Sicily For The Experienced And Not So Experienced Italy Traveller
Sicily is for the traveller who wishes to see another side of Italy – so historically interesting and intriguing.
With its 5.0m inhabitants Sicily is a very sophisticated part of Italy with a rich cultural and architectural history and wonderful food and wine. If you have seen a good deal of “belle Italia” then now its now time to see Sicily.
Cooler Months – Comfortable In Sicily
Sicily is a great place to visit off peak October/November to March/April – during Italy’s winter and cooler months and outside the core Italian tourist visiting months of April to October.
A Sicilian summer is not for the faint hearted when it can be very, very hot particularly in July and August; so if you travel to Sicily avoid these months. In August, the Italian holiday month, many of the hospitality industry close up shop and go on holiday – it’s just too hot to work.
However during the winter months November to March while Milan’s temperature ranges between 1.1C and 6.9C [34F and 44F] Palermo the capital of Sicily, in the north west of the island, enjoys the wonderfully mild winter weather of between 12.5C and 17.1C [54.9F and 62.8F] so that is the time to visit Sicily in comfort. Likewise the number of tourists is much lower during this period so you don’t have to share the island with crowds.
Arrriving And Getting Around
Sicily has two airports – one 22 miles west of Palermo – Aeroporto Falcone Borsellino on the north west of the island and on the east coast just out of Catania the Aeroporto Fontanarossa. The island is connected to the mainland by boat/train services as well as hydrofoil and ferry service. Internally train and bus services are extensive and hire car is also a useful way to tour Sicily.
What not to miss in Sicily
It is one of the Great Island Adventures – beautiful and steeped in ancient history and culture
- Palermo with a population of nearly 700,000 people is the capital city of the island region in the north-west of Sicily is a major port. Famous for its markets [e.g. Vucciria market] puppet museum the Museo delle Marionette and this art form in performance, the magnificent Teatro Massimo – Palermo’s opera house as well as delivering more populist performances. The museum Museo Archeologico Regionale explaining with its exhibits the richness of Sicily’s archaeology – this is the treasure of Sicily – it’s ancient past. Also go to the Palazzo Reale [once a royal court and now the region’s government house] the Cattedrale, Galleria Regionale [another museum] and the local catacombs [if you have an interest in religious history]
- Agrigento with a population of 50,000 situated on the south coast of Sicily is home to the incredible Valley of the Temples – don’t miss this world class attraction. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Catania is a city of 300,000 people on the east coast of Sicily and is known for its immediate proximity and history of tragic connection in 1669 with the eruption of Europe’s largest active volcano at Mt Etna which occasionally spews ash onto the city. Catania is a commercial centre and a university city. Ancient structures to see include the Roman Theatre, the Odeon, Santa Maria della Rotonda and the Roman Amphitheatre some of these ruins over 18 centuries old. Well worth a visit are the Duomo and the Teatro Massimo Bellini. A close up visit to nearby Mt Etna is recommended subject to conditions at the volcano
- Siracusa is a city of 120,000 people on the south east coast of Sicily It has a rich ancient Greek connected history and archeological heritage. In the north west of Siracusa is Neopolis the city’s Archeological Zone and home to the magnificent outdoor 500BC theatre Teatro Greco cut into rock and the Roman Amphitheatre. Siracusa has many more relics of ancient times to visit. The island of Ortigia is the historical centre of Siracusa and is a dream to wander about. It has many pleasant atmospheric aspects historic buildings and churches including the Temple of Apollo. The island has wonderful restaurants and bars. The social tradition of the promenade is well and alive in Ortigia.
- Taormina is a beautiful resort city of a mere 10,000 people on the northern part of the east coast. It is situated high above the sea with a magnificent view of Mt Etna. A resort town to the rich and famous where shopping is a serious item of interest as is the major attraction the Teatro Greco of horseshoe design and still used during the annual arts festival.
Finally don’t miss the Aeolian Islands of the north east coast; and from Siracusa the easily accessible towns of Noto, Ragusa and Modica. The ruins enthusiasts will enjoy Segesta and Selinunte. Out of Palermo visit the Monreale for the mosaics. Food enthusiasts will not want to miss a visit to Trapani the fishing and ferry port town on the west coast famous for its traditional Sicilian food.
Is Sicily A Safe Destination?
Yes, but like in a lot of cities worldwide petty theft is a problem that you need to be aware of to ensure an event-free trip. The things you do at home to ensure security of valuables and general safety you need to take on holiday with you to Italy. If travelling by car ensure that you use secure parking as you would at home. Is the mafia going to be a part of your visit to Sicily – not likely.
Add a bit more to your experiences
If you want another slice of Italian life use a monastery as your lodgings. Check out www.monasterystays.com. The cooler months for Italy are just around the corner – so make your booking early. Enjoy Sicily – the Great Island Adventure during these months.