South-west of the toe of Italy lies Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. The Sicilian weather means the island is a dream location for holiday-makers all year round. Beaches, historical sites and the varying landscapes guarantee a quite special stay – in Catania, Palermo or Taormina for example.
Sicily's natural wonder: Mount Etna.
The legendary volcano that is Mount Etna is truly one of the most spectacular sightseeing highlights on the island. At 3,345 metres, the mountain is one of the few active volcanoes in Europe. But when the mountain sleeps – a journey or hike to the top is a quite special experience. Dotted around the volcano are some of the best-known wine-growing areas of the island: Mineral-rich soil, fresh sea air, ample moisture bit plenty of sun provide the best conditions for the finest grapes.
Aside from its impressive nature, the island also has plenty of cities and towns worth a visit. Back in Antiquity, the city of Palermo, capital of the autonomous region of Sicily, was already famous for its trading activities, and was later regarded as the home town of the Mafia bosses. Today, it is a bustling, imposing city with a population of around 650,000 people, an airport – and plenty of local colour. Its most famous square, the Quattro Canti, is surrounded by wonderful baroque architecture, which alone is worth the visit. And the cathedral, crypt and their ecclesiastical treasures are particularly unmissable.
The baroque city of Cantania is the second-largest city of Sicily. Due to its unique historical architecture, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its cathedral, dedicated to St. Agathe the patron saint of the city, the former Badia di Sant Agata Abbey and the Via dei Crociferi, are for connoisseurs the most beautiful baroque street in Italy, and perfect destinations for anyone seeking to find some Mediterranean, historical atmosphere.
Just one hour south of Catania lies Syracuse with the wonderful peninsula Ortigia.
In a dream-like location on the terraced sides of Monte Tauro lies the small town of Taormina, almost 200m above sea level. It is maybe the most photographed and also most visited little town in Sicily. On one side the ancient setting is bounded by cliffs and the sea, on the other side the mountain with the Mount Etna in the background. The ancient theatre was built in the second century BC.
No holiday ever seems long enough to do justice to Sicily – especially if you fall in love with the place in the very first few seconds. Be it beach, culture, history or nature – as a travel destination that truly entrances everyone with its special ambiance, the extraordinary city squares and, best of all, the excellent cuisine and superlative wines.