Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean that has all the wonders of the land and the sea, in eternal contrast between them, both visually, but also in the sweet and sour aromas and flavors. A treasure chest full of precious and ancient flavors and fine food and wine products, Sicily is undoubtedly a land of overwhelming beauty, kissed by the sun.
Sicily is the largest island in Italy and the Mediterranean. Triangular in shape, it is bathed in the north by the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west by the Sicilian Channel, in the south by the Sea of Sicily, in the east by the Ionian Sea and in the north by the Strait of Messina which separates it from Calabria. In addition to the main island, the archipelagos of the Aeolian Islands, located north of the Gulf of Milazzo, are also part of the regional territory. The islands that make up the archipelago are: Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Alicudi and Filicudi, Vulcano and Stromboli. The last two mentioned are still active volcanoes. The Egadi archipelago is located off the west coast. The most important island is Favignana. Pantelleria and the Pelagie Islands with Linosa and Lampedusa are located in the Sea of Sicily. In the Tyrrhenian waters rises the Island of Ustica.
Most of the land is mountainous but the sea is one of the main attractions of the island. The northern, high and rocky coasts open onto the Tyrrhenian Sea with frequent and wide inlets, such as the gulfs of Castellammare del Golfo, Palermo, Termini Imerese. To the east the Ionian coast is more varied; narrow pebble beaches almost to Taormina; jagged towards the south, with inlets and bays like that of Giardini Naxos; lava beaches like Acireale, and rugged basaltic cliffs to Catania. The southern coast - facing Africa is generally sandy and uniform in the central part formed by the largest gulf in the region, the Gulf of Gela, while it is more varied in the Ragusa area and in the Agrigento and Trapani stretch. In the south-eastern area there are the Iblei Mountains where the Etna volcano is located. Etna is still one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.
The wealth of Sicilian food and wine enjoys the succession over the centuries of the different dominations that have followed, leaving their traditions their food in the regional food background. The genuine products closely linked to the land, typical dishes of the Ragusa and Syracuse area derive from the Greeks, lovers of simplicity and purity of the body. The Arabs on the other hand, we have the combination of flavors such as sour or the use of raisins and pine nuts into the dough, typical of the western Sicilian cuisine. To this are also added the strongly spicy and spicy dishes, without forgetting the cinnamon or ricotta-filled desserts. The Normans imported the salting and drying techniques of large Atlantic cod, respectively cod and stockfish, into Sicily. The Spaniards however, were the architects of dishes as elaborate as the dough into the oven, the oranges, the Sardinian warbler and dessert in which one indulges with decorations and ornaments. The French instead brought the constant use of onion to Sicily, as well as introducing the shortcrust pastry and numerous dishes based on vegetables and fish.
The Sicilian tourist offer is linked primarily to its culture and history. Indelible marks have been left by all the peoples who lived on the island: from the Greeks and the Phoenicians, from the Romans and the Byzantines, from the Arabs and the Normans, from the Spaniards and Austrians. From 1700 the largest island in the Mediterranean became a must for the Grand Tour. Great writers such as Maupassant, Edmondo De Amicis, Elliot, Alexandre Dumas, Goethe and Tocqueville, to complete their training they visited Sicily, remaining fascinated by Etna and from the Aeolian Islands, or from those places known for classical art such as Syracuse, Segesta and Selinunte, or from details such as the Villa dei Mostri of Bagheria (PA) or the hill of the volcanoes of the Macalube of Aragon (AG).
Six Sicilian sites have become part of the "Unesco World Heritage" list:
The first of these is the Villa Romana del Casale, a late Roman villa close to Piazza Armerina (EN), known for its architecture and exquisite mosaics. In Agrigento, the 10 Greek temples in Doric order, three sanctuaries and some necropolises of the Hellenic period, are the protagonists of the Valley of the Temples, an archaeological area of 1,300 hectares which is also included in the prestigious list. The third site is represented by the Aeolian Islands, each offering its own beaches, coves, caves, inlets, stacks, sea bottoms and other incomparable natural beauties. The eight Baroque historical centers of Val di Noto are also part of the Unesco heritage, such as Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, awarded for their high architectural and artistic level. The last site is composed of the Pantalica necropolis with more than 5,000 tombs built between the 13th and 7th centuries BC, and Syracuse, with the ancient city that contains Ortigia, the first nucleus founded by the Greek colonists of Corinth, with its remains of the temple of Athena, now cathedral. Etna has also been proclaimed a Unesco heritage with its activities dating back over 2700 years- Here a unique scenario: you can ski while looking at the sea!
And the sea is an unmissable treasure. With its 1500 km of coasts, including the smaller islands, Sicily offers many solutions for a seaside holiday. Flat and infinite sandy beaches, small pebbles, white cliffs, with many shades of ocher, yellow and gray, even lava black, or even milk white like La Scala dei Turchi, in the Agrigento area. The big cities all offer equipped beaches such as the Palermo beach of Mondello with its sporting events, the white sand and palm trees, the liberty architecture, or the Playa of Catania, dear to writers, the coast of San Leone outside Agrigento or Fontane White Syracuse, just to mention the best known. The little-known beaches in the province of Agrigento in Menfi and Torre Salsa, where naturists find their paradise. The best known are the top beaches of the smaller islands, Aeolian, Egadi, Pelagie, Pantelleria and Ustica, the latter being the most beautiful destination for diving enthusiasts.
The coast that leads from Trapani to Marsala offers an extraordinary spectacle, in which the salt marshes and the reserve of the Stagnone Islands are inserted, a vast lagoon that includes San Pantaleo, the ancient Mozia, the perfect balance between art and landscape and a destination for kitesurf enthusiasts, and also Santa Maria and the Isola Grande.
With nautical tourism, the island can host about 13 thousand boats in more than 30 marinas according to the numbers of the latest report of the National Nautical Observatory. Among the largest are the modern one of Marina di Cala del Sole in Licata, Marina di Portorosa in Furnari sul Tirreno, Marina di Ragusa, Marina Villa Igiea in Palermo, port of San Nicola L'Arena, Sciacca and that of Ulysses Ognina in Syracuse.
If you are thinking of taking a holiday in Sicily, you will surely want to enjoy its beaches and crystal clear waters! The beaches of Sicily need no introduction: they are simply havens to be experienced. If you want to spend your holidays in dream places, then, you won't have to go far; just choose the destination and enjoy the sun and the beauties of this ever-changing coast, which passes from the rocks that plunge into the sea to the long stretches of low beach with fine sand, with very rich sea beds protected by underwater reserves.
Our recommended yacht cruises in Sicily
Guide section - work in progress
Guide section - work in progress
Weather in Sicily
Rain tomorrow through Monday.
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