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After a trip to the Italian island of Sicily, you are sure to want a keepsake (or two) to remember your time spent lounging on breathtaking beaches, dining on fine cuisine and admiring historic places. We have discovered some of the most unique souvenirs to buy for yourself or to give as gifts to friends and family.
These one of a kind handcrafted baskets will add a pop of color and flair to your daily shopping. Straw baskets are decorated with a range of colorful pom poms, brass trinkets, painted designs and mirrors in styles that range from simple monochromes to multicolored baroque. Pick a tiny one to use as a cocktail party purse or a larger size for a unique beach or farmer’s market bag.
There are two active volcanos in Sicily: Mount Etna near the city of Catania and the smaller and showier Stromboli, one of the Aeolian islands. Many Sicilian streets are paved with large flat volcanic stones and buildings also use the thick heavy stone cut into bricks. Everywhere in Sicily you will find items made from dark gray volcanic stone. The range is vast from magnets, to bracelets strung with small round stones, to large decorative bowls and vases.
If your holiday as been all about swimming in the sea and enjoying the beach lifestyle that abounds in Sicily, a perfect souvenir in something made from coral. Jewelry from tiny stud earrings to elaborate necklaces are most of what you will find at fine jewelers and better gift shops, but there are also decorated objects. The colors range from pale pink to deep red and the town of Trapani has the most selection.
Caltagiorone is one of the eight UNESCO protected towns in the beautiful Val de Noto. You will find Sicilian Baroque style swirls here, but the real draw to this particular town is the brightly decorated pottery. You will likely have a difficult time choosing from the variety of patterns painted on full sets of plates and bowls, or serving pieces or large urns and tabletops.
Sicilian puppet theater known as Opera dei Pupi in Italian has been a popular form of entertainment since the 19th century. The cities of Catania and Palermo have the strongest history and traditions. The puppets from Catania are much larger in size than the ones made in Palermo. You will find a range of quality in shops all over Palermo from highly decorated and meticulously crafted items made by local artisans to simpler and less costly designs.
This very traditional design has recently had a hipster revival. For years, the cap had a Mafia connotation but Sicilians decided to reclaim the style as their own and now more millenniums than nonnos (grandfathers) are wearing this simple style. Handmade in Palermo primarily from wool tweed fabrics or lighter summer versions in cotton, make your own statement with this unique style item.
Recreate some of the delicious meals that you experienced with pasta from the source. Look for the Libera Terra label and you will know that the pasta you are buying comes from land that has been confiscated from the Mafia and benefits the local communities.
A case or two of Sicilian wine will bring back memories of sun soaked says relaxing in a piazza with a glass of wine. Sicily has been cultivating grapes since at least 1,500 BC, so you are assured that there is a long history in your glass. There are 23 DOC zones on the island producing wines like the well known Marsala and Syrah, to lesser known varietals including Etna Rosso and Nero d’Avola. From large producers like Tasca d’Amanita, to smaller operations like COS which produces natural wines, there is something for every taste.
Even if you are visiting Sicily in the hottest summer months, you can fill your suitcase with bars of Monica style chocolate with no worries about it melting into a goopy mess. This very particular style of chocolate has Aztec roots and is made from grinding cocoa beans and sugar into a fine paste. Flavors like cinnamon, citrus or coffee are sometimes added. The bars are wrapped in beautifully designed paper so they make very easy ready to give gifts.
The glass cases in pastry shops all over Sicily are filled with intricate edible sculptures. Made from almond last and completely edible, Martorana is usually crafted into very realistic fruits and vegetables like lemons, cherries and the island’s ubiquitous prickly pears. You will also see designs that trick the eye like mortadella sandwiches and shrimp that are almost impossible to tell from the real thing. An expertly wrapped tray of these sweet treats is sure to start a conversation at the end of a dinner party.