Sicily - Sunflower Landscapes
by Peter Amann
Sunflower, London 20093
Pocketbook: 136 pages. 80 colour photographs, 33 walking maps and a pull-out touring map.
"This book helps you discover a land of extremes: Mountains, active volcanoes, secluded beaches, ancient temples, medieval towns, and small islands. This is the definitive guide to walking and the walks are described with great accuracy. The walks described on Etna are breathtaking, as is the walk on the volcanic Aeolian island of Vulcano. Famous Taormina is a good base for doing the Monte Venere walk. Even medieval Cefalu is also a good base for the walk to La Rocca. Anyway thanks to this book there is always something different to explore." Karl David Agius from Malta on amazon.com, April 13, 2009
"I lived in Sicily for 3 years as a military wife. I've purchased many books on Sicily, most tell of it's history or hotel recommendations which are great for tourists or first time readers but I wanted more. I found this book during my last year there. What a great book for showing me places I never heard about or would have found on my own. I wish I had found it sooner. Most of my favorite memories were on hikes with my family that I found with this book!
Sunflower Landscapes have a simple easy layout to follow. The first half of the book is for recommeneded beautiful drives and great picnic opportunities through small towns and panoramic coastal vistas. Many of these car tours are great ways to discover remote towns or parks off the beaten path. The book is set up very well and ordered with a pull out map at the back corresponding to numbered drives and hikes. They are also grouped according to region. This is all helpful to link up car tours with hikes in the area, the second half of the book. The hikes are well detailed with a small photo, difficulty level, distance, elevation gain, and a topographical map as well for that particular walk. Levels vary from easy family hikes to experienced only hikes. However with all this information the book manages not to get bogged down. It's slim and easy to carry and navigate with. Finding some of the locations was a challenge but I don't blame the book. Sicilians aren't big into their parks or hiking. You are truly off the beaten path. Many times we were the only ones out there along with a few farm animals which was fantastic!
Sicily is also rightfully well known for their greek historical ruins. Many hikes/car tours incorporate these spots which means you won't miss a thing. There are usually a few different hiking level options around these historical points of interest giving you a view you wouldn't have had otherwise.
For a first time visitor to the island only wishing to spend a week or so seeing the sights, I would first recommend a good well known guide book. This book would serve primarily to compliment your guide book. For example in the well visited coastal town of Cefalu there is a hike that takes you to the top of the mountain and castle ruins that towers the city. I had wanted to visit this town many times. However if I had visited it before I had this book I never would have known about the hike and my experience would not have been as wonderful.
For someone who truly wants to explore the natural beauty of this rustic island, this is a great book!
We are moving back and I can't wait to explore even more Sicily with this great book! This may sound corny, but I honestly felt I had stumbled on a secret when I found this book. Finally I could experience Sicily in another way outside of it's well known towns/cities, food, and shopping.
I've tried many travel books and have found format and interest crucial to the success of the book. I loved the simple well organized layout of the Sicily book so much I've bought a few other Sunflower Landscape books. I used the Ireland and Scottish Highland books and found them great as well. The hikes weren't as difficult to find as hiking is much more established in those countries.
Overall, I found the Sunflower Landscape series make excellent companions to any guide book." ***** Monica (CA) on amazon.com, July 19, 2007
"Outstanding, best walking guide I have used in 20 years! This book is a model of its genre
a) walks are fabulous and unknown
b) well spaced around the island
c) directions are concise, pinpoint accurate and up to date
d) great maps, this is a stand alone
e) contextual info (hotels, restaurants) is valuably opinionated
f) it fits in your pocket and survives dowsing in Madonie downpours
Hope the rest of the series are this good!" ***** reader on amazon.co.uk, June 24, 2001
"Good old Sunflowers, those thin blue books that walkers on the Continent trust like seasoned friends from Sicily to the Azores - they never fail to find you a really good walk." Christopher Somerville, Weekend Telegraph
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and long a Mecca for culture freaks. Sicily also rewards the countryside lover with its magnificent landscapes. Peter Amann knows the island intimately; he leads walking groups on Sicily and works for the preservation of its national monuments. As an alternative to the stress of simply 'doing' all the sites, he invites you to savour the landscape at leisure. Thus there is enough material in this book for several holidays. The eight car tours (mostly circular and covering 2000km) follow little-used secondary roads wherever possible and, while taking in all the major sights and sites, also allow motorists to see landscapes well off the beaten track. A fold-out touring map shows all the car touring routes. The walks - a distillation of the best on the island - are as varied in length and grade as the landscape itself; there are routes to suit all ages and abilities. Most of the walks are along old farming tracks, stone-laid mule trails and shepherds' paths. Each is accompanied by an up-to-date topographical map, but the author also suggests where you can find other maps, many of which are available free. Finally, for those who like al fresco dining, there is also a selection of picnic suggestions - ranging from 'official' sites with barbecues to idyllic spots near walking routes. Update service. © amazon.de
Peter Amann has written several books about Sicily, the Aeolian Islands and all the regions in Southern Italy (Apulia, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria). His photographs are widely published.