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Sicily

Destination Guide: Sicily


Off the foot of the Italian boot stands the Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily. With over 25,000 kilometres of land to call its own, and as the polygonal crossroad between Europe and Africa, it’s no wonder that Sicilians dance along to their own melody; a melody which differs from any other region of Italy.

Imagine the backdrop of Mount Etna, the blazing heat of neighbouring North Africa, a collision of the Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean seas, all enwrapped with the Italian way of life. Sicily is a unique world, one which is full of exciting sights and flavours.

Getting There


 

Airports


The four major airports are Palermo-Falcone Borsellino Airport, Trapani Vincenzo Florio Airport, Catania Vincenzo Bellini Airport, and Comiso / Vincenzo Magliocco Airport. All four airports service international visitors but direct flights are at limited availability, with many flights connecting at Rome.

Trains


One of the easiest ways to travel to Sicily is by train. All major Italian cities offer trains services to the island; travel from Milan, Venice, Rome or Naples and expect anything up to 15 hours’ travel time.
Ferries

Ferry


There are eight ferry ports in Sicily alone; Catania, Messina, Milazzo, Palermo, Palermo Termini Imerese, Porto Empidocle, Pozzallo and Trapani. So getting to Sicily from mainland Italy is extremely convenient. For those looking to drive from London, a 20 hour ferry ride from Genoa to Palermo can help to break up the journey. There are also ferry links with Malta and Tunisia.

Sicily Properties


 

Casale Ragusa

From £2000/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 9
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £286
A beautiful property with private swimming pool set in the countryside near the town of Ragusa and the Donnafugata Castle. A picturesque environment, framed by century-old olive and carob trees, encompasses the dwelling which enjoys relaxing views over the surrounding countryside from its large terraces, garden and pool. Beaches 15 Km, restaurant 3 Km. Special offer: special price for parties of max 6 people , excluding the period 24/06/2017 - 25/08/2017

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
9 Guests

Casetta Maranzano

From £995/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Shared Pool
From £142
A charming residence ideally situated on the edge of Buseto Palizzolo, a small hillside village in northern Sicily, 15 kilometres from Trapani. The property is part of an ancient 'baglio' - a collection of 3 stonebuilt buildings centred around a pretty courtyard. Ideally situated within walking distance to a shop and restaurant. Recently renovated the casetta offers tasteful interiors and modern comforts such as air-con.

3 Beds
2 Bathrooms
6 Guests

La Spiaggia Alta

From £780/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
From £111
A bright spacious apartment set in a sought after location directly on a sandy beach. Stunning sea views. Only 1 km delicatessen, 1 Km restaurant and 30 km Palermo airport. Tastefully furnished in a contemporary style. The perfect base for your Sicilian beach holiday! This apartment can be rented with another two in the same building to sleep up to 14 people. The property enjoys an enviable position right on the beach. Each apartment has its own large, equipped terrace overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare. Furnished with taste and comfort in mind, these spacious apartments are equipped with internet Wi-Fi, satellite TV, external shower and bbq. The direct access to the beach - which is shared between the two apartments - is via an easy flight of stairs (about 15 steps) from the terrace of apartment 1. The house is also a great starting point for exploring the beautiful surrounding area: Castellammare del Golfo, Scopello, San Vito lo Capo, Erice, Trapani and Segesta are all only a short drive away. Private parking, air-con and Wifi.

4 Beds
2 Bathrooms
6 Guests

Villa Agora Agrigento

From £3794/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 14
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £542
Villa Agorà is an exclusive villa with private swimming pool near Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, majestic archaeological area listed as a World Heritage site. Ideal property for those seeking privacy, comfort and relaxation, this villa is set in a pleasant rural area, not far from the beach. Immersed in a luxuriant garden, the property consists of two buildings overlooking the large pool and a beautiful Jacuzzi hidden among the rocks. Facilities include a small football pitch and a games room (table tennis, table football and billiard table), BBQ, wood oven, Wifi and air-con. Each bedroom has a mini bar and television. Tennis court only 50 metres from the property. Special offer: special price for parties of max 10 people 2018 DATES STILL AVAILABLE: 19 May to 16 June, 23 June to 07 July, 06 to 09 September, 22 to 29 September

7 Beds
7 Bathrooms
14 Guests

Villa Avola

From £2495/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
From £356
A fabulous beach front property on Sicily's East coast. Villa Avola is ideally situated only 80 Km from Catania airport and within walking distance of a restaurant and grocery shop. Surrounded by a well tended garden, this exclusive villa offers wide, panoramic terraces, a dining area with outdoor kitchen and a private access to the beautiful beach of fine sand. The villa doesn't have a swimming pool - as the sparking turquoise sea is only steps from the house. Air-con throughout.

