A recent trip to Sicily inspired by the Australian way
Sicily has been on the list of places in Italy to visit for one Australian family for quite some time now. They often would hear about the beaches and amazing food. When the time finally came to spend part of their Italy trip in the Island State, it was a surprise to find that Sicily offers so much more than first expected.
Brenda Pomponio, Founder of Our Family Travels is passionate about inspiring other families to travel with their children and embark on the less known journey of travel and adventure. It was because of this passion that when she found company Wanderjack, she knew this was the perfect way to explore the Sicilian region. With the traveller in mind and unique and local experiences offered to families it was the perfect way to journey through the island state of Italy.
Actually, the way in which Brenda and her families time in Sicily was created was due to an experience that Elena Doria (Founder of Wanderjack) had when she visited Australia. On a visit to Australia back in 2015 - Elena was overwhelmed and inspired by unique experiences she was offered as a traveller and how these types of experiences helped shape her understanding of the Australian culture, history and beauty. Elena had the opportunity to travel in various groups, sometimes with many other Australian travellers and she was curious to know how they travel. “The Australian people really inspired me, they are not afraid to take the road less explored and to seek out unique experiences themselves or with a local guide. These conversations really helped me shape my vision for Wanderjack - as our company is all about Lusting after Different Roads. It was the beginning of an idea that I knew I needed to make available in Italy.” Elena shares.
Brenda, her husband and their two children spent 10 days exploring Sicily on a self-drive family tour of the region beginning their journey in Catania and travelling through Syracuse, Ortiga, Modica and ending in Agrigento.
“As we journeyed through these old ancient towns we were given the opportunity to witness the preservation of the spirit of places and the locals that care and are passionate about their art and service” Brenda reflects.
Sharing her travelling stories on Our Family Travels website as well as on social media, Brenda loves inspiring families to really seek out unique experiences when travelling with children. “With our own two children my husband and I often find the researching and choosing experiences and activities can be the most challenging aspect once arriving in a destination. It is difficult and time consuming to decipher which experience to prioritise and it can be hard not to fall into the trap of following the crowd and doing a standard trip. We often lust after different experiences, to make connections as we travel. We love meeting local people and getting their take on what the highlights are of their town. They are often more than willing to share the best places to eat, a great shop or place to visit. Our experience in Sicily really highlighted to me how much more there is to what I had thought we would experience.”
A highlight on their recent trip was the adventure experienced. “I never associated Sicily with being an “adventure destination” yet in so many cases it can be!" Brenda states.
Her family enjoyed a day out climbing up to Mount Etna and even exploring the underground lava caves. Then on another day they enjoyed water sports in Acitrezza, jumping off the pier into the sea and sharing some fun whilst learning how to kayak. Another unique experience was the discovery of a cultural farm in Favara. A town of no significance if you were not encouraged to visit, the Cultural Farm Park was designed by a young couple who could see that the next generation of youth in Sicily needed a reason to stay and a place to engage their work passion and creativity. The Cultural Farm is an exhibition site, a meeting place, a communal kitchen used for classes and many other spaces such as restaurants and bars. We also spent a day with tour guide Pierfilippo who lives in a small town of Muxaro and shares with his travellers a true Sicilian day out. We visited a local cheese maker, who still milks the goats twice a day by hand and makes fresh chess for the village. Afterwards we were welcomed to the smell of freshly baked bread by Sicilian baker were treated to an authentic snack of warm bread with oil, pepper, salt and orgeno. After filling our bellies we walked around a peach farm learning how to pick the perfect peach (and of course eating peaches soaked in wine!)
“Our children loved each experience too, their favourite being riding in a tuk-tuk around Ortigia and making chocolate at the factory in Modica. What families often can struggle with is keeping everyone happy, and there is just so much to do in Sicily were were thrilled at what was on offer for us. This is the way Australian families love to travel - all in enjoying each moment and each experience. The accommodation chosen for us was also perfect for families. At one farm stay, the owners had bikes the children could ride around in the afternoon, and for dinner, the host would have us in their home for a big communal dinner cooked her and her mother. At each experience we made connections with local businesses, they welcomed us like dear friends and it made our time so memorable.” Brenda reflects.
Sicily is so much more than great cannoli and fabulous beaches. To immerse in the culture, the landscape, adventure, art and of course the locals is a way to really understand Sicily.
To learn more about Our Family Travels and their journey in Sicily visit www.ourfamilytravels.com.au
Brenda and her family toured Sicily on a self-drive tour.
For more information about Wanderjack visit