality. The crafts and produce Carmelina introduced us to were very interesting and genuine.
    The restaurants and hotels chosen were very good and comfortable and her drivers always friendly and willing to be of assistance. Highly recommended.

    Philip ( Australia )

  62. May 24, 2016 at 01:44 PM

    We loved the hike with Carmelina above Sant'Ambrogio with spectacular views of the coast and Madonie mountains along the way. We enjoyed meeting some of the locals along the way, seeing the small farms and the entertaining shepherd and his goats. The lunch after hiking was incredibly delicious, including the local wines. Sicilian Experience is a very good name for what we had. A real highlight of our holiday.

    Julia Beardwood ( United States )

  63. Apr 22, 2016 at 03:49 PM

    Carmelina Ricciardello is truly the good-will ambassador extraordinaire of Sicily. We three friends were in search of the food, wine, villages, markets, pastures, vineyards, mountains, valleys, cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sicily. In our nine-day tour, Carmelina helped us discover the rich history and culture of Sicily from the spring harvest festival in a small village to the balletto flamenco at the Teatro Bellini in Catania. And so many, many things in between. Ever attuned to our conversatons, she picked up on our interest in the importance of Sicily in WWII and made sure we visited the thoughtfully curated museum in Catania. And she facilitated the grand finale in Aci Trezza with family at the fabulous Trattoria Verga da Gaetano. She acted as translator and honorary family member as we met cousins for the first time. Carmelina's months-long planning with us; the seamless and exciting drive between Palermo and Catania; the excellent guides she engage; the shop owners, the restaurateurs, the wine and cheese makers, and the village barber she introduced us to, made this a trip of a lifetime.

    Suzanne, Bill and Patricia ( USA )

  64. Apr 10, 2016 at 02:09 PM

    My partner and I booked a half day cooking course with Mimmo following some research on the internet . We had a wonderful experience - lots of time to talk to Mimmo about his cooking philosophy, food miles, learning the basic techniques of cooking and his experience of working in the uk. We then moved into the kitchen where we made crepes with ricotta filling, fritters and helped produce the pasta . meanwhile Mimmo was chopping up the lamb and getting several dishes on the go at once. We finished our bit and then we're wined and dined for a couple of hours in the osteria. I have never eaten so much! It was all amazing and considering the transport, tuition, wine and food we thought it was good value . We would definitely recommend and we hope one day to return .

    Ruth ( Uk )

  65. Mar 08, 2016 at 08:42 PM

    Hi Carmelina,

    Today we did the self-guided Sant' Ambrogio circular walk which Carmelina kindly e-mailed me and it was wonderful.
    We caught the bus from Cefalu arriving in Sant'Ambrogio at 10:45. After a brief stop in the cafe we set off uphill at 11:00. The weather was ideal for walking.
    The walk instructions were relatively easy to follow and we only had one small panic trying to find the green gates/ white horse property.
    The scenery was stunning and we were incredibly lucky to find Guilio still making cheese at 12:40 so we went down to say hi. My wife has been learning Italian so she was able to converse with him. We got to try the freshly made Ricotta straight from the pan.....still warm! Fantastic!!
    We got back to Sant'Ambrogio at 14:00 just as the incredible thunderstorm broke. We sheltered under the canopy of the bar in the square watching the hail-stones as we waited for the bus to arrive.
    It really was a fantastic walk through beautiful scenery with stunning views. The highlight was definitely meeting Guilio & his goats & seeing him make the Ricotta cheese and of course tasting it.
    Thank you Carmelina!!

    Gary Wright ( UK )

  66. Jul 08, 2015 at 01:18 PM

    We had a great time with Mimmo, interesting wine tour and lots of wine to accompany too. Food took a long time to come out although they had a problem with the gas. Great evening and stunning little Village - highly recommended!

    Sarah King ( England )

  67. Jun 26, 2015 at 10:23 PM

    We are delighted we went to this amazing half day cooking course. Mimmo is so enthusiastic and knowledgable about Sicilian food. He shared his passion for fresh and local ingredients, and the many ways he uses them. The four of us thoroughly enjoyed our cooking experience. I made fresh pasta by hand! The others made ragu, arancine, panelle and together we made tortellini. The lunch that followed was unforgetable, and the most delicious food we have had in Italy. We mostly talked about food and wine but also discussed culture and history as Mimmo is interested in so many things. And of course we sampled his wines!
    The time just flew by and our half day course lasted 6 hours!!
    Many thanks to Mimmo, his sons and staff for a unique Sicilian experience.

    Helen Watkins ( New Zealand )

  68. Jun 26, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Our 9 day Sicilian adventure with Carmelina was fabulous. We walked through a wonderful range of landscapes and touched on human settlement in Sicily from Palaeolithic cave paintings onward.
    Our accommodation was carefully chosen and part of the Sicilian experience as were the restaurants, menus and wine.
    Carmelina had a fabulous knowledge of all aspects of life in Sicily as well as a great sense of humour and warmth that made the trip a joyful experience for everyone.

