Baroque and Roll

Published by Evening Standard | By Dipal Acharya

Cycling Along Sicily’s Eastern Coast

Presided over by smoking Mount Etna, with azure waters framing its serpentine coast, Sicily’s east side has long held a charm for tourists. A crucible of ancient cultures — the Greeks, Romans and Arabs all ruled the island at one point or another — its architecture, cuisine and slower pace of life made it the choice summer destination for writers such as D H Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald.

But for the modern-day traveller the summer months can prove a tricky time to visit; touching down in search of la dolce vita they are likely to be met by sizzling (and often unbearable) temperatures and convoys of Fiat 500s kissing each other’s bumpers along the island’s congested roads. Which is why my partner Manu and I decided to swap four wheels for two, embarking on our own version of the Giro, the Italian cycle race that rivals the Tour de France. We were assisted by Butterfield & Robinson, a tour operator that specialises in walking and biking holidays done ‘the slow way’, giving tourists the freedom to take in the island’s beauty and culinary delights at their own pace.

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