Across the Strait of Messina lays the largest Italian island, Sicily. Surrounded by the Ionian, the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean Seas this island’s lush landscape runs from mountains, over hills down to the crystal-clear sea. Find yourself wandering among glorious Greek temples in the spring with the scent of lemon trees following you around every historic corner.
Photo courtesy | Scott Wylie
Being the largest Italian island, there are plenty of places to see and stay, and choosing one over the other may be your first dilemma of the trip. Historic cities like Palemo, Catania and Siracusa offer wonderful hidden secrets just waiting to be discovered, blending the past with the present. Volcanic landscapes claim the Etna region with sweeping panoramic views of Stromboli. Taormina provides the fruity drink everyone craves when visiting Italy: wine! Baroque towns dot across the south and sites like Agrigento, Selinunte, and Segesta provide all things Greek. On the other hand Piazza Armerina is distinctly Roman.
Steeped in both Grecian and Roman history, this charming fantasy island has plenty for all who flock to this island paradise. Step into the height of tragedy and witness classical theater being preformed at the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis in Syracuse. The park not only offers a 16,000 capacity amiphitheatere but also landmarks riddled with catacombs, the Anfiteatro Romano where horse races and gladiatorial battles took place.
Photo courtesy | Harvey Barrison
Springtime not only offers one of the best seasons to visit Sicily outside of the crowded peak season, it also is the best time for nature lovers to spend their days hiking Stromboli. A two and a half to three hour hike up this active volcano, the trek is highly regulated but offers the best views of sunsets and the churning lava below.
Then there are the beaches, and the festivals. Cinema festivals in ancient theaters, The Opera of Marionettes, the celebration of Carnival, festivals dedicated to the Patron Saints of Sicily, and Acireale Carnival known as the most beautiful carnival in Sicily. Dawn a paper-mache mask and watch the flowered floats and parade the streets with your fellow Italians.
Photo courtesy | Cucombre Libre
Located just near Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, as well as the Temple of Concordia lays an elegant 18th century villa. Now a modern 5 star hotel, Villa Athena offers visitors a great experience with outstanding views, mouthwatering dining and all the amenities of home. But you don’t have to stay in a fancy villa to enjoy your time in Sicily. The island offers countless other sleeping accommodations ranging from hostels, B&Bs to modern hotels.
And the food! Sicily just happens to be world renowned for the genuineness of its ingredients. Rich fish and meat dishes, extra virgin olive oil, red oranges, Canicatti grapes, Pachino tomatoes, capers, prickly pears, and olives from Nocellara. But wait there’s more, cheese, sausages, bread, pastries with ricotta and almond paste and more and more wine! Whether it’s a small family run establishment or a top rated establishment, you can’t go wrong no matter where you sit down for a meal. So, whether you’re travelling for some fun in the sun, a historical gateway or just to enjoy some rich cultural extravaganzas, Sicily is the place to be for all things Italian.
Photo courtesy | Tommie Hansen
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Cover photo courtesy | Scott Wylie