Taking cues
from the local teens

When I think of Italy, after food, fashion and Rome, I think of Vespas.

Scooting around with my Prada satchel and black Gucci sunglasses, sporting a silk top that’s tucked into white jeans, complete with brown leather loafers – my hair is flowing in the wind and a cigarette is hanging off the side of my mouth, my lover is hanging on behind me and we’re off exploring the coast of some remote town. Needless to say, a very specific stereotype needed to be realized during our stay in Sciacca.

Sciacca is on the south coast of Sicily. It’s an ancient fishing village that was renowned for its thermal baths. We chose it because we wanted to look out onto the ocean every morning while sipping our espressos without paying a premium. Sciacca is also a great base to explore from. Sicily has been ruled by just about every ancient power that there is so much history steeped in every rock. We ignored the history (that’s what Rome is for!) and took a page out of the local teens playbook, and rented a vespa to scoot around the city on.

We walked up a number of hills from the port into town and rented a white 125 cc vespa. After the rental lady laughed at us for looking like a circus duo on a miniature bike, and several attempts at starting and launching the thing, we were off through the busy city centre. 

We head out of town to San Marco Beach. We zipped past condo buildings, around bends that opened up to vistas of rolling hills and mountains, then past smaller estates and finally into farms that had rows of lemon, orange and olive trees interspersed by cacti and flowers.

The fragrance of ripe lemons, fresh flowers and the salty air was intoxicating.

We zipped down the steepest hill to San Marco Beach. Completely empty likely due to the high winds and it not being hot enough for Italians Andrew and I (the lone Canadians) got down to our speedos and enjoyed the first moment of full body Vitamin D. 

The next day we had to fill up on gas. Knowing Toronto prices all too well, I expected the worst. We chatted with a lovely gas attendant and were charged just under €3 to fill up our tank. We popped across the street to pick up a freshly baked calzone and spinach brioche then scooted to our next destination, the beach of Renelle.

More confident today, we pushed 40 clicks on the vespa.

We sped past what appeared to be a partially finished estate suburb down another series of incredibly steep hills that opened up to a little rocky fishing cove of shallow crystal blue water. Andrew and I enjoyed the near private beach (the only other people were a German (of course) family), checking out the rock formations and sea anemones and spending the afternoon lazing. Swallows were playing, skirting overhead and past the water, while hermit crabs made random trails in the shallow water. It was perfection.

There’s something special about riding on a vespa that words, photos and videos don’t do justice. The feeling of the wind rushing at your chest, sun shining overhead, your lover holding on to your waist and the tandem steering movement of your body and bike. Riding through the country and beach was wonderful and beautiful but the city had its own surprises. I was apprehensive at first but there’s a human flow to the chaotic traffic through narrow one way streets and jumbled round-abouts that you just can’t find in Canada.

Maybe it’s Italy, maybe it’s the fantasy I’ve built up over the years but renting a Vespa and riding through Sicily is the one thing to do.