Everything is beautiful in Sicily: both nature and architecture. There are attractions in almost every city. It is better to start your tour from Palermo with its castles, churches and monasteries of different styles and eras. The most solemn building of the city is the Palazzo Normanni, the former royal residence. Inside is the Palatine Chapel, decorated with intricate Byzantine mosaics. The medieval church of La Martorana, built in the Arab-Norman tradition with baroque elements, is loved by newlyweds. A completely different, eerie mood reigns in the gloomy Capuchin Catacombs, where the mummies of the local nobility of the 16-19 centuries are buried.
Another pride of the island is natural. Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, remains a mystery to scientists to this day. Walking along the local tourist routes is an unforgettable pleasure mixed with adrenaline.
We read about Mount Etna in a guide book while drinking tea from a thermos on the side of the highway leading to its base. Behind us is a dense chestnut forest, where hares run. To the left, a blossoming apple tree pulls its branches through a low fence. On the horizon, the black-and-white peak of Etna emerges from a grayish haze…
At the foot of Etna is Catania with Roman, early Christian and medieval monuments. The Cathedral of St. Agatha with a baroque facade was built on the site of ancient baths, the Ursino Fortress houses the City Museum.
Another legend of Sicily is the grandiose Valley of the Temples near the city of Agrigento. Among the ancient ruins of the 5th-6th centuries BC. e. you can find the temple of Olympian Zeus, the temple of Concord and buildings in honor of Juno, Hercules and other gods.
Traces of the former greatness of Syracuse – the largest city of antiquity – were discovered in the archaeological excavation zone. Greek theater 5th century BC e. survived almost completely, the Roman amphitheater survived worse.
The “Ear of Dionysius” in Syracuse is a huge crevice in the rock, where the ruler, according to legend, drove slaves to hear their every word: the acoustics here are excellent.
According to definitionexplorer, Messina has the oldest Dome Cathedral on the island and the largest astronomical clock in the world. Taormina is luxurious beaches, picturesque capes, the ruins of Naumachia and the palace of Corvaia. In Trapani, you must visit the saltworks, working on ancient Phoenician technologies, in neighboring Marsala, the Cantine Pellegrino winery with famous fortified wines. And how many more castles, temples and museums are hidden in local cities! Each traveler has his own route and his own Sicily.
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8 things to do in Sicily
- First of all, go to the magnificent beaches of the island: blissful doing nothing is the specialty of Italians.
- Visit the capital of “my family” – the modest town of Corleone.
- Get your dose of “excursion” in the magnificent archaeological parks of Syracuse.
- Marvel at the grandeur of the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento.
- Take a picture against the backdrop of the stairs of the Massimo Opera House in Palermo illuminated in The Godfather.
- Buy a figurine made of solidified lava in the market or right at the foot of Etna.
- Appreciate the taste of Sicilian pizza and pasta.
- Refresh your wardrobe at the huge outlet sales in Catania.
Sicily for children
A family excursion to Etna is best combined with a visit to the Etnaland amusement park (website in English). Here you can have fun on water rides, ride the 1800-meter cable car, look at the animals in the zoo, wander around the dinosaur park – in general, have a great time.
The most popular water park is located near Syracuse: Aretuza has more than 20 attractions for visitors of all ages, as well as numerous cafes and equipped recreation areas.
The Sicilian Biopark is located in the town of Carini (website). On its territory there is a greenhouse with tropical plants, an aquarium, a terrarium, a zoo and several thematic expositions. In Palermo, the only ornithological park in Italy, Orleans, has been opened. More than 3,000 birds live here: pink flamingos, herons, pheasants, pelicans and dozens of species of parrots.
Viagrande has a “Butterfly House” (website in English) – a natural complex where multi-colored beauties flutter everywhere. It may also be interesting to visit the Puppet Museum in Palermo with a rich collection of traditional Sicilian pupi puppets.
The climate in Sicily is subtropical Mediterranean, with a noticeable temperature difference between the coast and the interior of the island. It sometimes doesn’t rain for months, with light precipitation falling mainly in the winter months, from December to March. Summers are hot, winters are mild and short. It is warmest in July and August, coolest in December and February, you can swim from May to November.
The island is very windy: the sultry African sirocco brings heat and sandstorms. The high tourist season lasts from May to October. Not everyone knows that dry and sunny weather is also set in November and March-April, so this time is ideal for fans of secluded relaxation.