    Penny ( Australia )

  69. Jun 22, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    We had been to Sicily before but our 9 days with Carmelina added a whole new depth to our appreciation and knowledge of Sicily. The walks she arranged for us were cleverly spread out around the island so we felt we got a good understanding of the different terrains from beaches to mountains. The restaurants she found for us every evening were excellent and we felt a just reward for the day's hard work . She is a delightful knowlegable guide and very sympathetic to the varying demands of the group. At the end of it we felt that after so many days of laughter we had made a real friend. We can't reommeend her too highly

    Peter St George ( Australia )

  70. Jun 13, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    We stayed in the village of Sant'Ambrogio for just 5 days, but by the end we felt like locals. Carmelina has done a wonderful job promoting authentic Sicilian culture to tourists in search of something 'off the beaten track'.

    We contacted Carmelina when looking for something non-touristy to do our honeymoon, and were particularly attracted to the foody aspects of the 'experience'. We booked into the cooking course with local chef Mimmo, which turned out to exceed our expectations, far and beyond. Mimmo took us to the eye-opening market in Palermo, and then back to his kitchen where we learnt to make chickpea frittas, Sicilian swordfish rolls and seafood salad. The day ended perfectly when we were able to enjoy this feast sitting out on the terrace overlooking the sunset over the rock of Cefalu. Wonderful memories!

    Another highlight was visiting Guilio, the shepherd in the mountains, and learning how to make cheese. He didn't speak English, nor did we speak Italian, but we got along just fine!

    The experience will stay with us for a long time, and we take away so much inspiration, knowledge and a new-found love for Sicilian food and culture. In fact, as I write (5 weeks after returning from Sicily) I am sitting at home in London enjoying a glass of Mimmo's delicious wine, having just had homemade granita based on his own recipe!

    Katie Brandwood ( UK )

  71. Jun 10, 2015 at 03:48 PM

    The highlight of our ten days in Sicily was, without doubt or question, our wine tour and tasting and dinner with Mimmo at his restaurant, Osteria Bachus in Sant' Ambrogia, outside of Cefalu. Mimmo is warm and welcoming, informed, passionate, funny and meticulous about his wine and his food.. The menu truly depends on what is growing locally and what is in the restaurant refrigerator where his two sons whip up amazing and authentic meals, under his exacting scrutiny. EVERYTHING is locally sourced and everything is home made. The glistening pasta with prawns and little clams was the best I think I've ever tasted. Not to mention the fantastic wine Mimmo lovingly and expertly creates, the homemade fennel liquer like nothing you ever tasted - just a superb and fun experience from start to finish. The most memorable time of our trip and we left feeling we had made a wonderful new friend in Mimmo. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!!!!!@

    Elaine Kenzer ( USA )

  72. Jun 10, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    We had the best day of the holiday learning to cook with Mimmo and his family in the little village of Sant'Ambrogio (10 minutes drive from Cefalu).
    We booked a half day lesson with lunch which involved us preparing fresh pasta, arancini, veal tomato sauce plus more. As the day went on, his sons arrived, mother-in-law, wife and students from school....the kitchen was buzzing.
    Mimmo can speak perfect English and kept us laughing the whole day. An extremely generous and passionate guy who also showed us his own wine cellar in between food preparation (of course, letting us sample his creation).
    If you want to learn how to cook from the best or simply have a fun day eating amazing food, go to Mimmo!

    Brad W ( UK )

  73. Jun 01, 2015 at 04:20 AM

    We just returned from our trip to Italy that included six days in S. Amborgio. Our stay in this beautiful town was truly memorable. S. Ambrogio is very quaint and its residents very welcoming. We enjoyed several wonderful meals of pasta and pizza at Ristorante Pizzeria Chian'a Chiesa. The family that owns the restaurant was very kind and made us feel right at home. Carmelina arranged for my wife and daughter to take a cooking class with Mimmo, who owns the other restaurant in S. Albrogio, Osteria Bacchus. This was a memorable for experience as Mimmo, in addition to being and excellent chef, is a delight and full of knowledge about Sicily. Our entire family was able to enjoy the dishes prepared by my wife and daughter under the guidance of Mimmo and his son. Mimmo arranged for us to dine outdoors at a table overlooking the ocean where we were treated to Mimmo's homemade wines. Any trip to Sicily should include a stay in S. Ambrogio with a day spent cooking with Mimmo.

    Jeffrey Lee
    Cameron, Montana

    Jeff and Doreen Lee ( USA )

  74. May 30, 2015 at 03:39 PM

    Marion did an outstanding job of helping my wife track down her roots one day in Mezzojuso. Her "can do" attitude coupled with her excellent language skills (Italian and English) enabled us to get to the town's municipal office and search through records satisfying our specific information needs. This single experience was a highlight of our tour of Sicily. Many thanks again, Marion...

    Andy Schoka ( USA )

  75. May 11, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    Carmelina spared no effort in making this a spectacular trip. The hikes were always interesting with varied scenery and nature at its most beautiful. Lodging and meals were also top rate - the best food we have ever eaten! We especially enjoyed being made part of Carmelina's family in the charming village of S. Ambrosio. This was a perfect way to really get to know the culture of this beautiful island.

