Popular spots like Tuscany, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast typically top the list when people dream up their perfect Italian vacation. But there is something special about a place like Sicily, where good food, great wine, and historic architecture come together for a unique yet authentic Italian experience. If you want to immerse yourself in Italian culture without the tourist crowds typically found in other spots, Sicily could be the destination you're looking for.
Sicily's capital Palermo is a perfect place to start! The street food is just incredible, the people are welcoming and proud, and the culture is so unique. Heritage is so important to the people of Sicily, and it is so apparent with the generations of families that pass on skills and businesses like winemaking and woodworking. I would highly encourage anyone to walk through the local markets and talk with the people there. You'll immediately feel their passion for what they do and where they are from.
Let's highlight a few of the other wonderful things and places on the island that could move it to the top of your bucket list.
Situated right off the tip of Italy's boot, Sicily draws from so many cultures around it. You'll find Arabic, Spanish, and Greek influences in the cuisine especially. Fresh seafood is plentiful and you'll often find it incorporated into pasta dishes. Fried rice balls called arancini are also popular on Sicilian menus. However, the island's real claim to fame is being the birthplace of the cannoli dessert. Sicilians love a delicious dessert and also came up with the brioche con gelato, a literal ice cream sandwich with fresh gelato on a brioche bun.
The volcanic soil from Sicily's Mount Etna makes for some delicious and complex wines. The most well-known, perhaps, is Marsala. Dry white wines are also popular, a perfect accompaniment to the many seafood dishes.
Stunning beaches and geography
Sicily's hundreds of miles of coastline offer a variety of beach scenes, like volcanic sand, pebbles, to soft and white sandy areas. All offer warm, blue water for beachgoers to enjoy.
Mount Etna is another popular destination. It is the highest Mediterranean island volcano and one of the most active in the world. Its significance actually dates back to the ancient Greeks who believed it was home to the one-eyed monster Cyclops. Travelers make their way to Etna year-round to explore its landscape by hiking or even skiing.
A glimpse of history
Sicily is home to some of the most well-preserved Greek and Roman temples and structures. Many travelers make a point to visit Agrigento's Valley of the Temples in the southwest part of the island (while you're there, you'll definitely want to try the pecorino ice cream). Largely intact historic amphitheaters are now home to theater productions, festivals, and other events.
Cathedrals with stunning mosaics and art are also spread throughout the island.
Is Sicily on your must-see list? Do you have a family tie to Sicily? Let us help you plan the perfect Sicilian vacation!
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