If you’re planning a destination wedding to Sicily then look no further. This is the third instalment of our four part pocket guide, focusing on Sicily’s western coast.
Charming, sun-drenched, complicated and utterly romantic. Sicily is a fascinating place which as a consequence, is bursting the tourists during the summer months but the Egadi islands still remain relatively unknown to outsiders. Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo are the three archipelagos on the western coast of Sicily near the cities of Trapani and Marsala and are utterly hypnotic. Complete with mesmerising blue seas, jaw-dropping caves in the water and rocky clifftops, the three islands off Sicily give you that dose of the Caribbean, essential for any destination wedding.
We had a chat with Francesco Siro, a filmmaker who spoke candidly about how to encapsulate all the intoxicating aromas to make a wedding as authentically Sicilian as possible.
Can you describe exactly what you do?
I am a Sicilian filmmaker, for almost 20 years I have been dealing with the audiovisual sector in practically all of its variations: documentaries, commercials, promos, trailers, short films and of course weddings. I love experimentation, telling a story on several levels, any type of story; the emotional side remains for the most part the most fascinating but for it to really work you need to open up and feel certain emotions about yourself. A kind of empathy often sustained by the music I choose for the couple.
How long have you been in the wedding sector?
I was lucky, my first teacher was Michele Fundarò, a photographer with an important history behind him. He was critical in guiding me through those crucial first steps. His weddings were always elegant. His most important rule was discretion. The light had to be as natural as possible, without various artifices or “field” invasions. Almost twenty years ago this approach was revolutionary and over the years words like wedding reportage, documentary wedding etc have been created. After a long break from wedding reportage, I started a new collaboration with my friend and colleague Giuseppe Renda . It was his style that pushed me back into this sector. His approach actually reminded me a lot of my previous teacher.
Why should people choose Sicily as a destination wedding?
Well! Sicily has increasingly attracted the attention of major film productions, a destination for VIPs and fashion campaigns based on its cultural identity so it can only be an ideal location for such an occasion.
Can you explain what a Sicilian wedding entails?
Getting married in Sicily gives you great freedom. With very short distances you can reach completely different places. In Sicily it is very easy to find a wide variety of high quality food and specialties. In reality, every city or town of this unique land has its own typical food and wine, so varied is the choice that even a Sicilian hardly knows all the typical dishes of the region. Everything must start from an initial vision, perhaps choosing a theme for the event will help but I believe only at the beginning of the design.
What are the questions a couple should ask you?
I think it’s important to have clarity about my work style. What I have been doing and continuing to do for many years is to report an authentic story, certainly from a romantic and lighting point of view.
I like to get to know the couple during the day, to observe the emotions on their faces. Perhaps this is what drives me to create something unique at every wedding, the ability to get involved and be infected by their happiness. The questions can be different. I think that the couple should imagine their beautiful day little by little, visualising it, then write everything down that hides any doubts or problems about this carrying out. In Sicily, solutions are never lacking, after all our history testifies to a truly unique ability to adapt! Just think of the thirteen dominations over the centuries.
What is the best month to get married in Sicily?
I love soft light. I believe that from mid-September then all of October is a wonderful time. From mid-April, May and June also an excellent time.These are phases characterised by a pleasant temperature, the possibility of being at the sea or on the island without too much confusion, a beautiful time to appreciate everything with serenity. It goes without saying that in summer all that energy and desire for a party typical of the months of August and July is released. Here are choices that the couple could make by imagining the number of guests. You have to understand if they are the type to relax or like to party on a boat!
What are they key elements in making a wedding as authentically Sicilian as possible?
I believe choosing the right wedding planner or the right contact person is a fundamental thing. I recently worked with the wedding planner Gabriella Desogus, her search for details and the taste for delicate and refined visions certainly gives a unique note to the event. From this point of view I leave the images to judge. Key elements are also contact with nature, flavours and with people. An authentic Sicilian is by nature hospitable and basically wants to leave a good memory of himself and his land. Wine tastings are excellent as is the choice of fish directly from the fishing boats in the port. Certainly try local specialties and the freshness of the products.
Which are the best hotels in the surrounding area for the guests to stay?
To be honest, I really recommend coming even for a short vacation of a few days. But choosing which atmosphere to make the setting for this special day? You have so many places to choose from. Do you prefer ancient village full of history and old tales with churches and castles? Then it would be Salemi or Mount Erice to create magic. If you prefer Caribbean beaches for moments of pure fun then I suggest San Vito Lo Capo or La Riserva dello Zingaro. Then there are the islands … Favignana offers the opportunity to combine nature and exclusive accommodation to better enjoy the pre and post wedding days. The possibility of touring the island by boat with a fisherman and being told some great story or legend of the place gives you a sense of unity with a world impossible to forget.
My experience leads me to recommend excellence places such as the Tonnara di Scopello, an enchanting place where you can create a truly exclusive event. At Makari – San Vito Lo Capo (where a TV series is currently being filmed) there are several villas recommended for parties or events such as weddings. We are not talking about the magnificent historic villas of Palermo or Catania. In Bagheria just to give an example there is “La Villa dei Mostri,” a location for international conferences, commercials of Dolce and Gabbana and short film by Giuseppe Tornatore. The famous “hall of mirrors” always arouses a sense of amazement. I found myself just this summer at a wedding organised in Marettimo (an archipelago of Egadi) by the artistic director Nicola Noto. Despite the restrictions (due to Covid-19) we made some beautiful shots. Upon leaving the small church we found people at the door, smiling and joyful, this is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of Sicily. After all, the trick is always being happy.