Being half Sicilian, I may be little biased here, but I can honestly say Sicily has such character, I guarantee you will struggle to find elsewhere in Europe. I feel so extremely lucky to call this place my home, I just want to share it all with you!!! ……. So Sicily, the small island off the South West coast of Italy, is a place many want to visit. But what exactly is it about Sicily that people are so keen to see?
(Rometta, Messina – A Family Vineyard)
Most people who have visited Sicily will tell you how it is very old, mountainous, and in many places, desolate. It sounds like the opposite to what you would normally expect from a holiday destination. But that it exactly what makes Sicily so beautiful. Barely untouched by tourism, urbanisation and consumerism, Sicily is pretty much unspoiled. For me, I couldn’t think of anything more culturally exciting than that.
Firstly the FOOD. I wont even go further than that. If you know anything about real Italian food, you will understand.. and if you don’t, just trust me! If you’ve ever been to a small Italian family run restaurant, you may have an idea as to what Italian food has to offer. The island itself is small enough to travel from one side to the other in around 4 hours, making it a great place to explore. Mt Etna is Sicily’s iconic active volcano. On clear days, you can see Etna smoking and if you’re lucky enough, you may even see it spewing out lava. I know you’re probably thinking “Why on EARTH would I go somewhere with a volcano that’s throwing out molten lava?!” Not to worry, it happens continuously, and you can even take a trek up the mountain itself.
The island has an option of beach or mountains (I couldn’t think of two better options to choose from!), which are dotted with tiny towns. Along the coast you will find small town after town, and in the mountains you can travel up winding roads, passing historic and stunning villages. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible the island really is. The bakeries, which open at 4am, the ice cream sorbets, and the warm, welcoming people of Sicily make it all that more fantastic to visit.
I could talk about this place forever, but if you are planning a trip to Sicily, or are trying to decide where to go, I’ll fill you in on a few places to go and things to see in this amazing, Mediterranean island.
1. Agrigento: This stunning South coast town is well known for its Greek Temples and White Rocks. Built by the Greeks, the temples will be some what familiar to you if you have been to Athens. It has a Greek feel to it, just without the vast city surroundings. It is a great day out visiting the temples, which are spread across lovely orange, sandy soil. There is a typical long beach stretch along the coast, and beautiful seaside hotels.
2. Taormina: This beautiful historic, mountain village is well known for it’s quaint streets and breathtaking, restaurant views. Just outside of Catania, it is easily accessible via bus. This may be an easier option than trying to park a car on the tiny mountain. There are also options for park and ride. Once in the village, you will be greeted with lovely market stalls. During the day there is the chance to visit the old amphitheatre, with panoramic views of Mount Etna, and Isola Bella, the beautiful, rock island, reachable by a sand path. The towns beauty transcends the day time, well into the night, with restaurants overlooking the sprinkling of lights across the mountains.
3. Cefalù: Along the coast, East of Palermo, Cefalù is another wonderful and old Sicilian town. With a spectacular busy beach, next to the stunning old town, Cefalù has lots to offer for a day out. The old medieval town is full of Italian history, and the unmissable two towered Duomo is a popular attraction to visit. Through the small side streets, it is easy to get lost and discover hidden restaurants and coffee shops.
I hope this gives you a little more of an idea of what Sicily has to offer. This is really just a tiny spec of the incredible islands. I am absolutely shattered so you’ll have to wait for pt 2!! Please please leave your comments on what you think. It would be very welcomed and great to see peoples opinions on my favourite tiny island. It’s so close to home if you’re in Europe. Here are some of my favourite pictures from my around my home village. The last photo was taken in August 2014. Just shows you how much Sicily has not changed over the years. Its a place that has really kept it’s beauty. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Ciao Bambini, Amore e Baci, Nicola xx