Shops and markets

What to buy in Sicily.

All the most well-known fashion designer shops can be found in the larger cities ( such as Palermo, Catania and Syracuse),

togheter with smart chain stores stocking household articles and forniture.

Ortygia's market

In tourist resorts it is possible to find shops specializing in Sicilian handicrafts,

in particular ceramics, although the best items are sold in the places where they are made .

Sicilian pastry shops sell delicious cakes, cannoli pastries, cassata cakes.

Keep an eye out for the delicatessens selling local specialties, such as spiced capers, tuna in oil, tuna salted mullet roe ( bottarga ) and eggplants caponata. You can also buy excellent produce sach as organic fruit, olive oil, honey and fruit jam at farmhouses offering accomodation for visitors.

Another good purchase is salt. Marzipan fruit will last up to three months.

You can also order them directly from the producers, who will send them to your home address.

What to buy in Sicily:

In general, Sicilian artisans now concentrate on ceramics and lava stone products. The prices are by no means low, but the objects are often beautifully handcrafted.

Cannoli Siciliani

However, historically, the most classic creations are the traditional Sicilian rod puppets and carts. They have become rarities because there are so few people left who know how to make and repair them.

Some shops often drab reproductions for tourists.

When it comes to food and wine Sicily excels:

citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit ripen well in the sunny climate, and you can buy wonderful fruit preserves, wine, nougat, almond paste sweets (candies)

and Sicilian pastries such as cannoli and cassata.

Sicilian confectionery Buy cannoli and cassata just before going back home they should be eaten within 12 hours.

Citrus fruit – Delicius tangerines, blood and nowel oranges, grapefruit, lemons and mandarins – superior to those sold elsewhere in Italy – can be purchased in any market.

Wine – Buy sweet Malvasia from Lipari,

sweet Passito wine from Pantelleria, Nero D’Avola from Noto and dry red or white Corvo from Salaparuta or Bianco d’Alcamo. Buy directly from the producers or wine shops, which also provide shipment to an onwards destination.

Tuna and vegetables in oilTuna fillets, salted mullet roe ,

spiced capers in extra olive oil , eggplants in oil , spiced black olives and chilli pepper

are regional specialities that can be purchased in leading Sicilian delicatessens.

Olive oil – The best comes from the valle del Belice, it is heavy, almost salty, with a peppery flavour.

Ragusa oil is green and fragrant, and Taormina oil is more delicate.

Preserves and honey – Organic fruit jams, prepared on the spot in the ” agritourist” farms, have an unmistakable flavour.

The fragrant and rare orange and lemon blossom honey also has therapeutic properties.


Sicilian ceramics

This is probably the most highly appreciated handcrafts product of Sicily of all.

Light blue,

yellow and green are the dominant colours in the lovely ceramics made in Caltagirone,

they are richly decorated with volutes,

flowers and geometric motifs,

You can purchase vases, jugs,plates,mugs and jars.

Terracotta plaques with house numbers are also very much in demand.

In the ceramics made in Sciacca – less famous but just as lovely as those from Caltagirone – the lemon is the prevaling decorative motif.

Tiles also come

in a variety of styles.

The multicoloured majolica tiles bears 19°- century

motifs and can be used for floors or simply as decorative objects to be set on an elegant table.

Carts – Once used to transport heavy loads, traditional Sicilian Carts – covered with paintings of religious or historical scenes – are now purely decorative objects.

There are very few original left, and sadly this ancient , noble craft is dying out.

Jew’s harp – this typical musical instrument consist of an iron frame in the shape of a lyre around a thin flexible metal tongue

that produces the sound.

Traditional Sicilian puppets – The armoured knights errant and the Saracens with round shields and turbans are characters from the puppet plays about Charlemagne.

This small masterpieces can be purchased at the few puppet makers workshops or in antique shops.