Sunday morning. The coffee pot quietly mumbles on the stove, the cookies are already carefully arranged on the big plate in the kitchen. A light smell of oranges and cinnamon reminds me that autumn is the season that takes us to the joys of the irresistible Sicilian Christmas.
Once more, with my finger I skim the road on the map. Ever since I found out I did not know one of the most beautiful pearls of Sicily, I haven’t stopped planning the trip to go and conquer it, from Palermo in bicycle. I must have it, Caccamo will be mine!
Few minutes after coffee, I’m already riding my bicycle through the streets of Palermo. Despite Caccamo is easily accessible from Termini Imerese junction on the A19 highway, or along the fast slide Palermo – Agrigento, I chose the bike to enjoy the road and all the secrets it reveals to those who have patience to listen.
In few minutes I cross the cycle lane in Messina Marine street and deviate to Villabate on Provincial Road 76 to Misilmeri entrance where I access the Provincial Road 16, which will guide me to Ventimiglia di Sicilia, then divert the Provincial Road 6. The climb is hard and the asphalt flows slowly under my wheels, but there is no mountain that the will of a cyclist can not move.
Kilometer after kilometer I enjoy an unexpected landscape to so few kilometers from the sea: beautiful orange groves, farms, beautiful oil mills and dairies where you can taste the products of the Sicilian tradition, small streams that feed agriculture still thriving.
A shepherd with his flock stops my way and I benefit from this break to watch a hawk gliding gracefully on an invisible road made of wind. On top of the mountains small villages doze quietly, ancient guardians of tradition and history, behind me distant is the sea but always present.
In Ventimiglia di Sicilia I have a coffee break and chat with the bartender, who in the full respect of the proverbial Sicilian hospitality, encourages me to go ahead and offers me an almond pastry to “recover a bit of energy.” Invigorated by this reception and a warmer heart I climb back on the saddle and I leave again. I cycle away from the Provincial Road 6 and go on the rural road that runs along the beautiful Rosamarina Lake.
After the climb that took my breathe away, just passed a sharp bend I remain dazzled.
Caccamo is there in front of me. The fatigue of the 60 km of slopes just cycled disappears instantly.
Contained by a frame of luxuriant vegetation, with a mantle of sky on my shoulders, Caccamo rests, with its load of history and artistic beauty, at the foot of San Calogero Mount. Surprised by so much beauty I linger to look at the beautiful castle, the impressive churches and the landscape.
I browse the current short guide on the District of Caccamo website on my smartphone and I discover the mystery on its name and its origin as well as a precise description of the artistic and architectural heritage of the city. I spend the rest of the day getting lost in the alleys of the city, between houses set into the rock, enjoying the fruits of its ancient tradition of cheese and agricultural and chatting with open and friendly locals.
At nightfall I remain suspended in the yellow light of the street lamps and the scent of wood that comes from the chimneys of the houses.
It seems to be part of a huge crib. Still with this perfume on my shirt, and my eyes filled with beauty, the Highway 285 Mount within a few kilometers leads me to Termini Imerese station where a regional train will bring me and my bicycle to the Central Station of Palermo.
I reflect on the train on why you have to visit Caccamo. The answer is simple and immediate: visiting Caccamo, is discovering the courage of its inhabitants who, in the past, fought the rock to build one of the most beautiful castles of Sicily, however, also it means discovering their patience and perseverance, tools they have preserved ancient and beautiful traditions with and today it lives thanks to everyday visitors.