Roman ruins from 1,700 years ago have been unearthed in the abbey’s courtyard. It is believed that Greek ruins are also there.
Photo by: Michele Evans
Wanda Tornabene and her daughter Giovanna, have run their restaurant out of the 13th-century abbey Gangivecchio, in Sicily’s Madonie Mountains, since 1978. The Tornabene family has owned the property since 1856 and for about a 100 years it was a summer home and farm. Today, it is a destination for tourists to Sicily, as well as Sicilians. Nestled at the base of a magestic mountain, the ancient abbey and surrounding land invite visitors to explore and enjoy the bounty of the island. The family also runs a cooking school and inn on the premises.
Wanda and Giovanna’s first book, La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio, won the James Beard Award in 1997 for best Italian cookbook. They followed that up with Sicilian Home Cooking written with Michele Evans,which won another Beard Award in 2002. In 2005, they wrote 100 Ways to be Pasta, written with Carolynn Carreno, was published. The books are replete with stories rich with the atmosphere of the Sicilian countryside. In addition to recipes, the authors share memories of the annual grape harvest, a special Christmas snowstorm, and an illicit trip on a commercial fishing boat, and they tell funny and touching stories of relatives, friends, and pets, both old and new.