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
6 Guests

Villa Buseto

From £3570/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 16
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £510
Ideally situated within walking distance of the village of Buseto Palizzolo (1 Km) and 20 Km from Trapani. Villa Buseto is located in a sunny, quiet but not secluded location with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The bright, spacious interiors are comfortably and tastefully furnished with a combination of antique and contemporary pieces. All 8 bedrooms are en-suite and have air-con. There is a restaurant only 200 metres away and a shop 400 metres. Special offer: special price for parties of max 10 people

8 Beds
10 Bathrooms
16 Guests

Villa Dalia

From £3213/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £459
Luxury contemporary villa with private pool, under floor cooling system, cinema room, internet connection, fitness room, private concierge... The list goes on. Beaches only 14km. Special offer: special price for parties of max 8 people

6 Beds
8 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Enzo

From £2800/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £400
Situated on the slopes of mount Etna, Villa Enzo is ideally situated on the edge of a pretty village called 'TreCastagni'. Shops, restaurants, a bank and grocery store are within walking distance (500 metres). Air-con for your comfort. Welcome basket included in weekly rental. Bedrooms and bathrooms cleaned daily. Cook service available upon request. Catania airport only 30 Km and beaches 12 km. See more Special offer: 10% discount on the second booked week

6 Beds
8 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Etna

From £1895/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £271
Villa Etna is a modern villa close to Trecastagni, on the slopes of Mt. Etna. Elegant interiors, private pool, table tennis a/c and internet. Spacious outdoor areas with verandas and solarium. Walk to shops and restaurant. Perfect location for visiting: Etna Park, Taormina, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa. Nearest town only 2km. Beaches only 20km. Special offer: 10% discount on bookings of at least 14 nights , excluding the period 29/07/2017 - 25/08/2017

3 Beds
4 Bathrooms
6 Guests

Villa Fontane Beach

From £1820/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 4
Star Rating:
From £260
Wow! It doesn't get any closer to the beach than this stunning beach front luxury property in Fontane Bianche. Breathtaking sea views right on your doorstep. Walk to shop and restaurant. The ideal location to relax and unwind. Air-con, internet, BBQ & direct access to the sea. A holiday at Villa Fontane is a holiday to remember.

2 Beds
2 Bathrooms
4 Guests

Villa Marina

Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £
An exclusive villa with private swimming pool situated in a splendid sea front position in Marina di Modica, a small seaside resort on the southern coast of Sicily. Restaurant and delicatessen within a short distance. This contemporary style villa boasts large, panoramic terraces and a wellness room with sauna and Jacuzzi. Air-con throughout. Fans of Inspector Montalbano will be able to visit filming locations from the series such as Sampieri, Punta Secca and the Donnafugata Castle.

5 Beds
5 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Mazara del Vallo

From £1495/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £214
A modern detached villa, with pool, situated only 250 metres from a beautiful beach. Tastefully furnished with a lovely outside eating area and garden ideal for dining 'al fresco'. This bright, spacious property is located in the vicinity of Mazara del Vallo, a charming, seaside town with fishing port. Only 250m from the nearest restaurant, 500m from delicatessen and 35km from Trapani airport. Perfect for a relaxing beach holiday or exploring the Western coast of Sicily. Air-con, wifi and BBQ available.

