Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean separated from the continent by the Strait of Messina.
It is a multicultural island that has been dominated by fourteen different races of people over the centuries including the Bourbons, Arabs, Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Moors, Spanish & many others. No wonder there is so much to discover in this crucible of Mediterranean culture.
One of the largest cities of Sicily is Catania which boasts a wealth of Baroque architecture and is situated between the Ionian Sea and the famous Mount Etna, Europe’s greatest active volcano. Catania bears the consequences of past lava flows and earthquakes over time and is an extremely atmospheric place.
PALERMO is Sicily's cultural, economic and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food attracting tourists from all over the world. It is renowned for gastronomy, the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches as well as great nightlife. Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe.
TRAPANI is located on the western coast of Sicil and functions as a fishing and ferry port with a long history. Nowadays the town is renowned for its fine seafood and Sicilian cuisine, and makes a good base for tourists exploring this part of the island. Trapani occupies a low-lying promontory with a curving harbour which, combined with its position, made the town into an important hub for traders and travellers.
The old town, extending westwards with sea on either side, is worth a visit, old palazzo has some crumbling and grand buildings clusterd along the promontory around the central Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle. Out at the tip of Trapani's headland is the Torre Del Ligny, a tower which was part of the 17th-century Spanish defences and now hosts a Prehistoric Museum. A stroll around the largely-pedestrianized old town allows you to admire the town's old buildings and landmarks such as the offshore fortress called the Torre Della Colombia or Castello Del Mare (Sea Castle).
EGARDI ISLANDS. These islands have a more low-key appeal that the Aeolian islands ,but this along with their accessibility, gives them their own brand of charm. Here you can swim in the crystal clear waters, hill-walk into the islands interior or just sit and relax and enjoy the stunning views. There is a protected marine reserve around the islands, whose coastal waters contain caves, shipwrecks and rich marine life. You will encounter a very authentic and welcoming local atmosphere.
There are three islands in all. FAVIGNANA is the largest and busiest island, crossed in a north-south direction by a hilly ridge named Montagna Grossa. Florio Palace stands prominently on arrival and was built in the second half of the nineteen century by a trading family from Palermo which bought the entire archipelago and acquired all fishing rights.
Outside the urban area, the landscape is spotted with pastures and cultures, separated by a close net of stone walls. The only sign of population is the presence of small whitewashed houses surrounded by rare Indian fig and palm trees.
The third island is MARETTIMO, whose scenic make-up is completely different to the other islands as it is surrounded by the Falcone mountain, while the Dolomite rocks nestling in the beautiful crystal blue waters add to the exotic feel of the island. The diving is superb and a climb up the Falcone mountain through a natural path is a rewarding exertion for those energetic enough to make the effort.
The most eastern of all the islands is the famous STROMBOLI island, home of the world's most active volcano that you can visit nevertheless. Enjoy the views of the firey volcano at night from the yacht and take a trip to the oldest lighthouse in the world and enjoy a delicious lunch at the Ristorante La Locanda del Barbablu –Tel: +39- 090-986118.
PANAREA is the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, and is often referred to as the “St Tropez of Italy”. The main village, Contrada San Pietro, consists of a group of white houses clustered along the eastern side of the island. The built up area is crowned with olive trees and protected by huge walls. In the exact opposite corner lies the Bronze Age village of Punta Milazzese. This can be reached by foot from the beach of San Pietro in about one hour. Try the Hotel Raya for a great meal. Tel: +39 090 983013
For spectacular scenery and wild rugged coastline, combined with thermal springs, LIPARI is the island to visit. Stop at the Ristorante Filippino for lunch Tel. +39-090-9811002. For shopping, stop off on VULCANO island, where you can also relax in the famous soft bubbling mud bath at the Therasia Resort and Sap Wellness Centre, Tel: +39-090-9852555
Off the north coast of Sicily is ALICUDI island, an unspoilt piece of paradise that is only 2.5 km wide but has known its own importance in history as a major grain producer.
SALINA seems to have escaped mass tourism unlike many other smaller islands. Many people refer to Salina as a “little Switzerland” due to its unusually green & mountainous aspect. Salina also hosts a large natural park.
For dining out try the Hotel Signum- Tel. +39- 090-9844222 or Capofaro Malvasia & Resort Tel: +39- 090- 9844 330/1
Finally, the bronze age villa on FICULDI island is an interesting attraction as well as the Grotta del Bue Marino. Fresh fish and seafood are a plenty on this beautiful island with stunnig panoramic views.