Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. The place where bygone civilizations remnants and references are everywhere. A passerby since the time of legends. Exquisitely beautiful, charming. History buffs will have definitely come across to Homer and Virgil referring to Sicily’s beauties and culture.
But when visiting Sicily, you will also discover sparkling seas, extraordinary beaches, restless mountains, dramatic landscape, “La Signora Etna” the grand and impressive volcano which is still active and the savoury Sicilian Cuisine!
So when you decide to travel to Sicily, you will need to spend a week to ten days, or more, on the island. Organize yourself, plan ahead where to go and what to see, but don’t miss to travel and explore the following towns and villages that are definite musts and part of the Sicilian Highlights.
The capital of Sicily on the north-west part of the island is also known as the “Kingdom of Sun”. The main economic centre, a city famous for its history, culture, architecture, art, music, and of course for its gastronomy. In 2018 Palermo was declared as the Italian Capital of Culture. You will need at least 2 or 3 days to explore the wonders of Palermo.
And while on the spot do not miss visiting the Cathedral which houses the royal tombs, the neoclassical Teatro Massimo famous for opera performances, the Palazzo dei Normani, the Capella Palatina with the mosaics, the baroque style piazzas like Piazza Vialiena, the Museums, the city walls, the amazing Churches.
And if you want a taste of the real Palermitan lifestyle, go for a stroll in the famous noisy markets influenced by Arabs, where you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables and other goodies and maybe taste the street food of Palermo which is found almost in every corner of the markets.
Monreale is located on the slopes of Monte Caputo overlooking the rich, fertile valley “La Conca d’ Oro” where orange, olive and almond trees fill the picture. Main sights of interest include the Cathedral of Monreale a typical example of Norman architecture, the Castellacio a fortified convent on Monte Caputo, the Abbey church of San Marino with paintings by Paolo de Matteis.
An ancient monument, seen also from the motorway that connects Palermo to Trapani. Segesta is very well preserved with the Doric Temple standing pristine and impressive. On top of the hill is the semicircular theatre built at the same time. The views are fantastic and the walk uphill is worth it.
Erice is a historic medieval town in the province of Trapani. One of the most beautiful villages in Sicily, where tradition is everywhere!. Poet Virgil refers to the history of Erice in his famous work Aeneid. The town is surrounded by defensive walls. The Castello di Venere, Chiesa di San Giuliano, Chiesa di San Giovanni, Il Duomo, Chiesa di San Martino are among the sites to be visited. Erice is situated 750m above sea level with unpredictable weather from sunny afternoon to foggy evenings.
Agrigento lies on the southwest coast of Sicily, famous for its ruins of the ancient city of Akragas in the Valley of the Temples. A huge archaeological site with Greek Temples very well kept. Very impressive. On the city’s outskirts, the Museo Archeologico Regionale “Pietro Griffo” exhibits sculptures of giant male figures.
And if you love the sea then go a bit to the west where you can enjoy the amazing Scala dei Turchi, a steep white cliff gazing at sandy beaches. Comfy shoes are mandatory.
Piazza Armerina is a village in the Province of Enna in the Sicilian hinterland. Spend time to see Villa Romana del Casale with preserved mosaics, the Archeological Museum of Aidone and the massive Baroque style Cathedral, the Pergusa lake, the Erean mountains with the historic attractions.
On the South-east part of Sicily, Ragusa is a valuable record of Baroque art. In the old town of Ragusa, we come across many baroque buildings like the Duomo di San Giorgio, a Catholic church decorated with paintings and stained-glass windows. The Giardino Ibleo is a public park with churches and fountains. Ragusa’s Cathedral with religious art and relics in the modern part of the city is also worth visiting. Ragusa is declared by UNESCO World Heritage as a valuable record of Baroque art along with other 7 towns of Sicily in the Val di Noto.
Siracusa is the city of Sicily where the immortal history and precious beauty of the island are well enclosed. Siracusa is where the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, one of Sicily’s greatest archaeological sites, is located.
And in Siracusa is found Ortigia! One of the most beautiful and exquisite corners of Sicily. Ortigia is quite popular with tourists, because of its uniqueness, its architecture, its overall character and the fact that exhibits important monuments of ancient times including archaeological sites, churches and cathedrals.
Siracusa hosts the Roman Amphitheatre, the Teatro Greco, where plays and other activities take place during summertime.
Terracotta art crafts, Roman art crafts, Old Testament scenes curved into white marble are exhibited in the Museo Archeologico Paolo Rosi.
The city is also notable for being the birthplace of the prominent Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes.
Taormina is a hilltop town with fantastic views of Etna and the Mediterranean Sea. Taormina is elegant, impressive, so different…
A popular destination, and very loved resort chosen not only by today’s travellers but also by famous actors, writers, poets and the European aristocracy since the 18th century who visited the area to enrich their culture.
Strolling in Taormina’s streets and alleys you will relax enjoying the postcard-like scenery. Coloured pots of flowers spread in the stairways and tiny alleys going up or down from Corso Umberto make a special statement. The beautiful piazzas are full of cafes, restaurants and shops and the streets are full of life all day long.
The main archaeological attraction of the town is Teatro Greco where the Greeks paired the views of Etna and the bay of Giardini di Naxos. Purely fantastic. A scenic location!
Other sites worth visiting are the Pallazzo Corvaja, the Duomo di San Nicola, Isola Bella, Chiesa di San Pancrazio, the Odeon, Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Park Giovanni Colonna-Duke of Cesaro, Santo Stefano, Church of St. Joseph. Each is so different in style and architecture.
Cefalu is an attractive, charming seaside small town on Sicily’s northern coast. Famous for its beautiful sunsets. Cefalu is certainly one of Sicily’s most appealing spots.
When in Cefalu you must visit the town’s Duomo, the two-towered cathedral with its lovely mosaics. La Rocca, a massive hill overlooking the Duomo. The picturesque harbour. The town centre where you can admire the ruins of Templo di Diana built in classical Greek style. The medieval alleys. The Museo Mandralisca.
And if you have more time and you want to explore a little more then there are the islands off Sicily:
As for where to stay, we certainly recommend as main base The Sicilian Commenda which is perfectly located offering easy reach to most of the areas above.
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