Brucoli: A Secret Fishing Village in South-Eastern Sicily

Tonight, we take a special journey….super special for me because it is here, in this idyllic and, almost secret {no longer, since I’m sharing it with you} fishing village of Brucoli that my maternal grandparents were born.  Half of my family story begins here 95 + years ago.  Originally named Trotilon {Greek for “caves” or “grottos”}, Brucoli or Auruca in our dialect, was one of the first Greek colonies created in all of Sicily.  A few historical traces can be found in the Canale showcasing Neolithic and Prehistoric grottos used during World War II to give birth to children, or hide from the bombing, or simply as storage for fishermen.  My grandfather was a fisherman….One of my aunts was born in one of these very grottos, I know which one….The Castello was built in 1467 by King John II of Aragon as a gift to Queen Giovanna.  It was built to protect the village from the invasions of Saracen pirates and to defend the entire territory in general.  The area of the Gisira was often used as a refuge for persecuted Christians during the Roman empire.  The small church-monastery found here was built in the 17th century as a center for meditation and spiritual retreat.  This religious community still exists today and is populated by a father, some of his fellow monks and pilgrim communities that pay homage to the site a few times a year.  Here you will still find a painting of the Mater Adonai {Mother of God} on the wall - in the past other saints were depicted, Saint Alfio, Saint Cirino, Saint Filadelfo – these have unfortunately disappeared due to the natural erosion of the rocks.  The village is an oasis of peace and tranquility, comprised of literally three streets with one church, La Chiesa di San Nicola, one pharmacy, one post office, one small bottega selling necessities, a few boutique restaurants with a breathtaking view of the Bay of Brucoli and Mt Etna in the distance serving incredible homemade seafood feasts that narrate centuries old family recipes.  Every four years, the Festa di San Nicola takes place in summer – the saint is celebrated and carried on a master ship that travels around the entire village followed by smaller boats filled with entire families of devotees.  It is one of the most beautiful spiritual and maritime feasts I have ever witnessed.  The feast took place this year and so it will again in 2018.  If you are looking for off the beaten path destinations in Sicily to explore and rest your mind and spirit, then Brucoli will certainly provide the invigoration and detoxification you desire.   In a few days, Italians will celebrate “Ferragosto” {religiously the Feast of the Assumption} mostly lived as a national holiday where the entire country shuts down and begins summer vacations – primarily on beaches throughout Italy.  Whether you are in Italy or not, hope you are taking some time off to enjoy the last few drips of summer…….a presto, Francesca

Brucoli:  secret fishing hamlet in South Eastern Sicily  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Brucoli: secret fishing hamlet in South Eastern Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Chiesa di San Nicola, Brucoli, Sicily  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Chiesa di San Nicola, Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Case/Homes in Brucoli, Sicily   {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Case/Homes in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

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Family owned fish markets in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Family owned boutiques in Brucoli, Sicily  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Family owned boutiques in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Hand painted frescoes in Brucoli, Sicily   {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Hand painted frescoes in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Maritime details in Brucoli, Sicily  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Maritime details in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Seafood boutique restaurants in Brucoli, Sicily  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Seafood boutique restaurants in Brucoli, Sicily {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

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