    Don and Marilyn ( USA )

  76. May 05, 2015 at 07:24 PM

    Carmelina spares no effort to assure that you experience the best in Sicilian culture, countryside and cuisine. This was a spectacular trip. We have never seen greater natural beauty nor tasted better food. Carmelina does her utmost to accommodate everyone's needs "on the fly", adjusting hikes as weather and trail conditions dictate and sensing the need for a gelato or espresso break while in villages. Her special relationship with S. Ambrosio makes for a special place to stay. Really, a memorable and enjoyable experience.

    Don and Marilyn ( USA )

  77. Apr 27, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    The Sicilian Experience was a totally wonderful and memorable experience! We were part of a group of 9 hikers who spent 10 days with Carmelina earlier this month - April 2015. With her knowledge, stories and guidance we were immersed in the local natural world, culture, history, food/wine and got to know some delightful local characters too.

    We hiked in spectacular and appropriately challenging places - mountains, valleys, seashores - that no one could have found without her intimate knowledge of the area. The food was delicious, especially the great variety of antipasti, the fruit (oranges, strawberries) and a particularly fine (and light) lasagna!

    Carmelina seems to know almost everyone in Sicily, or at least in Sant Ambrogio, and she introduced us to much local color including cheese makers, a falconer, and a wine maker/restauranteur. We spent some time in mid-hike with Giulio learning how to make the various stages of ricotta, while consuming wine and olives. Then we continued our hike through a lovely green and yellow valley.

    Our accommodations, in 3 places, were comfortable and convenient - we especially enjoyed the private apartment in Sant Ambrogio with its terrace and view of the sea. Our driver, Nuncio, met us with cool drinks at the end of each hike and made our good trail lunches too.

    A great experience - we totally recommend Carmelina to anyone interested in Sicily.

    Margie Skaggs ( USA )

  78. Apr 23, 2015 at 03:19 PM

    Carmelina's attention to detail and responsiveness to individual needs, along with the depth of her knowledge about the history and natural resources of Sicily, made the trip an exceptional experience. Her love and passion for this beautiful island are infectious.

    Vicky Singer ( United States )

  79. Apr 11, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    We spend an amazing 10 days with Carmelina from one end of Sicily to the other.

    From our first internet contact, Carmelina was prompt, responsive and understood our needs and developed a perfect 10-day itinerary. From the time she met us at the Palermo airport to the drop off (sigh) in Catania, she was full of energy, ideas and information. She quickly understood our preferences and capacity and was ready with options for every eventuality. Our itinerary was a combination of day hikes (her term is “walks” but at 10km+, they were “hikes”), sightseeing and dinners at lovely trattorias. The hikes took us off the beaten track to really get a feel for the countryside that you don’t experience when you merely drive by. She shared her deep knowledge of Sicily’s history and was a perfect guide at the many historical sites. She provided terrific suggestions for dinner and chose lovely lunch spots. We had never been to Sicily and our Italian is virtually non-existent, but Carmelina made everything painless.

    The hike to the “Shepherd,” (isn’t he a Goatherd?) his cheese-making and tasting is a delightful experience. Mimmo’s wine tour and lunch is a must. Ditto for the “walk” through the Mt. Etna lava fields to the snow line and our delicious home-made lunch at Chiaro Vigo’s villa and vineyard. You must have her awesome Mt. Etna red wine or find an importer in your country. Same for her olive oil. Our hike above Taormina and the spectacular views across the water to the Italian mainland is memorable.

    All in all, it was a perfect combination of activities and being guided by Carmelina that gave us a deep appreciation and love for Sicily. Being there without crowds in “off-season” and able to walk into any restaurant (except for the very special trattoria in Syracusa that Carmelina recommended) is definitely a plus. We can’t imagine how it could have been better.

    Bob and Marian Klein ( United States )

  80. Feb 09, 2015 at 12:46 AM

    Our family of five spent seven weeks throughout Europe and our Sicilian Experiences were at the top of the tree.

    The cooking experience with Mimmo was just fantastic, as the reviews on Trip Adviser all support. It is by way the best, most authentic and affordable cooking experience we've seen.

    We also spent a few hours horse riding. It was a great day and the views were spectacular!

    Carmelina was very helpful in the booking, directions and giving us a slice of the history of the area.

    We loved every minute!

