There is another Sicily that often remains hidden behind bright marzipan sweets, sunny beaches and Baroque opulence. The real, vulnerable Sicily, and it is there to see if you care to look closer, if you are ready to help its people to shed the burden of the dark past. I have spoken already about travelling responsibly on the island and making sure that your money does not support businesses with connections to the Sicilian mafia. I wrote about a mafia-free beach, restaurants that say “no” to mafia, a tour of Palermo with “Addiopizzo”.
How about staying at a farm seized from the Mafia? Libera Terra is a large organisation that unites groups and people who are involved in establishing cooperative farms and return of confiscated land to the locals. It offers fantastic holidays in beautiful locations for those who want to explore Western Sicily and support the growing anti-mafia movement. With Libera tours you can see Palermo, Corleone, Cinisi, Bagheria, Cefalù, meet the people who are showing by their example that lawful dignified life and business are possible in Sicily. Tours last from one to 5 days and prices start from 22 euro.Libera Terra manages a few agriturismi south of Palermo, so if you prefer travelling independently, you can stay in their simple comfortable rooms. Terre di Corleone sits in a beautiful area between the town of Corleone and the Bosco della Ficuzza Natural Reserve. The estate used to be owned by Salvatore Riina, the most powerful mafia man in the 80s. In 1993, he was arrested, after 23 years on the run. The farm’s restaurant serves typical local dishes made with the farm’s organic produce. Room prices start at €45.
Portella della Ginestra farm is located on the outskirts of a small village of San Giuseppe Jato. In the late 90s the Italian police arrested Giovanni Brusca here, a member of Sicilian Mafia, who killed a judge and, as he confessed, one or two hundreds of other people opposed to the organised crime. The farm employs locals and produces organic wine lentils and pasta. Brusca’s farmhouse has been transformed into an agrturismo with three lovely rooms that have views over the sprawling vineyards and fields of fragrant wild fennel.The locals in the area do not like talking about the Mafia. Many families here have lost their loved ones to the violent and ruthless criminals and the memories are still raw. But the anti-mafia movement is going from strength to strength, and you can help it.
Photos by: Libera, Agriturismo Portella della Ginestra, Terre di Corleone.