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The settings of the Sicilian Inheritance with Jo Piazza

  • Submitted: 23rd June 2024

The settings of the Sicilian Inheritance with Jo Piazza

Get your passports and come with us to meet Jo in Sicily! A transporting novel about a century-old unsolved murder, a disputed inheritance, and a family secret that some will kill to protect . . .

Map of locations in The Sicilian Inheritance

The Sicilian Inheritance Jo Piazza

Map of locations in The Sicilian Inheritance

A pivotal scene of The Sicilian Inheritance takes place at a beachfront restaurant that was inspired by the Tonnara di Scopello on the seaside in Scopello.

It is in this tiny inlet of perfect turquoise ocean surrounded by jagged white cliffs and it is a perfect paradise.

Map of locations in The Sicilian Inheritance

This side of the island is often overlooked in favor of the East Coast which is where White Lotus was filmed. This side is so much more authentic and less crowded with tourists, while being equally as stunning with luxurious hotels with unparalleled views. The luxury boutique property La Tavernetta is just a quick walk down to the Tonnara and beaches.

Zingaro Nature Preserve

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

I have my modern day character Sara exploring the island’s sea cave. To research that I did a boat tour close to Scopello through the Zingaro Nature Preserve in the province of San Vito Lo Capo. You dart in and out of the rocky coastline visiting hidden beaches and grottos.

Caltabellotta

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

The village where my family is from is called Caltabellotta. It is on top of a rock on top of a mountain about thirty minutes inland from the city of Sciacca. This is the village that inspired the town in the book that I call Caltabellessa.

There are old stone homes here (including the original one where my great great grandmother lived). They spill off of the mountain and the cobblestone streets are a narrow maze. There are two incredible restaurants in town with perfect rural Sicilian food, M.A.T.E.S. and Osteria Gulea:

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

A scene from the Sicilian Inheritance is directly inspired by my time at M.A.T.E.S. where they didn’t bring me a menu they just brought whatever they wanted out from the kitchen, pastas, risottos, meats, cheeses, cannoli and wine and we sat there for three hours devouring it all.

Valle dei Templi

Valley of the Temples

Valley of the Temples

Ancient Sicilian history is a huge part of The Sicilian Inheritance. I talk a lot in the book about how many of the Greek myths take place in Sicily. In fact Daedelus is said to be the founder of the village where my family is from. That is why it looks like a labyrinthian maze.

Medusa is even on the Sicilian flag. To dig into the ancient history I visited the temples at Agrigento which are a must.

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

The oldest of the ruins date back to the 6th century BC and they are remarkable. In fact, there are some of the most intact ancient Greek ruins in the entire world. I spent time in Athens studying their ruins and these blew me away. The hotel Villa Athena overlooks the temples and also offers a private entrance to the park so you can skip the lines.

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

Palermo is a city unlike any other. It is a massive melting pot of European, Northern African and Arab culture and it shows in both the food and the architecture. In the book, there are two Palermo adventures (one in the present day and one in 1913).

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

Both start in the Quattro Canti (which is on the cover of the book). It’s the baroque square right in the heart of the historic district of the city. In fact, this octagonal piazza is the best place to start your Palermo visit, ducking in and out of churches, stopping for cannoli and visiting my favorite gift shop in all of Sicily, The Island, for Sicilian themed presents to take home. Opera singers busk in the square all day long and drink carts will sell you an Aperol Spritz to go.

Oh and don’t forget, there is an elegant boutique hotel in a 16th century palace. This puts you right in the middle of the action, Arone di Valentino Palace. It is owned by a baron and baroness who live right upstairs.

Breakfast in their luxurious dining room is to die for with a make your own cannoli bar.

 

Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo

Map of locations in A Sicilian Inheritance

No trip to Palermo would be complete without a visit to the skull-lined Capuchin Catacombs deep below the city. My main character is led on a mysterious journey through them to learn about the fate of her ancestor. These underground corridors of the dead dating back to the 18th century are open for daily tours.

Wow, you fancy heading straight into this book after that great trail?

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: A Sicilian Inheritance

Twitter: @jopiazza

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