TRAVEL GUIDE SICILY

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Formerly called Trinacria by the Greeks, she managed over time to forge a genuine cultural and gastronomic identity influenced by its numerous invasions by the Greeks, the Romans, the Normans, the Swabians, the Angevin and the Aragonese. Sicily is covered with citrus groves exhaling all around a delicious fragrance of orange blossoms. This region of Italy offers many contrasts in architecture, seascapes, mountain and volcano country.
Palermo
Red Palermo, Palermo the child ... Red, such is Palermo as we imagine it, like Tyre, Sidon,or Carthage, as the purple of the Phoenicians, red and plump, his land is watered by the sources on which stands, high and thin, the palm tree bends under the caress of the winds, cool shadows, echoes and nostalgia of the oasis, green mosque, carpet of rest and prayer, the image of the eternal garden of the Koran. Child, this is Palermo asleep , motionless and happy with her beauty, has always been dominated by foreigners, but also by his mother, a devouring Mediterranean mother keeping her children in an eternal adolescence. She surrenders, lush and soft, on a happy shell... Excerpt from "La Sicilia passeggiata", Vincenzo Consolo
Around Palermo
Enjoy a getaway outside the city to discover Mondello, holiday resort of the wealthy Palermo, characterized by beautiful "liberty" villas. Cefalù, fishermen village nestled between the sea and a limestone promontory, has preserved its medieval-style around the Norman cathedral built in the XIIth century. With its Norman-Arab cathedral and cloister dating from the XII century, Monreale represents a must see.
Madonie and Nebrodi regional parks
Natural parks of Madonie and and Nebrodi offer spectacular scenery of gentle slopes becoming steeper where limestone dominates. Charming medieval villages are perched at 1000m altitude in scenic spots above the valleys. The wildlife is varied and preserved. Take the scenic drives offering a range of different views. Must-see: Petralia Soprana, Petralia Sottana, Polizzi Generosa, Sperlinga and its castle fortress, Gangi and Pollina.
Trapani and Erice
Facing the Egadi Islands, Trapani has a protected seaport whose traffic is mainly based on the export of salt from the salt marshes situated south of the city. With its medieval and Baroque historical center, Trapani is a pleasant stop. Perched at an altitude of 750m in a site of unforgettable beauty, Erice has kept the original medieval character with its ramparts, its pretty cobbled streets, the charming stone houses, small squares and numerous churches.
Marsala and Mozia
It was an English merchant who first introduced in the 18th century the wine of Marsala. Today many wineries offer tastings. Marsala is also known for the landing of the "Thousand" organized by Garibaldi in 1860. Ancient Phoenician colony founded in the 8th century BC on one of the four islands of the lagoon Stagnone, the Island San Pantaleo ( formerly Motya ) is in the nature reserve and is characterized by lush Mediterranean vegetation and shallow water with high salinity.
Selinunte
Destroyed by the Carthaginians in the year 250 BC, Selinunte has never recovered. You can still read on its destroyed temples the violence of fighting and earthquakes that put an end to its days. Selinunte is now a moving site reminiscent of ancient Greece through its ruins, the grandeur of the site and the beauty of the landscape. Around Selinunte: Sciacca, Mazara del vallo, Castelvetrano.
Catania and surroundings
Located between the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna, Catania maintains with the volcano a lively relationship, even if the eruptions of lava have invaded it frequently. Its baroque style often conceals the traces of an older history: the ancient theatre, the Amphitheatre and the Odeon are hidden beneath the beautiful 18th century palace. Visit also the fishing towns of Acitrezza, Acicastello, Acireale, and the Alcantara caves.
Taormina
Perched at an altitude of 200m on a rocky plateau, Taormina gives the impression of a balcony overlooking the sea with Mount Etna as a backdrop. Very popular with celebrities and tourists, Taormina offers a charming old town lined with restaurants, cafes and boutiques.
Mount Etna
The majestic Etna volcano, rises to 3350m in altitude. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. It offers contrasting views of lunar landscapes and flowery plains on the craters. Its slopes are covered with broom in spring. Many tours are organized to discover this extraordinary volcano.
Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina, located in the heart of Sicily, is a city of art full of history and rich in monuments. Villa Romana del Casale with its incredible mosaics is one example that has been classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. Around Piazza Armerina: archeological sites of Aidone-Morgantina, Enna's castle, Caltagirone, the lake of Pergusa and its natural reserve.
Syracuse
From prehistoric populations to the Corinthians, who founded the Greek city, to the introduction of Baroque architecture, the history of this city can be seen in its streets and buildings. Syracuse is now famous for its Baroque town built on the island of Ortigia. Must-see: Ortigia and the archeological site of Syracuse.
Noto
Baroque city par excellence, Noto was born of an earthquake that destroyed completely Noto Antica in 1693. Rebuilt in the 18th century, it represents the triumph of Sicilian Baroque. Its beauty is so harmonious that it seems unreal, like a stage set.
Around Noto
10km north-west of Noto the site of Noto Antica is characterized by a landscape of rare beauty, archaeological and historical remains. Ragusa, a charming town on the site of the ancient Hybla is now a baroque city which adapted to the tangle of narrow medieval streets. Modica surrounded by troglodyte dwellings abandoned at the time of the 1693 earthquake, is divided into two parts: the lower town, dominated by hills, lies in the center and the upper town rises, in turn dominated by its castle. And also: Scicli, Vendicari natural reserve and the fishermen village of Marzamemi.
Agrigento
Two great sites to discover: the Valley of the Temples with the magnificent remains of the Greek colony and rocky hill where the medieval city was built. Agrigento is also the birthplace of the famous writer and poet Luigi Pirandello.
Egadi islands
Favignana is the largest of three Egadi islands . Its history is linked to the Florio family who implant last century the tonnara (tuna factory) complex which still dominates the landscape around the harbor. With its small fishing port where local fish is sold every morning, turquoise waters, its tuff quarries and unspoilt natural beauty, the island of Favignana is a small corner of paradise. Marettimo Island is the wildest with steep relief dropping straight into the sea. The small fishing village of Marettimo consolidates its square white houses with roof terraces at the foot of the mountain. Levanzo is a small island of 6 km²; which suggests the rugged coastline of tiny coves. It is an ideal haven for lovers of nature and absolute calm.
Aeolian islands
The Aeolian archipelago is an enchanting world of sea and volcanoes where nature and history have forged over the centuries a landscape shaped by fire, lava, wind and sea. Lipari is the largest and most touristy of the Aeolian. Stromboli, the most isolated of the archipelago, offers an amazing sight on the active volcano. It is an oasis of tranquility where you can walk in the evening moonlight. Salina is a green oasis and a perfect place for a retreat in nature. Salina was also made famous by the movie "Il Postino", filmed in a house on the island. The south-east of Punta lingua is especially recommended for lovers of underwater fishing. Salina also produces capers and raisins used in the manufacture of Malvasia, renowned wine of Lipari islands. Born from the fusion of four volcanoes, Vulcano is dominated by the largest and most active of them. The presence of geysers and steam jets today reflects its activity. The sulphurous mud are highly valued for their therapeutic properties. Panarea, the mundane, is busy in high season but soon found his composure after the 15 of August. Islands Filicudi, black pearl of the archipelago, ideal for scuba diving and Alicudi, the most extreme and most savage, are closest to Sicily. A paradise for the traveler who wants to walk between the mule trails of lava stone, go to the sea with the boats of the locals, or fall asleep at night under a blanket of stars. The islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria are the most remote. Both islands are very suitable for scuba-diving, trekking, nature lovers and farniente.

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USEFUL INFORMATION

VISIT Sicily is a large island; it is preferable to arrange the itinerary in advance and choose between the western and eastern part of the island if you don't have enough days.
GETTING ABOUT Egadi Islands are located 15 minutes from Trapani and therefore allow greater flexibility. In contrast, the Aeolian Islands are more remote from the coasts and so require more organization. The car is in any case essential to travel to Sicily.
GETTING THERE By plane: Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Comiso (Ragusa) airports
By boat: Palermo and Messina harbours