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Porticello, by the Tyrrhenian Sea

Posted by Suzanne Turrisi on 29 Feb 2020




The blue waters of the seas, which lap the shores of Sicily are worked by fishermen to bring in fresh seafood hauls.Trawlers and colourful, old wooden boats moor along the shores of the island’s idyllic bays and in the safe waters of  numerous fishing ports.

Seafood lunch, a little library, old villas and boats by the sea

Santa Flavia, one of the lovely old seaside port towns on the Tyrrhenian Sea, made up of the frazioni (areas) of Porticello, Sant’Elia and Solanto), is not far east from Palermo with Bagheria behind it.

When staying in Polizzi Generosa, I like to drive the mountain roads of the Madonie and then take the A19 autostrada to Santa Flavia, to eat the freshest seafood at restaurant Al Faro Verde, (it is a favourite)  tucked in a quiet Tyrrhenian seafront corner at Porticello near the Bay of San Nicolicchia.

Al Faro Verde faces the Tyrrhenian sea across a very large open public space, Largo San Nicolicchia.

To eat lunch, enjoy the seafront and the bay with small passgeways to the point, plus lovely old villas, small houses, a tiny streetside lending library, and colourful old wooden fishing boats all make this a lovely spot for a few hours by the sea.

Boats by the bay of San Nicoliccchia at Porticello.


A row of wooden boats 


Octopus at restaurant Al Faro Verde


Filleted fresh whole fish at Al Faro Verde. 


Villa entry on the bay of San Nicolicchia on the road to Sant'Elia


Old villa by the bay of San Nicolicchia


Street side free library


A small house by the sea


Old wooden Sicilian fishing boats and a patron saint 

The sturdy, colourful fishing boats in bold reds, blues and white, moored on high ground near Al Faro Verde, can be there for repair, a spot for a sleeping cat and the grooves under the rim of the wooden boats are perfect to hold holy cards depicting the revered patron saint of Porticello, Maria SS del Lume- Santa Maria of light.

A reminder of a fisherman’s belief in the protection offered by their patron saint. 

Cat in a boat


Under repair


Holy cards in one of the boats


A street shrine

Shrine dedicated to Porticello's patron saint, 'Maria SS del Lume' (La Madre Santissima del Lume)

And a wall mounted shrine, bordered with tiny lights, dedicated to the patron saint has the words,  La Madre Santissima del Lume written below the faces of cherubs at her feet.

It is another reminder of Sicilians heartening and long-held belief in holy protection and devotion to a patron saint.

Tyrrhenian waters and boats


A port filled with fishing boats.

Porticello, has a protected port where boats and trawlers are safely moored.

In Solanto, the part of Santa Flavia, a little further east of Porticello, there was once a tonnara and a castle. And with all of these fishing boats in its port, Porticello must have a fresh fish market today. 

When I stay in Polizzi this summer I plan to head down to Porticello, Santa Flavia, eat once again at Al Faro Verde, ask about the fish market and go a bit further east to see Solanto.

The port at Porticello, Santa Flavia




The old wooden boats are lovely and are a nod to Sicily's long fishing history in these blue, blue waters.


A note: The festival of the patron saint, La Madre Santissima del Lume (Madonna of the light) is held in early October. Here is a short article about the 2018 festival by Allison Scola from the travel company, Experience Sicily. 






The photos are from 2018 and 2019 

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