We talked to two Milanese sisters with Sicilian roots, who also happen to respectively be the creative director of their mother’s brand, Luisa Beccaria and owner of Sicilian food reality LuBàr: meet Lucilla and Lucrezia Bonaccorsi.
It-girls, Princesses, Businesswomen. Lucilla and Lucrezia Bonaccorsi happen to be many things, but one thing’s for sure – these sisters love celebrating their Italian heritage. Although Milan-based since birth, their foundations, however, are rooted in Sicily, in a place where Lucilla also happened to hold her wedding - at their family’s hamlet of Castelluccio. Here, they tell us about South-Eastern Sicily and the places both of them hold in their heart and never seek to abandon.
How does Sicily inform and inspire the work you do for your brand?
Lucilla: In Sicily, I have my roots. It’s a constant inspiration for my work. From the beauty of nature, the colours, the contrasts of land and sea.
What do you love the most about Sicily? Why do you feel so connected to this marvellous land?
The light, nature, the people and the food! We are half Sicilian! Our father comes from this amazing island. We love spending some time here during the year with our family and friends and disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
What are your favourite places? Where would you suggest we start for an on-the-road tour of Sicily?
Our favourite part of Sicily is the South East, where our father is from and where we spend our time.
First up, if you land in Catania, is, of course, a visit to the town. Our favourite places in town are the always bustling fish market, the Duomo, which is dedicated to Saint’Agatha (also known as Cathedral of Saint Agatha) and Osteria Antica Marina for the freshest fish in town.
Next up, is, of course, Siracusa: You should stay or pay a visit to Ortigia (which is the old town) and then visit the Piazza del Duomo, which happens to be one of my favourite squares in Italy. For an absolutely exquisite experience? Take your car and drive 30 minutes away from Siracusa to eat at I Rizzari, in Brucoli (a hamlet near Augusta). You’ll be having lunch or dinner at a beach-shack-inspired trattoria, its waterside deck offering views of Mt Etna.
Close by is Noto, one of the most beautiful baroque small towns in Southern Eastern Sicily. There are so many beautiful palazzos in Noto, and most often, you are able to visit all of the courtyards of them, when wandering around. One of these is Palazzo Castelluccio - which although is private property, it can now be visited by tourists who will be able to mount the double staircase and tour the piano nobile by appointment. You should also take a walk to Ancient Noto, which is located in the midst of nature. You’ll find remnants of a Greek theater, and more. Ancient Noto is where the old town stood before the earthquake destroyed it. Made known by Chef’s Table is, of course, Corrado Assenza’s Caffè Sicilia, the family-owned bakery and coffee which happens to make the best granite in town. Close by, is the Oasi di Vendicari, a natural reserve known for its tranquil and picturesque walking trails on the beach.
Nearby, you’ll also find Marzamemi, a beautiful seaside village in the province of Syracuse, a few kilometres away from Pachino and Noto. It rises and develops entirely on the sea. Its birth dates back to the year one thousand when the Arabs built here the Tonnara, which for many centuries was the main of the whole of Eastern Sicily. This beautiful Borgo Marinaro, however, as it seems to us dates back to the 1700s when the Villadorata Family, modified the Tonnara expanding its spaces, building the church of St. Francis of Paola, and the fishermen's houses. In the main square, you’ll also find one of our favourite restaurants, La Cialoma.
Two other beautiful little towns to visit are Modica and Scicli. Modica is of course known for its world-famous artisanal chocolate. Where to buy the best chocolate though? At Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, of course. Opened in 1880, it has been brought forth by six generations of chocolatiers and confectioners with a passion for their land of origin.
Do you have any suggestions on where we should stay?
Iuta Farm, a beautiful glamour camping with luxury lodges that just opened near Noto. Or you could also consider renting out one of our houses in the natural reserve of Vendicari.
Sicily is known for its cross-pollination of cultures and histories, where to go for a dose of historical and artistic inspiration?
Ortigia, Noto and Ragusa. All three towns are particular in their very own way, but the beautiful aspect that all three have in common is the fact that you can get lost in its tiny alleys and visit all of the courtyards of beautiful baroque palazzos and ancient churches. We already talked about Ortigia and Noto, and Ragusa, like Noto, has two souls: a modern aspect and the ancient Ibla, its Baroque lounge. Like Noto, Ragusa experienced an earthquake, therefore, moved its modern counterpart away from the hilltop where its ancient town was located.
You got married at il Feudo di Castelluccio, can you tell us what’s special about it and its surrounding area?
Lucilla: Feudo del Castelluccio is our family beloved residence on a hilltop near Noto. It's a sort of an eighteenth-century castle with its bans, houses, various gardens and it also happens to be a church (where I got married).
My parents started its resurrection when we were ten years old and turned a collapsing estate into what is now a very special and unique place!
The most authentic experience to absolutely do?
If you happen to go in August, you should definitely stay and see San Sebastiano celebrated at Palazzolo Acreide. It’s a celebration of the Saint of this small village which usually happens in January, but is replicated the 9th and 10th of August and lasts for ten days. A mix of tradition and folklore, our favourite part of the celebration is watching a series of loud explosions which are accompanied by violent sprays of “nzarredi"colored paper ribbons.