It seems to me Mount Etna is at the heart of Sicily and its food
Taormina is completely inaccessible by cars. If you are touring independently, you will come to a very large car park on your way up - park there and take the stairs up to the town. Or you can take the tour buses that will transport you to the town walls.
The amphitheatre is at the end of a steep ‘high street’. On a clear day you get amazing views of the Naxos Bay and Etna.
You can also get lovely views from the main piazza, but it will be crowded and you may have to wait for a while to get a clear shot.
Cannoli are synonymous with Sicily. They are made from a pastry shell and stuffed with a sweet creamy filling of ricotta. Every family on the island has their own recipe. In Taormina, everyone makes a beeline for Laboratorio Pasticceria Roberto, where the lovely Roberto and his son whip up these sweet treats fresh every day.
The pretty town of Savoca is in fact the town of Corleone in the Godfather films. The bar where Michael asks for Apollonia's hand in marriage is Bar Vitelli, and coach-loads of tourists make a pilgrimage there every day. Run now by Nucha and Lorenzo, they serve simple salads and paninos, chased down by copious amounts of granita made by the original granita machine that churned it out for the film’s director Francis Ford Coppola, and the crew.
A bonus tip for the incredible Mount Etna itself! You can see it from everywhere on the east side of the island. To visit, take a guided tour up, or don your hiking boots and go it alone (taking the usual precautions). Remember to wrap up warm!
Gino finishes his food odyssey of Sicily with a bang!
In the pretty town of Taormina, Gino learns how to make cannoli - Sicily's most famous sweet.
Gino climbs the craters of Mount Etna and tastes Etna fire water, a fiery tipple with a recipe that's stayed the same for centuries.
Gino then makes a personal pilgrimage to the town of Savoca, the setting of Corleone in The Godfather, which just so happens to be his favourite film of all time! Here he meets the owner, shares a world famous granita, and ends his magical journey by cooking on the terrace of this infamous bar.
How did he do that? Well, he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse!
Watch Gino's Italian Escape, 8pm Friday 1 January 2016.
Sicily has a lot of kick when it comes to culture and cuisine
In this episode Gino celebrates some of Sicily’s best-known products – chocolate, cannoli and citrus fruit – against a backdrop of some of Sicily’s most striking vistas.
Gino heads south to the tip of Sicily to a town that has been the home of Sicilian chocolate-making for the last 400 years – Modica.
Gino tastes some classic Modica chocolate and learns what it is that makes this unique treat so special, before sampling a classic Modica biscuit… beef and chocolate. One to remember!
The temples of Agrigento are really impressive, but incredibly hot as they are completely unsheltered. Don't forget your umbrella for shade, comfortable shoes for walking between the temples and lots of water.
The towns of Ragusa, Siracusa, Modica and Noto are listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site as the Val di noto. They are STUNNING. Take your time to explore and make sure you have enough room on your camera to take plenty of snaps.
Modica is known as the home of chocolate in Sicily, with a unique taste of its own. Trust us, try it and then stock up.
The hit Italian detective series Inspector Montalbano is filmed in and around the towns listed above. You never know, you might find yourself on camera!
If you visit Noto, then you have to pop in to Caffe Sicilia run by Corrado Assenza, especially if you've got a sweet tooth. Corrado tries innovative flavours and combinations you might not try at home - a treat for the taste buds!
Gino continues his journey around the exquisite island of Sicily, discovering how Sicily's history has influenced the food eaten and the ingredients used.
Crossing the island, Gino takes in the beautiful baroque towns of Noto and Modica and learns about chocolate and cassada.
Past the temples of Agrigento, Gino makes his way up the foothills of the mighty Mount Etna to Sicily's lemon riviera.
What better setting than a Sicilian lemon grove to make a sumptuous lemon risotto? Gino makes the most of beautiful local ingredients to create an amazing fresh risotto.
Watch Gino's Italian Escape, 8pm Friday 11 December.