Pasticceria Maria Grammatico

June 11, 2010 / Food & Wine
Erice, Sicily
mariagrammatico2Not far from Trapani (Sicily) a lovely, winding road meanders up a mountain that overlooks the sea, and at the top a picturesque medieval town called Erice appears. With its spectacular views, its beautifully paved cobblestone streets and interesting examples of Norman architecture, it is a town well worth visiting.

After taking in the many points of interest, you will be ready for a break: head for the pastry shop of Maria Grammatico. You will never want to leave. Maria has a fascinating story to tell. Maria’s family was one of many which, after the war, found itself unable to maintain all of the children (6, in Maria’s case).

mariagrammatico3When she was 11 years old, she was placed at the Sangallo Institute, an austere convent for secluded nuns. For income, these nuns produced and sold a variety of almond based sweets. It was a life of extreme poverty and hardship for Maria, but she learned the venerable art of almond pastry. In 1964, upon leaving the convent and with only 6 pounds of almonds and a wood stove to her name, she opened a tiny shop and began to produce her own sweets. She very quickly became well known, expanded to a larger shop, and the rest is history! (Famous throughout Italy, she also sells her pastries abroad!)

For her, her work is a true passion and she can be found in her shop every day. She is also a warm and welcoming woman, and will willingly explain and answer questions, which often turns into a lively conversation (if you speak Italian).

And it just might become one of your warmest memories of this stunning island!


Patricia Glee Smith

by Patricia Glee Smith

Accomplished artist and very involved archaeology aficionado based in Otricoli, Umbria. Click here to view her artwork.

11 Responses to “Pasticceria Maria Grammatico”

  1. A sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm. What a lovely discovery, finding the Pasticcieria Maria Grammatico. The bakeries in Italy are so wonderful, they are like little historical gems tucked into small spaces along the alleyways of the little towns and cities. Thanks for sharing, we love Sicily and hope to remember to stop by Maria’s shop the next time we are visiting! Ciao, bella!

  2. Joseph D. Spano
    Joseph D. Spano

    Così le monache si impara la ‘opera del Signore!’

    the delights that come from seeing , smelling and certainly savoring such creations are kept in your memories forever….I do remember.

  3. This goes on my list as a place to seek out–and I’ve just sent it to a friend headed to Sicily! Such beautiful little treats–think I’ll go look for a cookie.

  4. Mary jane

    Great note Pat, the taste of the decorative pasta di mandorle fruits and other pastries made from almond paste are so much better on site . Its nice to know you can order more.

  5. Paula Giangreco Cullison

    Buon Giorno,
    What a wonderful article! I had the pleasure of meeting Maria
    a few years ago during my month in Sicily. She’s absolutely charming.
    The pastries are ‘to die for’ …. HEAVENLY delights. Erice is a fabulous place. My mother lived there when she was a young girl.
    My stay at the Pineta was a nostaglic one for sure.
    Sono italiana(siciliana)-americana.
    Ciao tutti :-)

  6. Paolina

    Wonderful story, this is making lemonaide or limoncelle,if you will,
    from lemons. Beautiful pictures,fruit,pastries and Maria, brava !

  7. Giuseppa

    Ciao Maria,sono Giuseppa siciliana anche io.Vivo in America da tanti anni ma mai ho dimenticato la mia Sicilia .Non appena verro’ in Italia(spero al piu’ presto) verro’ da te di sicuro.Sono certa che i tuoi dolci mi piaceranno.Tanti auguri per la tua bravura .Provo gia’una certa acqualina in bocca.CIAO

  8. Sounds delicious! Article says she also sells some items abroad. Where can I order them from?

  9. Here’s another strong recommendation for Bitter Almonds. I’m hoping to get back to the pasticceria sometime soon.


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