    Steve Williams ( Australia )

  81. Nov 20, 2014 at 07:30 PM

    The Shepherd Walk sounded both interesting and fun. The additional wine tasting and lunch at Mimmo’s would be the icing on the cake. Our group of six had been travelling in Italy and Sicily for four weeks and each day was an adventure. The only guided tour we had booked was the Shepherds walk. We found our way to Sant’Ambrogio early Thursday morning, October 2nd. Our guide, Marian, met us at the piazza shortly afterwards, and that’s when it all began. Our walk to the Shepherd was full of beautiful panoramas, interesting conversation with Marian and a little huffing and puffing. We met the shepherd Giulio and he began the process of turning goat milk into ricotta cheese. Each minute was filled with the pleasure of watching him do what he loves to do. His laughter and comments added to our experience. Marian translated our questions back and forth as his process continued. The tasting was more like a meal as Giulio spooned up samples during the entire process of turning milk into cheese. Except for the cell phone we spied, we could have drifted hundreds of years into the past, and his process of making cheese would be exactly the same. We left the shepherd realizing we had just experienced something very special.
    Mimmo’s wine tasting and lunch was indeed the icing on the cake. His personality won us over right away. His passion about his wine making as he explained the process from gathering grapes on the vine to bottling the wine made the visit to his cellar outstanding. Then we went with him to his restaurant. There, we learned that wine isn’t Mimmo’s only passion. It was apparent that the preparation, presentation and quality of the food he serves to his customers are top notch. We were served a very large sampling of appetizers, then a huge portion of pasta, and when asked if we would like to continue with a fish plate, we just couldn’t do it. Mimmo was generous with both the meal and his time, answering any and all questions we had. We left the restaurant and Sant’Ambrogio with not only a day filled with new experiences, but also the feeling of having made three new friends.
    Doug, Linda, Jerry, Sandy, Jim and Vicki

    Doug Novak ( USA )

  82. Oct 26, 2014 at 05:07 PM

    We enjoyed a wonderful day being entertained and learning about Sicily and Sicilian food by Mimmo. We started at 9:30 and spent the day cooking, eating, drinking, walking through Sant' Ambroglio and visiting Mimmo's wine cellar and did not leave until close to 6 pm. We learned to cook many different Sicilian specialties and had plenty of delicious fennel, Mandarin orange and lemon liqueurs. Mimmo is a warm and multi-talented guy who will be one of the highlights of any Sicilian vacation.

    John and Marylou Domino ( United States )

  83. Oct 24, 2014 at 04:47 PM

    What an incredible day! We were on drawing tour, visiting areas of Sicily. One of our stops was a delightful visit of the village of Sant'Ambrogio, just a drive away from Cefalu. Sant'Ambrogio was a beautiful, quaint as we roamed its winding streets, meeting a local vintner (he's 94!) who invited us to see his wine seller (in the back of his home) and taste his wares. The town is just lovely, the views of the ocean, amazing. But it didn't prepare us for how wonderful a lunch we would have. We hiked up several sets of steps to the top of the town, where we met Mimmo.

    Mimmo, such a jovial, kind and incredibly warm man, served us a lunch that the Gods would have been jealous of. All the while he shared his stories, serving several styles of his homemade wine (all with a story of course) as he shared with us how he developed Osteria Bacchus. Seated under a casual canopy, the wine flowed; our plates were filled, as Mimmo and his family served us an amazing catered meal experience that we wished to have enjoyed more than once. We started with appetizers, fresh cheeses, artichokes, olives and the most amazing buschetta -- so fresh and flavorful, the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, which melted on our tongues, Then, a beautiful seafood platter came with the tiniest of clams, crisp mussels, silky octopus, light touch of herbs. I could turn around and see the deep blue waters, knowing just how fresh the fish was. Next was a platter of meatballs, moist and again, fresh meats mixed with fennel, translucent onions sprinkled with capers, bay leaves. I started to wish I had a second stomach. By the time the homemade Cannoli was delivered (his two sons brought them to us from town below up ala motorbike), the lemoncello was poured; time all but seemed to have stopped. We purchased several bottles of wine, with full intentions of bringing them back home. However, too delicious, we shared it with our fellow travelers over the coming days. Sadly, not a bottle made it home.

    If you have a few hours to join Mimmo for lunch, I am sure you will have fabulous memories that will stay with you long after you have left Sicily. Buon Appetito!

    Andrea Booth ( USA )

