Many years ago, before I met Scott, I befriended an Italian boy while traveling in Taormina, Sicily who insisted he take me to dinner. I wasn’t interested in this boy romantically, but since I was traveling through Europe alone, a dinner with a new friend is a welcome surprise any night. Little did I know, I was in for quite a different type of surprise.
Antoniu, my date, insisted we go to a beautiful village perched above Taormina, called Castelmola. We arrived at Bar di Turrisi, a three-story ancient restaurant/bar which dates back to 1947 and has been passed from generation to generation.
As I entered the ristorante, my eyes had to adjust slightly to the dim lighting. The room was crowded with Sicilians enjoying their food and drinks. Antoniu spoke to one of the staff members of the bar in Sicilian and before I knew it we were being led up a winding staircase to a table on the rooftop with stunning views of the coast and Mount Etna.
As we walked through the restaurant, I did a double take once I realized the decor that covered every inch of the place. Phallus images of every size, shape and color are placed on counter-tops, carved into stair hand railings and chairs, hung on the walls and drawn on the menus. You can even wash your hands under a faucet shaped like a male member when you use the bathroom.
The decoration decisions of Bar di Turrisi did not come about because the owners are sex-addicts. Instead, there is actually some meaning behind it. The phallic decor symbolizes fertility. To quote the owner of the bar, “Having had three sons within five years, there was one particular symbol that could represent it all.” Amen, brother.
After you are done going photo crazy so you can show all your friends what a weird place you visited in Sicily, don’t forget to try the local specialty of almond flavored wine. Their pasta dishes are delicious too.
It is said that Castelmola is rarely visited by non-Sicilians, so I felt lucky to have visited such a unique place.
Have you visited an interesting place like this during your travels?