7 Things to know before you visit Sicily

11th January, 2017
Sicily is undeniably one of the most alluring places in the Mediterranean, featuring fantastic restaurant, bars and attractions for you to enjoy on your holiday. The island boasts an array of Greek temples, Baroque palazzos and Norman churches as well as a host of natural wonders including the smoking craters of Mount Etna. The island has a mild climate all year round, making it an attractive, and dangerously addictive destination to rid yourself of those winter blues! Why not treat yourself and a loved one to a stay in one of our luxury villas in Italy and create some unforgettable memories together in 2017. We have a vast range of beautiful villas in Sicily for you to choose from and here’s a taster of what you should know and expect to experience during your time here:

You will have ice cream for breakfast
First and foremost, it is essential that you understand that tucking into 2 or 3 scoops of gelato before you brush your teeth is considered the norm in Sicily. Leave the diets and healthy-eating regimes at home, for there is certainly no room for that kind of behaviour in Sicily. You are on your holidays after all! Two scoops of chocolatey perfection in the form of a nut-based gelato with a flavour that is so rich in texture and taste that your average vanilla from home will never quite be enough. Order an eggy brioche for the perfect contrast of essence and maybe accompany with one of the country’s world-famous coffees. This breakfast of champions is highly recommended to set you up for the holiday of a life time in Sicily.  

Morning markets are a must
Wake up at a reasonable time and spend your mornings exploring Siciliy’s market scene, which has reached a level that is unrivalled across the continent. The open air markets are a great place to frequent on your holiday, if just for the atmosphere instead of the actual purchasing of goods. Most major Sicilian cities boast large markets, so be sure to stray off the beaten path at times and you’re sure to stumble across a market hidden from the main streets. Palermo and Catania are particularly well-known for their exuberant markets.
    
Go island hopping
The Aeolian Islands off the north coast and the Egadi Islands off the west coast near Trapani offer some of the most beautiful scenery in Sicily, as well as glorious cuisine to sample. The islands provide ultimate relaxation opportunities as well as being the perfect backdrops for leisurely strolls to soak up the beautiful landscapes and excellent sea views. Keen walkers should head to the fertile island of Salina for some incredible walking trails at the Fossa delle Felci nature reserve where you can hike through volcanic landscapes and take selfies of the seemingly endless supply of stunning view points. For a more relaxing day trip, hit the mud baths at Vulcano, which is car-free and is home to a smoking crater and hot springs.  

Take the plunge
Sicily’s ever expanding and diverse rocky coastline makes it the perfect location for the more adventurous amongst us to try their hand at cliff-diving. There will be no shortage of Sicilian youth to make fun of your screams and hesitance, as they throw themselves off the cliff (quite literally) and descend elegantly into flips, flops and dives until the ocean catches their fall. It’s worth sticking to where the locals are jumping, as they will know of the safest places to jump, but be sure to check out the seas below for any rocks for your own peace of mind if nothing else. A great spot for jumping is just north of Syracruse, where you can hurl yourself into the sea in a variety of shapes all afternoon, before retreating to the restaurant just above, named Jónico, for some well-deserved spaghetti.  

Go nuts
Sicily is home to the biggest, sweetest pistachios in the world and it’s a wise idea to make the most of the authentic nuts at every opportunity! Pistachio gelato is a taste like no other and is the obvious way to ensure you get your fill, but there are also dozens of slightly less conventional, but equally yummy means to get your nutty fix. It can be found in pasta dressings, grilled swordfish steaks, olive green pastes and even inside flaky croissants. Do not leave Sicily without bringing a jar of pistachio pesto with you – it’s bound to impress dinner party guests and will let you to remember the unique and authentic taste of Sicily.  

Visit the hills
The South eastern corner of Sicily is the agiriturismo capital of the island and farmers, wine makers and olive oil producers all welcome tourists with open arms to gain an insight to their culture. Inland the Hyblean mountains provide a beautiful sight of rugged scenery with low stone walls and steep gorges. The cheese is particularly notable around this area, as is chilli chocolate. The towns in the Noto Valley, including Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and Caltagirone are of particular architectural importance and together they form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Val di Noto. The food that can be sampled here is outstanding, and you should open your mind – and your mouths – to a whole host of tastes and flavours that are prevalent in Sicily. Signs of a good Sicilian restaurant include a lack of tablecloths, walls and menus. 

Visit The Valley of the Temples
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Valley of the Temples can be found in the southwestern town of Agrigento and is a must-see for anyone lucky enough to be staying in one of our Italian villas. The ridge is covered with seven temples from the Doric Style back in 5th century B.C. and are each dedicated to different deities such as Zeus, Hephaestus, Hera and Heracles. The site is a spectacle to see, both during the day and at night, when it is floodlit.  

This is just a taster of what you need to know before visiting Sicily, so you know what to look forward by looking at some of the top attractions and things to do while you’re there. Check out our fantastic range of villas in Sicily for your chance to have an unforgettable holiday this year with your loved ones! 

Image credit: Scott Wylie