For anyone wishing to explore Sicily, resorts around the stunning north-western tip of the island provide the opportunity to immerse in the history and extraordinary natural beauty of this part of Italy. |
The coastal town of San Vito Lo Capo, in Trapani, sits beneath the limestone silhouette of Mount Cofano and, with its beautiful beach and laidback Mediterranean charm, is becoming one of the worst kept 'off the beaten track' secrets in Sicily. Resorts like San Vito also afford visitors the chance to immerse in some authentic local culture.
These three festivals are the stars of the 2016 cultural calendar.
The International Kite Festival
The skies of San Vito turn every colour of the rainbow, as pink, red, yellow, green, purple and multi-coloured kites take to the heavens in a joyful exhibition of skill and creativity. Spectators and kite enthusiasts come from all over the world to join in the excitement of this renowned festival, which sees professionals pit their skills against one another in a thrilling display of acrobatic choreographed stunts and intricately manoeuvred tricks.
The kites are made from a diverse range of materials, including rice paper and leaves, with many depicting designs incorporating their country's flora and fauna. Set to music and integrating spectacular pyrotechnics, the schedule of events covers both day and evening shows.
Now in its eighth year, the 2016 San Vito Lo Capo International Kite festival will take place from 26th-29th May.
The Cous Cous Fest
Italy loves a food festival and the Cous Cous Fest, in San Vito, brings a host of renowned international chefs to the town to share their gastronomic skills. Based entirely around cuisine using the humble cous cous, the event includes workshops, seminars, competitions and cooking demonstrations, set over 10 days of colourful, carnival atmosphere.
A range of countries are represented by their best chefs, with exotic cuisine served up in various venues set up in town and on the beach. Visitors' options include dining on spicy Arabic dishes in a traditional Berber tent in front of the ocean, fresh-caught seafood dishes prepared in a huge communal pan in one of the piazzas, and lots of other pop-up venues and market stalls at the Expo Village, set up in the main streets of the town.
A final 'cook-off' takes place in the centre of town before a jury of international food industry heavyweights, to decide which country's chef has executed the best dish. Visitors are also welcome to join a secondary judging panel to vote for their favourite cous cous dish.
The 2016 Cous Cous Fest takes place in San Vito Lo Capo from 16th-25th September.
A festival for the independent documentary film industry, SiciliAmbiente attracts filmmakers from around the world to join in a cultural exchange of ideas and creativity. Featuring short films, documentaries and animations, the festival is focused on subjects around human rights, the environment and sustainability.
Now in its seventh year, the festival has evolved since its inaugural edition to become a highly respected platform from which to promote a global culture of sustainability. Along with screenings of the short films, the festival includes workshops, presentations, educational initiatives, excursions and photography exhibits.
The festival culminates in a closing ceremony, with awards across the range of categories, which include Best Animation, Best Short Movie, Best Documentary and, the newest, Best Sustainable Mobility (involving bicycles).
The 2016 SiciliAmbiente festival runs from 19th-24th July at san Vito Lo Capo.
These three very different festivals showcase the diversity of the wonderful and inclusive Sicilian culture, and the island's commitment to its conservation. For those lucky enough to visit Sicily, resorts like San Vito Lo Capo are the gateway to experiencing the island's authentic and joyful way of life.
John Dixon is Managing Director of Prestige Holidays and visits Italy at least twice a year. He has been providing holidays in luxury Sicily resorts as well as luxury holidays to many other destinations worldwide for over 30 years.
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