2 Beds
2 Bathrooms
6 Guests

Villa Scicli

From £2400/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £343
A splendid property with contemporary interiors, private pool, tennis, wellness area including sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool and multi-sensory shower. Wonderful panoramic views. Weekly market within 1km, shop and restaurant within 2km, airport within 50km. Villa Scicli is a perfect base for exploring the nearby baroque towns of Ragusa-Ibla, Modica, Noto and Syracuse in the Val di Noto, the places made famous by the Sicilian writer Andrea Camilleri’s character Inspector Montalbano, such as the fishing villages of Sampieri, Donnalucata and Punta Secca, renowned also for their golden sandy beaches. Air-con and Wi-fi for your comfort and convenience. Special offer: special price for parties of max 6 people , excluding the period 01/07/2017 - 25/08/2017

4 Beds
5 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Sirenetta

From £16250/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £2321
A luxury sea front villa within the splendid setting of Taormina's Mermaid Bay. Commanding the very best location on one of the most beautiful stretches of the Mediterranean, this magnificent villa with private sea access has a breathtaking view from its exclusive terraces and spectacular infinity pool. (A/C, a computer workstation with Wi-Fi internet, iPod docking station, HiFi system, satellite TV). On site-concierge service available and cook. Restaurant within walking distance. Tennis within 4 KM & Golf 30 Km. Catania airport only 65 Km

5 Beds
6 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Splendida

From £6800/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £971
Aptly named - Villa Splendida is situated in a privileged seafront position in Fontane Bianchi. Surrounded by a well kept garden with lawn, this prestigious property offers tasteful interiors, spacious, well equipped outdoor areas, a beautiful pool with sun terrace and private access to the sea and rocks below. Restaurant within walking distance. Air-con, wi-fi & satellite TV.

6 Beds
7 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Syracuse

Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 13
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £
This beautiful villa enjoys a privileged location only a few hundred metres from one of the best sandy beaches on Sicily's East coast and overlooks the rocky shoreline. Fontane Bianche is a popular seaside resort, 20 km south of Syracuse. Stylish interiors - a spacious terrace with sea views, fitness area, air-con and wi-fi. Restaurant and delicatessen within walking distance. On site housekeeper - bedrooms and bathrooms cleaned daily, cook service available. Welcome cocktail upon arrival.

6 Beds
7 Bathrooms
13 Guests

Villa Taormina

From £5095/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £728
This exclusive villa offers sits in a prestigious location at the upper end of Taormina within easy reach the smart boutiques & restaurants of the popular shopping district of Corso Umberto and famous sights such as the Greek Theatre. Panoramic sea views and opulent Sicilian style interiors. The glass fronted living areas and bedrooms ensure the property is infused with natural light. Air-con. Tennis 1 km, sandy beaches within 4 Km, golf 30 Km. Don't miss Taorminas' colourful weekly market (1 Km). Welcome drink and hamper included

5 Beds
6 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Tecla

From £3395/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £485
Situated in a panoramic position and affording splendid sea views over the Ionian sea. Villa Tecla is positioned in a small fishing village approximately 5 kilometres away from Acireale amidst the “Timpa” nature reserve . The property offers spacious accommodation which is tastefully furnished with a pool set in a panoramic position above the house, there is a large terrace on the first floor of the villa, which also features an outdoor kitchen and a porch equipped for al fresco dining. Sandy beaches within 15 minutes drive.

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Torre Sicilia

From £4080/week
Location: Sicily, Italian island
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £583
A charming country retreat with tasteful, rustic interiors and 2 swimming pools. Air-con in 4 bedrooms and wi-fi. Beaches 18 Km. Modica with train station, tennis courts and horse riding 8 Km. Restaurant and delicatessen 2 Km.

5 Beds
5 Bathrooms
10 Guests
 

 

Top 10 Things to Do in Sicily


In the Med’s largest island, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cities, towns and historical sites. With the menacing milieu of Mount Etna and the outstandingly beautiful circumference of coastline, there is much to see. From the quirky capital of Palermo to the volcanic Aeolian archipelago, here are the top 10 things to do during your stay.

 

Get into the swing of true Sicilian life and join the locals at their historical city markets in the beautiful capital. Pick up fresh fruit and veg at Vucciria Market, breathe in the seductive smells at Il Capo’s spice stalls, or taste the local cheeses at Borgo Vecchio Market.

Valley of the Temples or “Valle dei Templi” is one of Sicily’s most exciting historical attractions. This archaeological site in Agrigento is one of the most remarkable demonstrations of Greek architecture and features the restored remains of seven Greek temples. The archaeological park is open every day from 8:30am to 7:00pm and guided tours are available.