  84. Oct 18, 2014 at 06:55 PM

    We had a really great time in Sant'Ambrogio. If you want to know what it's like to live in a small Sicilan community, spending a few day's in Sant'Ambrogio will give you a good idea. Sant Ambrosio is a town of 250 people approx 3 miles from Cefalu, one of the towns where the movie Cinema Paradiso (one of my favorite films) was filmed. This is classic Sicilia. When we first drove through the town it was about 5 PM and all the elders were sitting out either in from of their houses or in the small piazza talking with each other. They watched us drive through the town as if the Martians had just landed in their small town. We have rented a small place just on the outskirts of Sant'Ambrogio. Within a day or two we were accepted by everyone. We were on first name basis with the waiters at the restaurant Osteria Bacchus and owner Chef Mimmo. We knew the lady at the local market who was giving us wine recommendations. The owner of the bar, Saro introduced himself and we had a nice chat for a while even though he did speak much english and my Italian is limited. The nice young lady that made our espresso's in the morning at Saro's bar was helping us with our Italian and giving me a bad time because I called her Signora and not Signorina as she waved her hands by me to show me that there was no wedding ring, opps my bad. The pizza restaurant in town served the best pizza that we had the entire trip. Really after just a day or two you felt accepted by everyone in town, not to mention it was an easy base to explore Cefalu.
    We found this place via the website Sicilian Experience (http://www.sicilianexperience.com/). Carmelina was born in Sant'Ambrogio and immigrated with her parents to Australia and has now returned to Sant'Ambrogio to try to help the town by facilitating tourism in the town. In Sant Ambrogio we are staying at the home of Signore Franco(the guitar player), and Signora Maria (the bread maker), and Jim (the baker). They have a beautiful stone room separated from the main house, with a great little terrace overlooking the Sea, Casa Sollevante. On our second to the last day in Sant'Ambrogio in the morning Maria had just made bread and Pizza and they were in the process of getting the oven heated up to bake it. Francisco say's they make bread twice a week. The next day they presented us with a loaf of this fantastic home made homemade bread. It was incredible. They were great. The morning we were leaving we had a discussion for about 20 minutes until we finally had to leave, so that we could get to our prearranged lunch at the Planeta winery. They were fantastic people, so friendly and so generous. A great experience.
    Additionally while during our stay in Sant Ambrogio Carmelina hooked us up with a cooking class at Chef Mimmo's. This was the only real sit down restaurant in town. Chef Mimmo was fantastic. We had met Chef Mimmo the night before and we chatted for a while. Chef Mimmos' English skill were great and we had no trouble communicating at all and he was a really pleasant guy who was passionate about the traditions of what he was cooking and about passing this on to his 2 sons. Chef was a great teacher. For our cooking class we made lasagna with fresh pasta, and fish in Agrodolce. We had a great time all day and after class was over we sat down and had a wonderful meal with Chef Mimmo's home made wine. This was the best lasagna I'd ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of lasagna. The fish in Agrodolce was a real treat. I'd never made it or eaten it before but it was a really great surprise. I think we started class at 9:30 AM and didn't get up from the table until after 3 PM. Chef Mimmo and his son's were one of the big highlights of our trip.

    Matt Maggio ( United States )

  85. Aug 07, 2014 at 08:04 PM

    My family and I visited Sicily and stayed near Cefalu to celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary last April. While retracing our roots in the region, we thought that an authentic cooking class would be the perfect anniversary present. Mimmo's class and the following feast at his Osteria Bacchus in the village of Sant'Ambrogio was easily the highlight of our week long stay. This was the perfect activity for our family of 10 and an amazing value for the amount of food, wine, and amazing conversation we had. Mimmo and his family showed us how to prepare and cook a traditional multiple course meal of so many pasta and fish dishes that we had to beg to stop eating. We cooked in the Osteria's kithcen and ate at a beautiful outdoor table in the front afterward. The flavors were all incredible and we begged for the recipes to come home with our memories. All of Mimmo's family and staff treated us as if we were members of their family. The service and quality were all incredible.

    Afterward, Mimmo took us to his wine cellar and we continued to talk and celebrate for hours chatting about cooking techniques, Sicilian history, and Mimmo's culinary aspirations for Sant'Ambrogio. We finished with a walk through the village of Sant'Ambrogio and sipped on Mimmo's homemade Limonchello as we looked over the water at beautiful Cefalu below. It was the perfect day and we would not have changed a single thing.

    Caremilina, the origanizer of Sicilian Experience tours, was equally amazing in all aspects as the host of our cooking class and afternoon of activities. She was incredibly prompt in all responses to our booking inquiries before arriving in Italy and equally helpful in setting up trasportation and all necessary details on the day of the event. She provided historical background and stories throughout the day that enhanced our experiecne. She even helped keep an eye on and play with the two one year olds that our family brought with us to share in the experence. Everything was so family friendly and warm. Carmelina is an incredible advocate for Sicilian tradition in general, and Mimmo and village of Sant'Ambrogio specifically. Together her and Mimmo make an incredible team of advocates for the Sicilian small village culinary exprience.

    If you couldn't tell alredy, I give this the highest recommendation possible. If you are in the Cefalu region and have a few days, this is absolutely to not be missed. My family is from San Francisco and has members in the restaurant industry, so we do not give this ecstatic recommendation lightly. It's a gourmet take on traditional Sicilian food executed in an unbeatable top to bottom family experience.

    Geoffrey Matranga ( USA )

  86. Jun 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    What a wonderful walking holiday! Carmelina guided us from one end of Sicily to the other, showing us the amazing variation in countryside and the views with it, the rich historical sites and cities and towns and introducing us to the island's mouthwatering cuisine and wines. Her historical and local knowledge was excellent, guiding us to these first class sites as well as introducing us to many of the local people. I could not praise Carmelina more highly for her organising and travel guide skills and her camaraderie and thank her so much for the best walking holiday!

    Tony Mosman ( Australia )

  87. Jun 18, 2014 at 04:34 PM

    Carmelina organized a 14-person walking tour for a group of friends and it was delightful. Sicily has much more to offer culturally than other trips we have done -- and the combination with Carmelina's unique meet-the-local-people approach made us both feel and enjoy Sicily enormously. Try it!
    Ana-Maria (USA)

    Ana-Maria Zaugg ( USA )

  88. Jun 18, 2014 at 02:16 AM

    After a two week walking trip in Sicily with Carmelina from Sicilian Experience, I have fallen in love with this beautiful island. We visited the most extraordinary places, from mountains to sea, stayed in unique, truly Sicilian accommodation, and ate the best food ever. Thank you Carmelina, for a wonderful two weeks ... it will remain one of my most favourite holidays.

