Italy’s iconic cities like Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan have long drawn visitors from all over the world while Sicilians quietly made wine, grew citrus, almonds, pistachios and enjoyed the best seafood. However, word has spread about the island’s stunning coastline, old towns, and numerous attractions. The big island with three corners off the tip of Italy’s boot is now well known for everything it has to offer. Now, people are realizing what a magnificent place Sicily is. Take a look below at some of the amazing things Sicily has to offer.
Sicily’s favorite meals are influenced by its location, history, and own brand of Italian cuisine. Couscous, which reflects Arabic origins, is frequently found on menus, while pasta is served with a variety of toppings, with each region having its own flavor. With the island’s more than 600 miles of coastline, there is an abundance of fresh, delectable fish. Sardines are served both on their own and in the tasty pasta con le sarde, which also contains fennel, pine nuts, and raisins. Tomato, eggplant, and salata ricotta are ingredients in pasta alla Norma (salted ricotta cheese). A favorite antipasto is caponata, a delectable concoction of tomatoes, capers, and eggplant with various variations. Fried rice balls known as arancini are other popular nibbles.
Sicilians are recognized for their excellent cannoli, which are fried pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta. Favorite desserts include cassata, a sponge cake with liqueur, ricotta, and marzipan (almond paste), as well as granita, crushed ice with flavors like fruit, almond, or coffee. A Sicilian specialty known as Frutta Martorana is made out of hand-decorated miniature fruits and vegetables. Almonds, pistachios, and citrus fruits from Sicily can be found in sweets like gelato and biscotti. And where else would you find the brioche con gelato, or gelato in a brioche bun, summertime breakfast treat?
Stunning Archaeological Sites
Some of the best preserved examples of Greek and Roman temples, buildings, and artwork may be found in Sicily. The almost completely preserved Temple of Concordia and columns from numerous ancient Greek temples can be found in Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, which is located to the southwest. The enormous amphitheater Siracusa, formerly the capital of Greece, built around the fifth century B.C., is still used for theatrical performances. Siracusa is located on the southeast coast of Sicily. There is also a Roman amphitheater from the third century AD in the vicinity. The ruins of the Temple of Apollo, constructed in the seventh century B.C., can be found on the nearby island of Ortigia.
The Teatro Greco, which dates to the third century B.C., is located further north along the coast in the hilltop city of Taormina. It was later expanded by the Romans. The theater now hosts plays, concerts, and film festivals, and guests may watch the performances while taking in views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. Near a huge amphitheater in Segesta, a stunning Doric temple has been standing for more than 2,000 years. Another spectacular archaeological site is Selinunte, which was once a significant Greek city on the southern coast. From all periods of Sicily’s history, sculpture and artifacts can be found in Palermo’s Regional Archaeological Museum.
Despite the fact that the Greeks have been making wine on the island for many centuries, Sicilian wines have only recently gained more recognition and popularity. The same-named fortified wines from Marsala, in the western region of Sicily, are divided by their age and residual sugar content. Excellent wines like Carricante (white) and Etna Rosso (red), which are mostly made from Nerello Mascalese grapes, are produced in the Mount Etna region of eastern Sicily thanks to volcanic soil and a hospitable environment. Nero d’Avola, a widely cultivated native vine, yields black, powerful, and complex wines.
The Carricante grape is the main component of white wines, which are occasionally referred to as Etna Bianco (white). The most widely grown grape, Catarratto, yields dry wines, and Grillo is another dry white wine with a medium body that pairs beautifully with seafood. When traveling to the island, make careful to sample local wines to find the best pairing for your meal. Look for Sicilian wines at home.
Some of the most breathtaking beaches in the region may be found on a number of island groupings off the coast of Sicily. In the Mediterranean, to the southwest of Sicily, are the Pelagie Islands. The largest of these islands, Lampedusa, has clean waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling and white sand beaches. With a day trip from Trapani, it is possible to see the Egadi Islands off the west coast of Sicily. The largest of the Egadis, Favignana, is home to opulent hotels, beautiful beaches, and well-known diving locations.
The volcanic Aeolian Islands are located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily. Visitors love Lipari’s hot springs and historic buildings, making it the biggest and most well-liked island. Panarea is a little town that is popular with tourists. There is an active volcano on the island of Stromboli, and lots of tourists go on guided excursions to the top. Salina Island is renowned for its mountain peak and delectable capers. Pantelleria, a volcanic island off the west coast of Sicily, is a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring fumaroles, mud spas, and agricultural goods like olives, grapes, and their famous capers.