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Sicily Travel guide

Cefalu, general view of the town Temple of Segesta Salt marshes around Marsala
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Sicily : Michelin's recommendations

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Hasn’t everyone dreamt of climbing Etna, the fascinating 3,345-metre-high volcano that looks down over the Ionian Sea to the east? The famous philosopher Empedocles is said to have been the first to attempt the ascent. The “column of the sky”, as it was described by Pindar, gave a basalt hue to the walls of the towns spilling over its slopes.
Along its sandy beaches and cliffs, Sicily and its magical archipelagos tell the story of Magna Graecia and its incessant power struggles. The Valley of the Temples and Agrigente evoke the past opulence and splendour of this distinctive part of Italy. Mixed in with the omnipresent Hellenistic and Roman remains are those from the Arab and Norman conquests. Rarely has any land been so highly coveted!
Nowadays the volatile reputation of this largest of the Mediterranean islands seems to have less to do with its unpredictable volcano and history than with the Cosa Nostra, the famous mafia clan that was the inspiration for Francis Coppola’s legendary film The Godfather . The gorgeous and decadent city of Palermo, full of Eastern flavour and eclectic beauty, spreads over the fertile Conca d’Oro plain. It is hot in Sicily, and the island’s exotic gardens are the ideal place for an afternoon nap. The climate ‘‘inflicts a 104° fever on us for six months’’ said Prince Salina in The Leopard, but to our delight it has also poured sunlight on Sicilian grapes, producing fruity wines that are well worth sampling.

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Sicily : Must-see towns and regions

  • Messina

    The history of Messina has always been connected with the sea and the strait that separates it from the Italian peninsula, from the time of the Greeks, who chose the area in the 8C BC because of its n...

  • The main attraction of this village is the extraordinary apothecary’s pharmacy which is well worth a visit. The village is also home to a castle which is a cross between a fortress and an aristocratic...

  • Canneto

    Nestling in a cove, this small town on the island of Lipari is a good base for excursions to white beaches (spiagge bianche) which can be accessed via a footpath. Here, both the beaches and the sea ar...

  • Lipari

    Dominated by its fortress, the island's capital overlooks two bays, both of which are used as harbours (Marina Lunga and Marina Corta). The lower town of Lipari is perfect for a relaxing stroll, with ...

  • Monte Sant'Angelo

    Built on a 803m rocky spur and dominated by its imposing castle, Monte Sant'Angelo occupies a breathtaking location overlooking the Gargano promontory and the sea. According to legend, the abbey was f...

  • Aeolian or Lipari Islands

    The Aeolian islands comprise seven islands off the coast of Sicily, each of which has their own character. Lipari and Paranea are popular with tourists; Salina is quieter and less visited; Stromboli a...

  • San Vito lo Capo

    San Vito is a pretty, whitewashed village huddled around its 18C Chiesa Madre. This square-shaped and imposing church reminds us of its origins as a Saracen fortress. However, the village is mainly kn...

  • Castellammare del Golfo

    This town nestles at the end of the beautiful Castellamare bay which stretches from Capo San Vito to Cape Roma. It was once a port and trading post for Segesta and Erice, and is today a popular seasid...

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