    Lesley ( Australia )

  89. Jun 09, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    We have found another place on the planet that feels like home ... Sant'Ambrogio in Sicily. Carmelina from Sicilian Experience guided towards the most rewarding of experiences - a memorable walk from the village to Guilio the goatherd, to watch him make ricotta and goats' cheese in the traditional way; talking, dining and tasting wine with Mimmo, the most wonderful organic wine and locally sourced food, both made and cooked by Mimmo - both memorable experiences. The people of Sant'Anbrogio were warm and welcoming We have found another place on the planet that feels like home ... Sant'Ambrogio in Sicily. Carmelina from Sicilian Experience guided towards the most rewarding of experiences - a memorable walk from the village to Juilio the goatherd, to watch him make ricotta and goats' cheese in the traditional way; talking, dining and tasting wine with Mimmo, the most wonderful organic wine and locally sourced food, both made and cooked by Mimmo - both memorable experiences. The people of Sant'Anbrogio were warm and welcoming - we felt as if we were a part of the village for the week we stayed in Casa Melinda in Sant"Ambrogio. And of course we cannot ever forget Saro's coffee, Saro's kindness, and the wonderful view from his bar. Thank you Carmelina and Sant'Ambrogio - we will be back!- we felt as if we were a part of the village for the week we stayed in Casa Melinda in Sant"Ambrogio. And of course we cannot ever forget Saro's coffee, Saro's kindness, and the wonderful view from his bar. Thank you Carmelina and Sant'Ambrogio - we will be back!

    Vicki Froomes ( Australia )

Apartment Luna 

July 12, 2013
Thank you very much. We are taking back home memories of the most beatiful holidays. We enjoyed the beach and views, Also enjoyed cheese making with Giulio. The ice-cream by Saro bar was wonderful and very good.
Agnieszka, Grzegorz, Jan & Juliusz (Czestochowa, Poland)

Apartment Luna 
July 15, 2013
Thank you for givings us a great Sicilian Experience this week. We have enjoyed our stay in the beautiful village. We can not imagine a balcony with a better view. Now it is time to take our car and work our way slowly back home to Norway
Wendy & Einer (Norway)


Aparment Ciligie 
July 1, 2013- July 8, 2013 
Thank you for a wonderful week. We really really loved this place. It was much better and more stunning then we had expected. We are a family from Sweden, realy enjoyed the stay in the village and the beach. The warm and friendly village. The church bell, The fantastic youth-camp, We also went to Cefalu and that was nice too but we liked it better at S.Ambrogio. We would come back next year, Iam already planing for next years trip with the whole family. Thank you Margherita for being so helpful during our stay.
Magdalena, Dan, Frida, & Jacob (Sweden)

Apartment Paradiso
July 3, 2013 - July 9, 2013
What a great place to stay! Lovely apartment! The balcony with amazing views of the sea. The sun in the moring and sun set in night was wonderful. The beach and mountain was lovely. Thank you for a lovely stay 
Ingrid & Jen (Norway)

July 9, 2013-July 23, 2013
Thank you for a wonderful two weeks in apartment paradiso, it was our first time in Sicily. We enjoyed sicilian living and the wonderful beach. The balcony had wonderful views across the sea and village, thank you so much
Markus, Ruth, & Jan-Niklas (Germany


Apartment Alba
July 7, 2013 - July 14, 2013
Thank you for everything. We loved staying at apartment alba thank you for the fruit, coffee, olive oil, and delicious sauce for the pasta. 
Mary & Patrick (Australia)
Apartment Melinda.
We have just had a wonderful 3 weeks at Sant'Ambrogio. A big thank you to Toto and Melinda at Casa Melinda. The apartment was fantastic and the friendship of Toto and Melinda will be remembered forever. Carmelina was a wonderful help in organizing our fun times in the village. Saro's Bar was great and his ice cream was fantastic. Mimmo's wine tasting was a great experience as was his cooking class! WE would recommend the village as a wonderful way to experience Sicilian life. We will definitely return. Thank you Sanr'Ambrogio!
Greg and Rhonda Roberts (Australia)


July 9, 2013-July 23, 2013
Thank you for a wonderful two weeks in apartment paradiso, it was our first time in Sicily. We enjoyed sicilian living and the wonderful beach. The balcony had wonderful views across the sea and village, thank you so much
Markus, Ruth, & Jan-Niklas (Germany)

Apartment Paradiso
July 3, 2013 - July 9, 2013
What a great place to stay! Lovely apartment! The balcony with amazing views of the sea. The sun in the moring and sun set in night was wonderful. The beach and mountain was lovely. Thank you for a lovely stay 
Ingrid & Jen (Norway)

Villa Deodata - 13th April 2013
Dear Carmelina,
We have had a lovely week at Villa Deodata - very peaceful and relaxing which is just hwat we all needed. The views are wonderful from the terrace. Cefalù and our walks down to Sant'Ambrogio for coffee at the bar. We also very much enjoyed the morning we spent with Giulio. We had never been to Sicily before but we are now complete converts and hope to visit again. Many thanks. 
Carherine and Jon, Sarah, Ed and Anna (UK )

Such a awesome hike! Carmellina shows her love for her home by introducing others to its wildlife and rustic heritage. We can recommend the "Path of the Shepherds" hike, which led us into the hillsides of lower Madonie Park and to a demonstration of cheese making by Giulio, a local shepherd.

