Sitting at the toe of Italy's boot, Sicily has been the jewel in the Mediterranean Crown since the Phoenicians first settled on the island in 900B.C. Within an area the size of Switzerland, something can be found to satisfy every travellers appetite - well preserved historical sites from the Phoenician period; Greek temples; Roman amphitheatres; Norman Towers; Mediaeval towns; Baroque architecture. All set in countryside as rich and diverse as anywhere in Europe. From rolling pastoral countryside to smouldering Volcanic Mount Etna, from long sandy beaches to small shingle coves, arid countryside to reservoirs 4 kms long, providing water for rich valleys resplendent wheat, olives and vines and rolling hills where cattle and sheep graze; and ghostly plains white with salt - you will find all this and more .more +
Meat from the hills and fish from the sea appear on the menus of every restaurant and Pizzas as thin as a whisper can be enjoyed everywhere. If you are going on a diet then go to Sicilybefore you start! Sardinian patisseries are a treat to the eye, filled with marzipan confections, cassata jewelled with candied fruit and luscious canola a tube shaped thin pastry filled with ricotta. The islands proximity to Africa has influenced its cuisine and you will find fragrant and lightly spiced seafood cous cous on many menus in the north of Sicily, of which Rick Stein was much enamoured on his recent series on the best cooking in the med. San Vito Lo Capo, in the north even plays host in September to the implausible World Cous Cous Festival when the streets are lined with every conceivable variety imaginable.
One of Europe's oldest wine producing regions, Sicily's wine has been improved over recent past years by grapes imported from elsewhere in Europe. The producers are now justifiable proud of their skills and are applying these to their roots to produce great traditional wines such as the spicy Nero D'Avola. Many wineries now open their doors to the public and a very agreeable day can be spent visiting the wineries on the wine route of the Strada del Vino Alcamo DOC, inland from Castellemare del Golfo. Making a come back as a fashionable aperitif or desert wine, the sweet red fortified Masala wine, produced in the town of the same name in the area of Trapani was formally relegated to a culinary ingredient.
Sicily's gangster past has been well documented, on paper and film; probably the most famous movies being The Godfather series whose Corleone family was named after a town 30 mins drive from Palermo and where some scenes of the films were shot. All this does nothing to prepare you for the geniune friendliness and hospitality which you will encounter throughout your stay these days, if you see someone walking towards you with a violin case, rest assured that it will contain a musical instrument.
Acireale is an ancient spa town on the eastern coast of Sicily, 20 km to the north of Catania. Its history has been scarred by earthquakes and the volcanic eruptions of Mount Etna that have redesigned the area on several occasions. The most recent reconstruction – following the earthquake in 1693 – gave rise...More about Acireale >>
The most important of the fishing ports in this bay, Castellemmare del Golfo fits snugly between the mountains and the sea at the far western reach of the Golf. The steep streets and little stepped alleys are lined with houses painted in soft pastel shades with flower filled balconies and piazzas and baroque churches make pleasant distractions as you wander down towards the sea....More about Castellammare >>
Cefalu is on the Tyrrhenian coast, 60 Km away East of Palermo. The ancient Sicilian village was founded in the IV century B.C. and in the running of the centuries became - respectively - a Roman, Byzantine and Moslem town knowing its highest splendour under the Norman rule....More about Cefalu >>
Erice is an Agricultural-commercial center and is situated on an isolated height. Risen in the same place of the ancient Erice religious center, famous for the Venere Ericinetemple, it was contested from Syracusans and Carthaginians until the Roman conquest in 244 a.C. During the arabic invasion it was called \"Gebel Hamed\" and got part of its lost importance back nel XII sec. following then the politic sorts of the island. Today we can find many medieval parts of the ancient walls. ...More about Erice >>
A first glimpse of Noto and it is love at first sight! This hillside town in southern Sicily, one of UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage Sites, is the undisputed capital of Sicilian baroque: Elaborate decorations, statues and grotesque figures adorn the majestic facades and swollen balconies of churches and aristocratic buildings....More about Noto & Calabernardo >>
On the north-western coast of Sicily, huddled in the shelter of the bay between the Zingaro Nature Reserve to the west and the Mount Cofano Nature Reserve to the east, lies the first international capital of couscous, the dish of peace that symbolises integration between different peoples and cultures. ...More about San Vito lo Capo >>
An utterly delightful medieval village set on a ridge above a rocky coastline interspersed by small sand and pebble coves with water as clear as any in the med. Scopello is centred around its \'Baglio\' the agricultural hub of the original village and now centre piece to an atmospheric courtyard partially shaded by a huge eucalyptus tree under which tables and chairs from the various restaurants and gelatoria are laid out. ...More about Scopello >>