A trip to Morocco should be done at least once in a lifetime: new curiosities, secrets and my favourite typical dish in “Travel Inspirations”. I have visited more than ten times, often with my mother, the traveller Annamaria Perini Giovanazzi, and I am always fascinated by its charm. For me, travelling means enriching myself with images, sounds, flavours, colours and encounters. And Morocco fills me with all these treasures every time. In “Travel Inspirations” you will find some ideas for constructing your own itinerary in wonderful lands.
Images: the travel itinerary
Morocco lends itself to all sorts of tours, from desert tours to mountains to the Atlantic coast. By now, many airlines have chosen it as their destination. You can comfortably land in Casablanca and pick up a cheap jeep or rental car. Check your insurance and the validity of your driving licence. Always respect the time limits, they are strict.
My suggestion is to head north along the coast, passing through Rabat, and then stop off in Tangier, where the crossroads of cultures opens up horizons. You can take the book ‘Tea in the Desert’ with you and start reading it in a café by the port. Then change direction and go to beautiful Tétouan, and then go down route n°2 towards Chechaouen. The route is so beautiful that it is worth the whole trip. Then get ready for a long drive to Fez and Marrakech, immersing yourself in the splendour of the Atlas Mountains.
The third part of the tour might take you to Ouarzazate, the desert valleys, and then to the ocean at Agadir. Return to Casablanca via the ocean, passing through Essaouira and the Jewish quarter.
Sounds: the atmosphere of the top destinations
A whole book on Morocco’s top destinations would not be enough. My top destination is always Marrakech. It is a city so full of charm that it is difficult to sum it up. To get the most out of it, I recommend leaving your car in a secure car park on the outskirts and immersing yourself in the old town. Sleep in a riad, a small hotel in a period building, there is something for every budget. Treat yourself to grilled meat in the Jamaa Ifna square, a hammam and a nighttime carriage ride. The sounds of the square and traditional music intertwine with contemporary bands, creating a unique sound.
The other top destination not to be missed is the desert, the Sahara. To enjoy it at its best, have a safe, recognised guide accompany you. I suggest Omar Yaichi, owner of Morocco Beduin Tours. He will provide you with unforgettable experiences in the dunes of Merzouga, with a touch of luxury that doesn’t hurt. You have to listen to the desert, you have to hear the sound of the wind to immerse yourself in its majesty.
Flavours: the Pastilla, a little-known typical dish. A trip to Morocco: curiosities and secrets
Moroccan cuisine is famous throughout the world. The couscous, the accompanying meats, the sauces, the bread. The flavours are intense but delicate, spicy but gentle. Today’s dish is the Pastilla, I don’t know if you have ever heard of it. Don’t miss it, especially in the Marrakech region. It is a flan of very thin dough (phyllo), filled with minced meat, traditional flavours, almonds and cinnamon. At the first taste you connect with the history of mankind. It is a food from the mists of time, an absolute experience.
And when you are in the desert, don’t miss the Tuareg breakfast: mint tea accompanied by olives, bread and argan oil.
Colours: Secret places
Every journey hides a secret, something unique and unrepeatable. Sometimes it is the result of a play of light, arriving in a place at a certain time. It happened to me when I arrived in the blue Chechaouen: I was enraptured by colour in the most hidden alleys of the secret city. It is worth extending your trip and including it in your destinations. You will feel between earth and sky.
In Morocco, the King is ‘prince of believers’, guardian of all religions. Seek out the Catholic church in Rabat and the synagogue in Marrakech, and pass by the Jewish cemetery. In the desert, go to a Koranic school and in Rabat the Hassan Tower.
In Fez, you cannot miss the al-Qarawiyyin university, considered the oldest in the world. It was founded in 859 by a woman, Fatima Al-Fihriya. Also try to attend an event of the precious institution Maison de la Sagesse, based in Fez and Grenada.
Unforgettable encounters. Morocco, many curiosities, secrets and the typical dish. “Travel inspirations”
For a trip to be truly memorable, it takes more than just beautiful places and superb food. We need to break down our own walls of defences, widening our tents. We must allow ourselves to be reflected in the face of the other, without prejudice, to get to know each other better and to enrich ourselves with the gifts that the other brings. In Morocco, it is not difficult to get to know people; traditional Moroccan hospitality facilitates and opens doors.
Among my unforgettable encounters in Morocco, I would include the governor of El Kelaa who opened his palace to us with a lunch for 100 people, and an unforgettable welcome. And the mayor of a simple village in the Atlas Mountains, who in the blink of an eye prepared us a traditional lunch fit for royalty. And sr. Ersilia, who is now 100 years old. She is a Franciscan nun who has dedicated her life to meeting Saint Francis in the people of Morocco. Here we shot the documentary Le Maroc, a crossroads of cultures and religions. In Italian you can watch HERE. In English here: