Sicily is a unique island. Not only the sea separates it from the rest of Italy, but also centuries of different cultures and history. You can choose between a relaxing holiday on the beaches or visit fascinating monuments and cities. Sicily has been an object of inspiration to many writers and poets. As Goethe once wrote: “Sicily is the key to getting to know Italy.”
Do you want to check your luxury villa rental in Sicily for the perfect stay? Keep reading with us to discover all the secrets of this special island!
Sicily is unusual, diversified, full of secrets. It has a unique mountainous landscape (passing through vast plains) and a coastline with a length of over 1000 kilometers. The majestic Etna dominates the island – one of the largest volcanoes still active in Europe.
The history of the island means that Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Arab influences are visible here, both in the magnificent monuments and in the cuisine and customs. You must also visit Sicily to smell the scent of flowering citrus fruits, oranges, and oleanders. And of course, try the famous Sicilian Muscat wine!
Sicily Attractions: our six most beautiful places
- Palermo – the beautiful capital of Sicily
There are many stereotypes about Palermo. It’s associated with the hustle and bustle, the colorful crowds, and… the Sicilian Mafia. The most important monuments of the city (founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC) stand between modern buildings and streets clogged with the bazaar of Ballaro reminiscent of the Tunisian market. To see the beautiful historical center with the reigning Cathedral of Palermo and the Norman Palace of the 11th century. Palermo is also the site of the Teatro Massimo, the third-largest opera in Europe.
- Syracuse and the island of Ortigia
It is a city located in the eastern part of Sicily. Syracuse is one of the most important archaeological sites in the whole Mediterranean. Monumental ruins dating back to ancient times. Still today, you can see the Greek theatre (from the 5th century BC), the Roman amphitheater, the tomb of Archimedes, and the altar of Hieron II – a remnant of the most massive shrine dedicated to Zeus. The famous Ear of Dionysius was also made available to visitors – former quarries with a 65-meter long cave. The old part of the city is part UNESCO World Heritage list.
Syracuse also includes the island of Ortigia. Here we will see the ruins of the Temple of Apollo (from the 6th century BC), the 18th-century cathedral, and the castle – Castello Maniace, where once stood the temple of Hera.
It is a medieval town, a charming port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and a popular tourist resort with sandy beaches. Cefalù, located at the foot of the high rock La Rocca, is famous for its magnificent cathedral built in the 12th century. The Romanesque temple, built by Roger II as thanks for being saved during a storm. Inside the mosaic with Christ Pantocrator from 1148 is the oldest painting in Sicily.
- Etna Volcano
The majestic, still active volcano of Etna (3,350 m) is covered with solid black lava, from which green tufts of trees and shrubs grow. The mountain can be reached on foot or simply use the cable car or train that runs along with the lower parts of the slopes (costs about 50 euros).
Along the road to the top, you can admire the changing vegetation of Etna – orange, lemon, fig, and vineyards. A great experience is the view of the smoke from the cracks and the specific volcanic smell. Since 2013, the volcano has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Taormina: the pearl of the Ionian Sea
It is a town situated at the foot of Etna, defined as a miracle of nature and a Sicilian paradise. This place seems even more fascinating when the air is full of the scent of citrus fruits; you can see the flowers blooming in the gardens, while the volcano overlooking the city is still covered with snow. According to Goethe Taormina, “this is the greatest work of art and nature!” It’s worth taking a look at the beautiful beach on Isola Bella, often referred to as the “pearl of the Ionian Sea.”
- Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands are a group of 17 beautiful islands (seven main and ten smaller) with a total area of 117 km2, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea (north of Sicily). According to ancient legends, they were the home of the wind god – Eola (which is why they are often also called the Aeolian Islands).
From Sicily (mainly from the town of Milazzo), you can buy a boat trip to one of the islands – the most popular is Lipari and Vulcano. On the latter, there is still an active volcano.
Now it is time to discover the deliciousness that Sicily has to offer, after all, being a tourist makes you hungry!
Italy is one of the three largest producers of this drink in the world. In Sicily, 2/3 of the production is for red wines and 1/3 for white wines. The Sicilian specialty is the sweet wines – Moscato. Red wines – Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese and white varieties – Grecanico si Sicilia and Inzolia di Samperi are also well known. It is worth taking one as a souvenir of the Italian festivities.
Brioche with Ice Cream
Have you ever had ice cream in a bun? You have the best chance in Sicily. The brioche with ice cream is an ice cream served in a sweet roll of butter and decorated with whipped cream. You have to try them!
Cannoli are the sweet specialty of Sicily. Cannoli are Italian tubes of crispy dough filled with cream and ricotta cheese. Usually served with fresh fruit.
The Sfincione, as the name says, can only be tasted in and around Palermo. The pizza is made on double leavening bread dough and has a rectangular shape. Seasoned with tomato and onion sauce and Sicilian caciocavallo cheese Ragusano. Sometimes anchovies are added.