It’s the most active volcano in Europe, yet it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Italy. Go to Etna Sud and take a walk around the old craters or see the summit craters by taking the cable car to the top. Open to tourists all year round, this ominous volcano is one of the most spectacular sights on the island of Sicily.

Siracusa is one of the most significant cities of Italian and Greek history. This once very powerful city in the Magna Graecia Italian coast was described by Cicero as “the most beautiful of all Greek cities.” Visit Siracusa today and the Greek designs remain; combined with today’s modern Sicilian culture, it’s the keystone of two melding nations. Visit the historical sites which are open to the public, wine and dine in the lively city centre, or take a day trip to the surrounding sea caves.

Second largest to Sicily’s capital, Catania is alive with energy day or night. Despite the noise and chaos that greets you as you step into the city, this UNESCO World Heritage site still holds much of its ancient charm. Under the shadow of Etna, Catania comes bursting to life at night with bars and restaurants filling up with locals and visitors alike. For drinking / eating out, Teatro Massimo is a lively meeting place and draws a young crowd or you can find fine establishments by Piazza del Duomo.

Just north of mainland Sicily, you will find the striking Aeolian Islands. The UNESCO protected archipelago is made up of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi, and each island offers its own unique charm. Head to Lipari for energetic island life and stunning beaches, sail to Stromboli for hiking and nature, or take a day trip to Alicudi for some off the beaten path exploration.

Vulcano is a small volcanic island which is a part of the Aeolian archipelago. Here you will find four volcanos (all of which can be explored on hikes) and natural mud baths which are healing to the body. Relax and wind down in the thermal baths and let the sulphur-rich mud work wonders on your skin.

Taormina is a small town on the east coast boasting spectacular views, magical sunsets and bustling streets filled with restaurants, bars and shops. For many years now, Taormina has been a popular travel destination and a holiday in Sicily isn’t complete without a day or two in Taormina. Walk around the winding streets of the commune, take in the Greek architecture and enjoy cosmopolitan cuisine in a glorious setting.

A few miles outside of the Sicilian town of Piazza Armerina is a Villa Romana del Casale; a great example of Roman exploitation of the countryside. This famous villa is one of the most excessive and lavish of its kind, and beautifully preserved mosaics decorate every single room. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture the magic of the intricate mosaic designs.

Sicily is famed for its beautiful beaches but Cava Grande is a fantastic alternative if you’re looking for something a little bit different. There are no public transport links to Cava Grande so you will need to make travel arrangements by rental car or join an organised tour. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit for a dip in the lush lakes of Avola.

Weather & Climate


Sicilian climate has moderate temperatures and fantastic dry summers, which makes the destination enjoyable all year round. Positioned right in the middle of the Mediterranean climate zone, you can expect summers to be hot and winters to be comfortably mild. Temperatures of 30°C are not uncommon in the summer season, with the hottest months expected to be July, August and early September. January is the coldest month of the year but with temperatures barely dipping below 10°C, January is still a good time to visit.
The best time to go swimming in the sea is between July-September when the sea temperatures are at their most warm and wonderful. When the summer heat starts to wane in autumn, the sea is still a glorious 20-25°C. Summers are usually dry so rainfall is very low from May to September. December and November have the highest levels of rainfall.

Regional Food & Wine


Sicilian cuisine can be defined by its unique fusion of the worlds. With Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences, no other Italian cooking is quite like Sicilian. If you like Italian food with a twist, Sicilian food is for you. When eating in Sicily, you can expect everything to be fresh and grown locally on the island. In fact, the only imported foods are bananas and pineapples – so you can be guaranteed garden-fresh dishes wherever you go. What goes hand in hand with local ingredients is the seasonality of some dishes; remaining true to what Mother Nature provides is the beauty of Sicilian food.

 

Must Try Dishes in Sicily


Arancini is quite possibly the most famous local dish in Sicily; these creamy risotto balls filled with meat and cheese make a comforting street food and they are enjoyed by many travellers. Sicilian pastries also make great street food snacks; try delicious Cannoli or Granita e Brioche.

