Heavenly Baglio Fastuchera: Enriching quiet in Sicily

LUMINOSITYITALIA

Framed by expansive skies and clear starlight nights, Baglio Fastuchera just five kilometers from downtown Alcamo offers a haven for trekkers, travelers and families enjoying the warmth of Sicilian hospitality.

Set around a traditional rustic piazza, the baglio, a typical Sicilian countryside inn, welcomes guest to the time-honored richness of Sicily’s land, cuisine and customs. Owners Maria Stella Campo and her husband Antonio Dara provide the welcoming attitude, service and cultural context that ensures each stay is both serene and memorable.
Baglio Fastuchera, Sicily
Surrounded by the Mediterranean maquis, Baglio Fastuchera offers a haven for trekkers, travelers and families enjoying the warmth of Sicilian hospitality.

An 18th century courtyard complex has been converted with six rooms that accommodate visitors exploring this part of western Sicily. Its very name resonates with history – Fastuchera is derived from the Arab word for pistachio nuts, witness to one of the many peoples who settled these lands.

Today the inn provides locally sourced foods, each in its prime season, prepared by Stella along with deep knowledge of the land, history and surroundings imparted by Antonio, a former teacher of natural science.

Guests come from across the globe on their exploration of stunning Sicily. They arrive from other countries in Europe as well as the US, New Zealand, Japan and Israel. Stella, a former English teacher, is easily able to converse and accommodate their requests.

“We traveled a lot all over the world, eager to know about other cultures,” Stella recalls. “Our dream was to offer hospitality to travelers. We decided to transform the property owned by Antonio’s grandfather into a country inn.”

The 600-square-meter building is fully modernized, but retains furnishings from another time, the legacy from generations of family. Objects collected in their global travels add to the ambience.

“It is absolutely Sicilian style in furnishing and environment,” says Stella.

The inn is also in a strategic position, at an intersection of sun, sea and spirit. Along the Franciscan route traveled by trekkers as they hike and take shelter in monasteries in the region, Baglio Fastuchera is part of the “Cammini Francescani in Sicilia”, a nature and spirituality project.

The harbor and beaches of Castellammare del Golfo are just a 20 minute drive, while the outstanding archeological site of Segesta and its ancient hot springs are about 10 km from Alcamo, which itself has its own marina and beach.
Near Alcamo Sicily
Strategic position at an intersection of sun, sea and spirit.

“Baglio Fastuchera is a place where you reach quiet,” Stella adds. “Where you regenerate the body and also the spirit.”

And the night sky might be the most enchanting of all. Far from urban lights in an arid climate, the inn set at 350 meters above sea level has a front seat to the full panoply of the Milky Way. Antonio even has a telescope and offers a guide to the stars as guest wonder at the incredible show.

Because this is Sicily, the wine and cuisine are also heavenly. “I love typical Sicilian cuisine,” says Stella. “We use the best local production according to season.” She only cooks with the extra virgin olive oil made at Baglio Fastuchera. Rounding out the rich, varied meals are characteristic wines from Alcamo along with local cheeses and breads.

Stella reveals the secret recipe of her delicious busiata, a local pasta in aromatic Fastuchera sauce:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the busiata. Separately, combine abundant basil, almonds, a little bit of garlic, salt and olive oil in a blender and puree the ingredients. In a pan, place olive oil and pachino tomatoes, add salt and pepper, and cook for a minute.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the Fastuchera pesto to the tomato sauce. Finish with Sicilian pecorino cheese, pine nuts and, if you like, fresh cream as well.

Many of Stella guests work up a healthy appetite by hiking the Franciscan routes. Alcamo is rich in Franciscan churches and monasteries, and Baglio Frastuchera is the official country inn in the area that welcomes spiritual travelers.

Beato Arcangelo, a Franciscan friar and preacher in the 14th century, today venerated as Blessed, lived and died in Alcamo. A religious route of particular naturalistic and tourist appeal connects the convent of Saint Maria del Gesù dei Frati Minori in Alcamo with the Sanctuary Church of Maria Santissima di Giubino in Calatafimi, Beato Arcangelo’s birthplace. The pilgrimage can be “travelled by foot, by bike or on a horse”, says Stella.
Alcamo
Fully modern, but retaining the legacy from generations of family.

Some of Stella and Antonio’s guests also love to hike the countryside that surrounds the baglio, an area dotted with oak and olive trees as well as abundant vineyards. It is exciting traversing the Mediterranean maquis.

Behind Baglio Fastuchera is the Alcamo Forest on 800-meter-high Mount Bonifato, home to ancient archaeological sites. With his background in natural science, Antonio is keen to provide walking tours of the region’s geology, history, flora and fauna.

Alcamo also offers amazing artistic and cultural experiences to travelers in the spirit to enjoy the refined heritage of the area’s palaces, churches, convents and museums. They can find the sculptures, canvases, frescoes and high reliefs of great artists such as Antonello Gagini, Giacomo Serpotta, Pietro Novelli and Guglielmo Borremans, maestros from the past that continue to excite today.

It is also an extraordinary place for lovers of Italian literature. Poet Ciullo d’Alcamo, born in the namesake town in the early 13th century, is considered one of the main exponents of Italian medieval jester poetry. The main piazza downtown, Piazza Ciullo, is dedicated to him, and along with Piazza del Mercato, was refurbished in more a modern interpretation by famed Milanese architect Gae Aulenti in 1996.

In so many ways a sojourn to Baglio Fastuchera is enriching, a patch of heavenly sights, scenery and cuisine set in rural Sicily. It is indeed a place to recharge and get quiet far from the bustle of modern life.