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About Sicily

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Sicily Guide

Sicily is an island full of strong contrasts, a land rich in history and culture, lively, enticing cities of art, ancient fishermen’s villages where time seems to have come to a standstill and amazing natural wonders, beautiful beaches and islands where you can relax surrounded by crystal clear waters. The island is a crossroads for populations who were completely different from one another, who have all left permanent traces of themselves in the island’s culture.

Art and Culture
Through the centuries, Sicily has been rules by the Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians and Spanish, who all built cities and changes the people’s habits and traditions each time they were conquered and taken over. Visitors to Sicily’s cities today can still see the ancient Greek-Roman buildings, the easily recognizable Arabic-Norman fortresses, the imposing Baroque style buildings, and the churches with their amazing interiors covered in Byzantine mosaics such as the famous Palatine Chapel in Palermo, and many others too.
The Greek-origin cities are mostly on the west side of the island, where we can find Selinunte, Segesta, Siracusa and Agrigento, with its fantastic Valley of Temples. Architecturally speaking, Eastern Sicily is much more influenced by the Sicilian Baroque style, used to build monuments and buildings after the terrible earthquake of 1693. The worst hit area was Val di Noto, which was completely rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. The area includes the cities of Ragusa, Modica, Scicli, Ispica and Noto, wonderful “stone gardens” that are remains of the Sicilian Baroque ear and which are included in UNESCO’S prestigious World Heritage List.
The island has some other fabulous towns to visit, such as Taormina, the “pearl of the Ionian Sea”, Enna, “Sicily’s belly button”, Piazza Armerina, Caltagirone “the ceramic town” and Catania, with its Baroque palaces in black and white and its irresistible nightlife.

Nature and Relaxation
Sicily is fascinating for its thousands of years of history and for its cities of art but also for the countless natural beauties on the island. Nature here changes deeply, from the majestic sight of Etna to the gently sloping hills, full of olive groves, vineyards and citrus fruit groves, from the fine sandy beaches on the Vendicari Reserve, Pozzallo and Isola Bella to the steep cliffs, the amazing Gole dell’Alcantara and the islands, buzzing or quiet, such as Pantelleria, Ustica, Lipari, Stromboli, Favignana, Salina and Panarea.

Food and Drink
Sicily’s food is similar to its architecture, a meeting point between East and West: this “contamination” from different cultures has produced daring, successful mixes of tastes that make traditional Sicilian cuisine a fascinating, unique experience for the senses. Fish, the main ingredient used, is prepared in a thousand different ways, mixing it with the unusual, strong aromas of herbs and spices such as mint and wild fennel. Sicilian cakes, from cassata to frutta martorana, deserve a special mention, and so does the island’s wines, especially Nero d’Avola, a quality wine that is rapidly becoming famous overseas too.

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