Planning your day out in Sicily

Life in Italy has its own rhythm and Sicily is no exception, you should simply be aware of it before planning your day tours.

Like everywhere else in the world, people go about their business in the morning, city centres are busy, coffee places are packed with locals, shops are open, offices and schools in full activity. Close to lunchtime, the traffic gets jammed, motorbikes honking, kids shouting as they leave school…...then almost suddenly the desert!

Let's admit it, we have all experienced feeling lost and lonely  in a deserted Italian city between 1.00pm and 3.00pm. Where is everybody? Can they really afford such long break?

Well, not all of us have the luxury of a siesta, but many of us do go home for lunch or go to a trattoria or self-service for a meal. 
Shops take a longer pause because, even in the smallest town, they are open till late in the evening. As I mentioned, this is common to many Italian cities and the time for the afternoon shutdown varies from region to region, from area to area, from business to business.
In Sicily it depends a lot on the season, in Spring/Summer it usually goes from 1.30 pm to 4.30pm with shops closing around 8.30pm. In Autumn/Winter from 1.30pm to 3.30pm with closing time around 7.30pm.
Keep in mind that most museums do not close for a lunch break, shopping malls go for what is known as 'orario continuato', meaning they do not close at lunchtime and some tourism-oriented businesses during the spring/summer season might be open even through the lunch break.

You could find exploring a city centre all by yourself very attractive and take advantage of the long 'pausa pranzo', but if that is not the case here are a few suggestions:

- embrace the 'siesta' spirit and go for a nap;
- find a nice spot to relax and read a book;
- go for a swim if you visit in the summer and can stand the heat and the sun; 
- use this time to travel from one place to another if you are planning to change town/area;
- go for a meal not earlier than 1.30pm so while everything is shut, you can be comfortably seated at a restaurant enjoying a meal;
- book an activity which includes a longer lunch experience like a visit to a winery with wine tasting + lunch or a relaxed cooking class followed by lunch, obviously with me in Modica;)!

Written on
January 9, 2017
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