Carmellina seems to know nearly everyone in her town and nearby country. We left with an appreciation of life in small town Sicily. We were able to get answers to questions about Italian life and culture. 

Carmellina is proud of her home and has done so much to improve her community.

Get out of your car (or bus) and see the real Sicily!
Paul M (United States)

7-14 March 2013
A lovely stay in Casa Margherita. Thank you for your friendlines and advice. We enjoyed visits to Cefalu and Castelbuon. The best of our stay was the fanstic sea views.
David & Michele (England)

23-30 March 2013
Thank you for a really enjoyable stay. Casa Margherita is a splended place and really good house for vaction. The nice people in the town and pizza in the square. Thank you for a lovely stay.
Tom, Pauline, Gbriele, & Jennifer (England)

April 4-11 2013
We had a great time at Casa Margherita. Our kids loved seeing the kittens and playing on the terrace. Cefalu beach was wonderful and so was the village of S.Ambrogio. Castelbuono was worth the visit especially the views. Thank you Margherita, Salvatore, and Concetta for being friendly.
Nathan (England)

Apartment Luna 
June 3, 2013
Thank you for your beautiful apartment and peaceful offering. It was just what we were searching for.
Ezio & Meagan (England )

Villa Deodata - 6th January 2013

We were very fortunate to be able to spend over 2 months (nov-jan) in Carmelina's hbeautiful village. 
We weren't sure what the wweather would be like, but to our delight it was most often warm and sunny (with a few amazing thunder and lightning storms) and overr Christmas we enjoyed temperatures around 18°C and we enjoyed a barbecue and sat out in the sunshine beside the jasmine - enjoying the views. 
We had plenty of time to explore much of the island - though we never got to the west (another time, hopefully!) - and were truly fortunate to explore many cultural delights and the environmented splendour of the island. 
Where do you begin to describe the many pleasures to be had!
Environment: recommend the Sant'Ambrogio cicurlar walk, also the walk to Piano Pomo beyond Castelbuono, the walk to the Guarneri woods (and the Aeolian Islands!!)
Culuture: Tindar, Piazza Amerina and Palermo 
Location: Thought Cefalù a fabulous town such fun to wonder around with pelnty of wonderful restaurants, including Al Gabbiano, Kentia and Il Covo del Pirata. However we were very chamed witht he delights of Sant'Ambrogio and the friendly people such as at Sara's bar and Eernesto and Dara at Conad's.
More than anything, the thing that made our holiday extra special has been the wonderful friendship and support shown to us in teh brief stay. We've made good friends. Thank you Carmelina for giving us this opportunity to stay in this beautiful corner of the world.
Hugo Barton (Devon, UK)


Villa Deodata 1st November 2012
We are leaving after a wonderful autumn week. Breakfast this iwth french windows open, sunshine, clear to the sky and views over the Med.
So what have we done? Walked around here - S. Ambrogio circular walk to Pollina there and back, around Cefalù (but Rocca walk closed because of the weather), around Petralia Soprana and then sunflower forest walk and to and from La Volpe (fox) in Bikini. Train to Palermo with bus (389) and to Monreale. That day a contrast to days around here with the bustle. Food and wine have been very much a feature, and we toroughly enjoyed our local wine tasting we will remember that Sicilians reommend drinking all the wine at room temperature. The Nero D'avola grape made red wine much to our liking Fish counter at sidis supermarket did us well and local cheese. Great memories we taking back with us to Surrey and many thanks from all. 
Alaister's group (UK )

Villa Deodata 17th September 2012
What a fantastic place to stay and what a view to wake up to each morning! This really has been the ideal place for some peace and relaxation - even while watching the storm clous roll over the hills! I'm sure there is pleny more that we have yet is explore - we'll have to leave that for next time. Many thanks. 
Frances and Dianah (UK )

Villa Deodata - 10th September 2012
Vilal Deodata is delightful. We're enjoyed every aspect of teh house - both inside and out. What a view to be greeted with each morning! And each morning has been glorious, with blue skies and warm sunshine, tempered by the cooling breeze off the sea. 
With a 2 1/2 month baby-our grandson Jude we've spent a fair amount of time here at the house, making good use of the patio and barbeque. 
Al fresco meals have been enjoyed most evenings. A stroll up from the village in the heat of the day reduced us to walking streaks of sweat. And distiguishing between locally produced cabbage and lettuce proved a real challenge!
Back to the UK tomorrow after running the gauntler of the Palermo traffic. I'm glad I'm not doing the driving! Arrividerci and goodbye
Jacky,Richard and Jude (UK)

