The Malta Independent 12 July 2024, Friday
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The sound of serenity

Sunday, 5 May 2024, 08:05 Last update: about 3 months ago

Written by Victor Calleja

If there is one sound which, to me, should accompany serenity, it is the sound of the sea. The susurration, the gentle sound when waves lick the shores, the sand, the rocks, is pure magic.

I went in search of this magic, this tranquillity, and found it at the Adler Spa Resort in Agrigento, Sicily. Walking around the resort you can see vistas of vegetation, cliffs, sea and endless sky. All around, there is a deep sense of peace and silence, punctured by the waves' music. Nature itself invites you to let go of all thoughts, breathe deeply, just relax.

While being pampered at the Adler and awash in a sea of wellbeing, of space, of lushness, of spa treatments fit for royalty, just under an hour away from the resort there is a treasure trove of culture, history and wonderful sights.

Valle dei Templi

Not far from the Adler is the archaeological area of Agrigento, one of the finest monuments of Greek art and culture. Walking around the Doric Temples - Agrigento's renowned Valle dei Templi - I found myself transposed to an age long gone, a classical age.

Even if you aren't into archaeology, history, classicism and architecture, it still feels exhilarating. Walking around the area, admiring and letting the imagination roam - that wonderful internal filmmaker of ours - I felt as if I was in a movie or a Netflix series; but the sights are captivating and real not fictional cardboard props. Then while walking around the remains I imagined, a phalanx of Greek heroes, heroines, sword fights, priests in temples, intrigue. Add on flowing tunics, togas, horses and shops selling wine, people living in these streets and going around just as I was doing, over 2,000 years later. All this while letting fancy flow and seeing Greek gods, goddesses, acting all whimsical, greedy or just plain beautiful.

Sitting grandiosely on a hilltop, dominating most of Agrigento, the seven Greek temples are awe-inspiring. Beyond the temples is a vast expanse of tilled land. And underneath the trees, greenery, fields and orchards, lies the old Greek town of Agrigento.

More to be excavated

This town, totally unseen, mostly unexplored, still needs to be excavated, unearthed and studied. There's a total ban on building and the authorities' plan, which is being put into action, is a return of biological farming methods.  

Viewing, going uphill and downhill, imbibing all this culture, thinking how the gods of old were revered, is a salutary way of passing any amount of time. But, as with all good things, this adventure to an archaeological paradise was taxing on my body and I headed back to my Adler base satisfied but flagged out.

Regenerating my body

Returning to the Adler Spa Resort Sicilia felt like the gods' own reward to me. This is where the resort excels: it regenerates and improves your body and soul to their best in no time. The place itself is refreshingly calming; the amenities, the treatments, the service, the whole experience, are restorative, energising.

The sensory experience affects you in ways hard to imagine. My five days there were full of new feelings that I had either forgotten or which had been dulled by the daily drudge of life.

The Adler wellness and spa centre offers a large expanse with indoor and outdoor areas all connected in some way to water, sea and space to make you relax. Even when the place is teeming with guests in search of their own serenity, the feeling is that you are cut off, far from crowds and noise. The quiescence, the deep silence of the place contrasts to my, and I think most of our, normal noisy existence.

The Thalasso treatment

I found that the quietest and most refreshing spot was the Thalasso bath. Perched close to the edge of the resort, which stands on a hill, with spectacular views, catching the sunset while sitting in the warm, sea water made me feel like a truly pampered god. Looking out at, and hearing from afar, the sound of the sea, made this a vitalising experience.

Aptly enough Thalassotherapy is derived from the Greek word for sea and refers to treatments using saltwater designed to cleanse, soothe and revitalise the skin and body.

All this and more - including sauna, massages and detox programmes - are available in minimalist grandeur. The staff, both at the wellness centre and all around the Adler are courteous, knowledgeable and soft-spoken. Soft-spoken is the operative word in all areas as the idea of peacefulness is taken to its utmost.

The Adler goes even beyond relaxing and culture; there's a gym with a view, an indoor-outdoor heated pool and a 25-metre outdoor swimming pool. Management offers free use of bicycles and organises a number of activities from yoga to Pilates, and various other cultural and gastronomical events.

In fact the Agrigento area, besides its Valle dei Templi, has an array of culture, gastronomical wonders and memorable sights to discover. It's really a place to find your soul's best vibes.

Six kilometres of pristine beach

Moving around the resort - whether walking energetically, jogging or just sauntering around - is another joy. About 300 metres of picturesque nature away is a six-kilometre-long beach, totally unspoilt and part of the Torre Salsa Nature Reserve, definitely one of Sicily's most amazing natural gems. A long strip of sand, lined with dunes and cliffs, the beach, with its yellowish sand, stretches from slopes to bays. The waves on this spectacular beach are what create those sea sounds, the musical magic, at the resort and add to visitors' inner peace.  

The reserve itself is managed by WWF Italia, which is committed to protecting its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystem. A pristine pine forest keeps the sand dunes from drifting, thereby preserving one of the most outstanding features of Torre Salsa and of Agrigento.

Food to keep you going

With all this activity taking place I hoped to have - and thoroughly needed - good food to keep me going. Actually, what I was provided with was not merely good: it was a gastronomical extravaganza, truly reflecting Sicily's best tastes, produce and presentation.

The catering at the resort is varied, sumptuous without being overwhelming and using ingredients which mainly come from the Adler's gardens or from neighbouring farms. The fish is brought in daily by nearby fishermen and most of the meat is procured from local sources. The cheeses available are noteworthy, especially the ricotta, which is produced nearby.

Sustainability

The use of, and emphasis on, produce that is either grown on the resort itself or bought from around the area ensures the quality of the food itself and its Sicilian gusto. It also helps in reducing the carbon footprint of the This is in keeping with the Adler philosophy of being as sustainable as possible and preserving the environment as best possible.

Most of the area around Agrigento is verdant, lush and has open spaces, fields and agricultural land. It was a place I thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend to anyone who needs a break, is jaded or just wants to discover new shades and depths of inner peace and culture.

 

For more information about the resort visit www.adler-resorts.com. To find out more about Agrigento visit visitsicily.info

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