Looking for sunshine and ruins on a cold winters day we decided to book a trip to Sicily. I love the fields of lemon trees as you drive through the interior and the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean there. It’s a favorite destination for our family and if you plan to go there sometime I know it will be very special for you too.
Here are my top 12 must see sites in Sicily:
Castlemarre del Golfo a great place to visit the Zingaro Natural Reserve and Segesta. A cute village with a picturesque marina and ancient fortress. Very busy in the summer months for a reason, good food, great location, and pleasant.
Segesta located about 15 minutes from Castelmarre del Golfo has spendid temple ruins to wander through and a Greek Amphitheater that overlooks the temple is still in use today for concerts and plays. The city was rumored to have been built around 650 B.C.
Erice hilltop village filled with historic churches, castles and fortress. Fun little streets to meander with excellent cafe’s and bars. The views of Sicily from here are spectacular.
Selinunte a large archaeological park situated along the sea with many ruins and large temple or Acropolis. Depending on your energy level you can take the short walk to the Acropolis or the 20 minute walk to the old town ruins on the bluffs along the sea. Stop by and taste the local Marsala in town.
Agrigento Valley of the Temples is the largest and most popular historical park in Sicily. You can still walk through these ancient temples that once were held in high esteem by the people. a graveyard chiseled into the ancient walls that stood to protect the city.
Piazza Armerina Once you have walked through the vividly detailed mosaic floor of the house you will compare every tile mosaic you see from now on to it. One of a kind floors that tell a story in every room from the hunt, how to use the Roman Baths to the workout gymnasium and even the bedrooms. All are in perfect detail.
Ragusa a town of architectural delights. As you approach you can see from either side of the road that nothing has changed in the last 500 years. Home and buildings stacked on top of each other reaching top heights by cobbled lanes. At the top the Basilica de San Giorgio is the perfect neoclassical structure that offers some of the best views of the city.
Catania a must see is the Church of San Benedetto with the intricate high frescoed ceilings and Murano glass chandeliers. Rivals any church Europe for beauty and art. Baroque architecture that houses salons, piano room, and the gallery of mirrors that make the rooms look larger than life itself.
Taormina another hilltop village that looks out over the translucent Mediterranean sea. The ancient Greek theater is still used today for concerts and plays. Just behind the main stage is a spectacular view of Mt. Etna. Taormina has great shopping for Ceramics, local art, stylish clothes, jewelry, mosaics and puppets, yes the famous Taormina puppets that are still so popular in Sicily. And by all means if you have the chance, go see a show!
Palermo A large city which is easy to get lost in but sometimes that is good! Palermo has little hidden treasures to discover. A favorite is the Ballarò Market the largest market in Sicily filled with busy merchants selling local fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. Or you might find a quiet cafe with the best cuisine Sicily has to offer. Art is everywhere along with interesting architecture.
Monnreale Cathedral just outside of Palermo is one of the most extravagant mosaic churches this side of St. Marks Basilica in Venice. The Pantocrator above the altar is one of the best from the 12th century. Golden tiled walls surround the inside of the sanctuary tell of various stories in the bible in vivid detail.
Cefalu quaint and laid back Cefalu is a popular seaside resort used by Sicilians for weddings it’ is luring travelers from all over the world as a preferred holiday destination. Built along the sea and hills of Northern Sicily this small fishing village with its medieval streets is a great place to explore old Sicilian life. There are quite a few good pizzerias in Cefalu if you love the Sicilian kind.