For a taste of the sea, a plate of Linguine ai Frutti Di Mare is the perfect lunch time dish and washes down well with a glass of white. Arabic influences are palpable in the delicious mixed seafood medley of Cous Cous al Pesce. And a fine example of local ingredients from both land and sea can be enjoyed in the Pesce Spada alla Ghiotta. For non seafood lovers, try Sicily’s most iconic pasta dish, Pasta alla Norma, a Catania speciality which is made with fresh aubergine, juicy tomatoes and ricotta cheese.

Wine in Sicily


Whether it’s Dionysus God of Wine who blessed Sicily with its wine-making talents or the benefits of having volcanic soil from Mount Etna, it’s no secret that the Sicilian wine industry is booming. Whether you have a penchant for red or white, Sicilian soil provides the perfect melting pot for both tastes. Try the Guigal St Joseph Vignes l’Hospice Rouge which is one of the most highly rated reds of the region or the Stemmari Syrah for its Eastern flavours. If you want a delicious white to pair with your seafood, ask for a glass of Regaleali.

 

Recommended Restaurants


The pan-European influences in Sicilian cooking makes it truly distinctive. But what really makes Sicilian food stand out for most travellers is the seasonal variety and the fresh, local ingredients. The resources for Sicilian chefs are remarkable to say the least, and as a result it is practically impossible to eat poorly in Sicily. Here are some fantastic restaurants to try.

 

I Cuochini (Palermo)


For a light brunch or for the world-famous Arancini rice balls, I Cuochini in the capital is a must. Listed as one of chef Giorgio Locatelli’s favourite daytime haunts, it’s definitely worth a visit. Find this fast food rotisserie in the old town area of Palermo. You won’t be disappointed.

Da Vittorio Ristorante (Siracusa)


On the beach of Porto Palo di Menfi is a fish restaurant with no menus. If you love the element of surprise and love to go with the flow of what’s available on the day, be sure to visit Da Vittorio Ristorante. The antipasti could be anything from octopus and red prawns to delicious anchovies and mains could be anything from lobster to sea urchins.

 

Al Duomo (Taormina)


Taormina is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily so dining out can sometimes be pricey. But Al Duomo along Vico Ebrei is very reasonably priced and has some of the most delectable local dishes to try. Eat on the terrace to get a great view of Piazza Duomo

Al Fogher (Piazza Armerina)


The chef and owner of Al Fogher is a celebrated talent across the whole of Europe. People travel from all around the continent to dine at his prestigious restaurant in Piazza Armerina and it is one of the finest places to eat in Sicily. Enjoy a traditional setting with unpretentious décor and an unfaultable dinner service.

 

Annual Events


Sicily is a melting pot of culture, world-class cookery and some of the finest wine in Europe. And as the largest island in the Mediterranean, it really is no surprise that there’s always so much to celebrate. The vast island of Sicily offers a colourful calendar of events and festivals – and here are just a few of our favourites.

 

Almond Blossom & Folklore Festival (February)


Sicily is a fusion of nationalities; to soak in this unique culture, which is unlike anywhere else in Italy, head to Agrigento in February to watch the traditional parades and peruse the craft exhibitions. Let the festival take you back in time and learn more about the Sicilian people.

Sagra della Ricotta e del Formaggio (April)


For cheese lovers, festivals really don’t get better than this. Head to Sicily’s oldest food festival in the town of Vizzini (near Siracusa) and celebrate with the locals to rejoice in producing one of the world’s tastiest cheeses. Try the freshly made ricotta in the form of a tasty Cassata or Cannoli.

Inycon a Menfi Wine Festival (June)


Menfi is a small commune in Agrigento and every June a prestigious wine festival is held here. Taste the finest wines of Sicily whilst enjoying the concerts and shows available around town. There will also be a chance to taste some of the local olive oil and other tasty food products.

 

 

Feast of Saint. Rosalia (July)


Head to the capital to enjoy this lively celebration of the patron of Palermo, Santa Rosalia. Watch the dramatic street procession and enjoy the celebratory food of Pasta con le Sarde or Babbaluci Snails served in venues across the city.

Cous Cous Festival (September)


The delicious grain of cous cous is not as abundant anywhere else in Italy as it is in Sicily. Taking Arab influences, cous cous is a major part of Sicilian cuisine and the Cous Cous Festival in Trapani celebrates Sicily’s unique gastronomy with six whole evenings of music and dance – and of course plenty of cous cous to go around.

 

 

 
 

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