Thank you so much for a fantastic stay in the beautiful country. I have trully fallen in love with Sicily its a country where anything goes! Thanks again. 
Amelia, Alexia & Alexander (Russia )

Villa Deodata - 28th April 2012
We really enjoyed our stay in Villa Deodata and Sicily. You have created a beautiful place and we all appreciate the work and the passion of yours in the village. And the donkey was wonderful. 
Julia, Hannah Tonis Max (Estoni, Tallinn)

Villa Deodata - 24th May 2012
Ci sentiamo a nostro agio e come nella nostra casa in Villa Deodata. La sua attenzione verso ogini dettaglio della casa, che si vede in ogni stanza ci è risultato in un'esperienza ottima. Le finestre aperte e il balcone sopra con vedute di vigne, olivi un actus vigilante, la fontana in forma di campan, e il mare con la rocca sotto erano piacevoli al ritonare ogni giorno dalle passegiate in Sicilia. Jessamy è piaciuta la cucin aben attrazzata e Stefano e piaciuto a mangiare 
Steve and Jessamy 

Villa Deodata - 29th June 2012
We had a wonderful week in Sicily, especially in Sant Ambrogio. This is such a charming place and Sicily has so much more to offer than we could fit in just 6.6 days, especially with Carmelina's big book fo information. The people in the town are so friendly as one can get. We won't forget Giulio and his cheese, the great wine and food preapred by Mimmo and Carmela's authentic recipes. And of courese how can one forget the party at the paizza with NY choir and with Italy winning the semi final! Thank you so much! Hope to come back again. Grazie
Quinci, Yves, Michelle, Stephanie, Ken & Ben (Toronto/hong Kong )

Villa Deodata - 26th May 2012
Despite being frequen travellers to Sicily it was with some trepidation that we arrived with our children Oliver 4 1/2 and James 2 1/2 four our first trip abroad as a family. Our fears disappeared rom the inital moment that we met Carmelina in the piazza. The villa is fantastic, everything that both adutls and children could want, comfort, space and safety to play explore alone. The boys made the holiday, wherever we went people wanted to stop and talk to them - we soon become used to explaining they were fratelli not gemelli! The vist to Giulio with his generous hospitality of wine bread and of course his delicious chese, was certainly the highlight of the trip. We will return next year. 
Angela, Adrian, Oliver and James (UK)

Villa Deodata - 10th August 2012
Thank you for a wonderful holiday in Sant'Ambrogio. We have really enjoyed the weather, the beaches and the sea and have been delighted by the mountains and the towns there, we enjoyed concerts in Castelbuono and lunch in the Hotel Pomieri. We arrived in the dark in Pollina and were lunged into a medieval atmosphere and enjoyed the fantastic sight of the Teatro there. We also love the "white night" and the pink Night in Sant'Ambrogio with a lively mix of ballroom dancing, outdoore hairdressing and "gues the weight of the log" competitive log chain sawing to win a vespa. Unfortunately we did not get the vespa. People have been friendly and helpful and we have had a great expereince in Sicily and would loe to return. Many thanks. 
The Hendersons (UK)


Aug 27, 2012
We are very sad to be leaving this very special little place with its moring coffee, and wondeful sea view. Our host were very friendly offering us homemade goodies and homemade pizza from the outside oven while Franco started to play his guitar for us while we ate are pizza.
Sarah & Nick (London, Uk)

Such a peaceful village and everyone is so friendly. To sit on the balcony and have a glass of wine and take in the beautiful ocean view. Sicily to me is villages and towns on top of hills, narrow roads in all the towns, no road rage, peoeple standing at bars having coffee, yummy cakes, cheese, cheese and more cheese, house wine tasting wonderful. How wonderful to have had 10 days of life back to basic, simple food - wine, cheese, cold cut meat, olives and olive oil. Then coffee and cake on biscott.
Thank you Carmelina for "The Sicilian Experience"
Mary & Gary (Australia)

Hi Carmelina,

I just wanted to say thank you for arranging the two days we spent with you on vacation. It was truly the highlight of our vacation. It was such an unforgettable experience to be welcomed into people's homes and have an authentic experience from the locals. Everyone was so kind and generous. The food that Mimmo and Rosamaria cooked for us was some of the best food that we ate in Sicily!! Please tell everyone thank you for us. 

Thank you for being such a great translator! Spending a few days with you was such a personable experience. We really enjoyed hearing your stories and some history of sicily. We hope that more people take advantage of your services to experience the local way of life. 

We feel like we left Sicily with not only great memories, but new friends that we will never forget and you were a huge part of making that happen. Thanks Again and we hope we will find our way to Sicily again one day.

Thank you,
Joe and Michelle TenBrink




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Sustainable tourism

I’ve decided the best way to help the Sicily I love is to promote it to people who want to live life as a Sicilian local—to see the world through Sicilian eyes. This is the best way I know to contribute to the place I love, the home of my birth, the Sicily in me.