Why Visit Sicily? Here Are 5 Great Reasons To Go Now
We are all well aware of the siren call of Italian big-name attractions like Florence, Rome, Venice, and even the Amalfi coast. Many of us flock to these over-traveled places every year like bees to honey. But with so many lesser-visited alternatives available, where do the Italians holiday within their own country? A popular choice is Sicily, Italy’s largest region and the most diverse, exotic, and alluring island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicily’s idyllic beaches, abundant sunshine, and deliciously hot temperatures make it a great holiday destination, still retaining an under-the-radar feel. Towering volcanoes rising out of beautiful countryside, pristine marine reserves, stunning seafronts, and huge rock stacks sculpted over millennia by the sea give it a mythic feel.
Whether you’re looking for some seaside relaxation, you’re itching for some fresh seafood, or you want to visit pastel-hued Baroque towns, Sicily is one of the best vacation spots you can hope for. Leave the Amalfi coast to summer’s hordes, and try this gorgeous triangle of land at the true heart of the Mediterranean instead. Here are five great reasons to add Sicily to your travel wish list for 2023.
Culture, history and art
Inhabited since the megalithic times, the Sicilian Isle is an open-air museum packed with spellbinding archaeological sites that span millennia. Over the course of its history, this spectacular Mediterranean island just off Italy’s toe has played host to Roman, Greek, Phoenician, Visigoth, Arab, Spaniard, Venetian, and Turkish empires, whose cultural influences all beautifully converge on the island. No other place on Earth has seen such a majestic parade of ancient peoples leave their stamp.
Layers and layers of history await literally around every corner. Art and architecture buffs will find much to delight them here, from Phoenician ruins, Roman theaters, Norman cathedrals, and sumptuous Baroque palaces to Arabesque domes, and some of the world’s best-preserved remnants of the Greek empire.
Great food and amazing wines
It should come as little surprise that such an amazing amalgamation of cultures gave rise to one of the richest culinary heritages in the world. Each and every occupier has left a bit of their culinary culture. That’s why Sicilian cuisine is so richly diverse. Sicily’s classic dishes, including caponata, flavorful pasta alla Norma, and squid-ink spaghetti, are as bold and Baroque as any flamboyant building.
This sunny island of stunning beauty is renowned for the quality of its seafood, which often finds its way to Michelin-starred restaurants in the capital Palermo, Cefalù, and San Vito lo Capo. Sicily has also become one of Italy’s premium winemaking regions, with robust reds, sumptuous whites, and all that’s in between.
Beach lovers and sunbathers looking for a holiday that combines crystal-clear sea, laidback Mediterranean vibes, and myriads of Insta-perfect photo ops should head for this beautiful, sun-drenched isle this summer. As if its many superlatives — extraordinary cliff-side villages, impressive UNESCO World Heritage sites, and world-class food and wines among them – weren’t enough, the Italian island of Sicily also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of the Mediterranean.
Sicily’s 1,000-mile coastline has everything you could ever need for a sun-filled beach break. From tiny pebble coves amid Mediterranean shrub and sheltered bays hugged by steep-sided limestone cliffs, to massive rock formations and unspoilt beaches crying out to be conquered by you and your picnic blanket, there’s plenty to appeal on the coast.
With four regional parks, seven marine protected areas, and seventy-six nature reserves, Sicily lures tourists seeking to connect with nature and explore the great outdoors. It would be a shame to visit this triangle-shaped, mountainous island without partaking in its favorite pastimes, from trekking, biking, rock climbing, and birdwatching in pristine nature reserves to windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, kitesurfing, paddle boarding, and even skiing in winter… You name it and Sicily does it.
Don’t miss a chance to take a hike on Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. Rising almost 11,000 feet into the sky, Etna is the highest peak in this big island at the very south of Italy.
Luxury villa rentals
For many, summer holidays aren’t summer holidays unless they involve a luxury villa with its own shimmering swimming pool with jacuzzi surrounded by fancy sun loungers, lush palm trees, and extensive luxuriant gardens. Fast becoming a hotspot for luxury travel, Sicily is home to a plethora of exquisite private pool villas with breathtaking sea vistas and the first-class facilities you’d expect in a boutique hotel.
Options vary from secluded countryside retreats to architect-designed villas with infinity pools and far-reaching sea views, most of which are available exclusively through Select Sicily Villas, based in Palermo. One of the island’s leading vacation rental agencies, this long-established company is known for its deluxe rentals, the likes of which have made it into the pages of Forbes, Haute Living, The Times, and The Independent.
More details can be found at www.selectsicilyvillas.com.
Words by Jessica Maggi