Sicily is one of my favorite places to visit in Italy. Love the weather, the rolling hills, the hilltop villages and most of all the ancient ruins throughout the island. Here is a quick snapshot of some of our favorite places to see when there. I will have much more detailed report coming soon. This is just a teaser!
Castlemarre del Golfo This city is the perfect location 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 splendid 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 Medieval hilltop village filled with historic churches, castles and fortress. Fun little streets to meander through with excellent cafe’s and bars. The views of Sicily from here are spectacular.
Selinunte This large archeological park is 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 by the sea. Stop by and taste the local Marsala
Agrigento Valley of the Temples is the largest and most popular historical park in Sicily. You can still walk through these ancient temples that were once held in high esteem by the people. A rock graveyard was chiseled into the ancient fortress walls that stood to protect the city.
Piazza Armerina Once you have seen the vividly detailed mosaic floors you will compare every tiled mosaic you see from now on to it. These are one of a kind floors that tell a story in history that is found every room. See how they went out for the hunt, how to use the Roman Baths, to working out in the gymnasium. All are in perfect detail. You will also notice things haven’t changed much from that time until now, similar to a Kardashian Facebook post they teach what a bedroom is all about.
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. Homes and buildings are stacked up on top of each other along cobbled lanes. At the top is the Basilica de San Giorgio, built with perfect neoclassical structure it offers some of the best views of the city.
Catania Visit the stunning 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 Popular hilltop village that looks out over the translucent Mediterranean sea. Noted for the ancient Greek theater that has a spectacular view of Mt. Etna. It is still used today for concerts and plays. Taormina has great shopping for Ceramics, local art, stylish clothes, jewelry, mosaic art and historic puppets Sicily is known for. And by all means if you have the chance, see a puppet 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 a few good pizzerias to choose from.
So now you have had a quick introduction to Sicily, think you would want to go?