Sicily – Melting pot of Mediterranean cultures and island of volcanos
Sicily is the tallest island in the Mediterranean Sea, the tallest region of Italy, and home of the gigantic volcano Etna. It is 25,426 km² tall and is divided in 9 provinces:
Everything you wanted to know about the destination Sicily
The colourful island of Sicily is full of spirit and lets your senses come alive, not only because of its culinary delicacies! It is one of the most charming islands in the world and blessed with beautiful nature: More than 1,000 coastal kilometres offer an impressing variety of cliffs and beaches, mountain ranges line up next to each other and offer breathtaking panoramic views, glowing volcanos illuminate the night sky.
Sicily is full of extremes and intensity and everything Italy is famous for, comes together on this island! Especially, the history and traditions of Sicily are impressing. Due to its favourable position as an important junction in Europe, almost all civilisations of the Mediterranean region, the Greek, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Stauffer, as well as the French and Spaniards have left their marks in the past 3,000 years!
It is separated from the mainland right at the tip of the Italian boot by the Strait of Messina. In the north, it is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea in the east. The “Canale di Sicilia” separates the south-western coast from the African continent. In total, 37 paradisiac islands and archipelagos surround beautiful “Sicilia”, like the Eolian Islands in the north, the Egadi Islands in the west, and the Pelagie Islands in the south. The coastline of Sicily offers a variety of endless sandy beaches, wonderful pebble beaches, white cliffs and fascinating rock formations, as well as untouched nature reserves. There is a lot to discover!
In the north of the island you find impressive cities like the capital Palermo or Cefalù, one of the “Borghi piu belli d’Italia”, and lots of picturesque villages. The striking highlights of the landscape are the three mountain ranges of the Monti Madonie, Peloritani and Nebrodi, which are the promontory of the Apennines and reach up to 2,000 m. The beaches of Tindari, Mondello and San Gregorio are among the most beautiful in Sicily and the Eolian Islands are listed as UNESCO-World-Heritage.
The eastern coast is marked by the gigantic volcano Etna. Hiking along the slopes of Europe’s largest active volcano is an unforgettable adventure! In this fascinating area, you find the city of Catania, which is made of volcanic stone, the magical village Taormina, and picturesque beaches along the Ionian Riviera, where you can lean back.
The south-eastern part of the island offers a wide range of UNESCO-World-Heritage-Sites, like the Valley of temples in Agrigento or the cities of Ragusa and Noto, which are brilliant examples of the Sicilian baroque. The Villa Romana del Casale with its fascinating Roman mosaics lies in the inland of Siciy. On the plains of the inland you also find the “breadbasket” of Sicily, where mainly wheat is cultivated. The coastline offers untouched sandy beaches in the nature reserve of Vendicari.
In the western part, endless vineyards and olive groves dominate the landscapes in the interior of the island. The best Sicilian wines and olive oils are produced in this part of Sicily. Fascinating cities like Trapani and Erice are waiting to be explored, and you find some of the best preserved Greek temples of the whole Mediterranean region.
The complex history of Sicily is also reflected in its cuisine! There were many flavours imported by the Arabs, Romans, Greek, French and Spaniards, which today are seen as traditionally Sicilian. The sweet and sour combination of raisins and pine nuts, served with vegetables and fresh fish, is the basis of many Sicilian dishes, especially around Palermo. In Trapani, many dishes are prepared with couscous, resulting from its proximity to Northern Africa. Along the coastal areas, of course, fish and seafood are mainly served, and in the centre of the island, meat dishes from lamb, rabbit and chicken are in line with the local traditions. It is said, that the Sicilians invented the ice cream. They took the snow of the Etna and flavoured it with fruits and honey.
Sicily is also popular for its excellent wines. Besides the substantial red wines like the Nero D’Avola, the Cerauolo di Vittoria and the Perricone, you find some tasty white and rosé wines suitable to dishes with pasta, fish and vegetables. Especially the region around Marsala in the western part is a famous winegrowing area. Further traditional Sicilian drinks are the Limoncelli, a citrus liqueur, and the Amaro Siciliano, an herbal liqueur served as a digestive drink.
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