Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a melting pot of cultures; a destination where old and new stand side-by-side under the shadows of Europe's tallest volcano.

There is so much to see and do that a week’s stay barely touches on the many hidden gems this island paradise has to offer. Visit the spectacular Greek temples at Agrigento or Segesta; admire spectacular views from the Roman-Greco amphitheatre in Taormina; climb Mount Etna (3,320m); take the cure in a sulphur pool on the Aeolian island of Vulcano; taste award-winning ice creams or mouth-watering desserts of cannoli and cassata; bathe in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean; hike in the Nebrodi regional park; or visit one of the island’s many fabulous castles.

Sicily is slowly re-opening its doors after Covid-19 and encouraging visitors to travel again. In a recent article by the team at Wanderlust Magazine they highlighted their reasons to visit this surprisingly natural jewel; our programme manager, Rosanna Melaragni, wanted to add some more.

Aeolian islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Stromboli, Panarea, Salina, Filicudi and Alicudi)

If you like islands, as I do, you will love the seven-island archipelago located just off the north-east coast of Sicily. Access to the islands is by boat - hydrofoil (foot passengers) or ferry (cars and passengers) with the main departure point from Milazzo. Each island offers something quite unique from unspoilt natural beauty, lush vegetation, freshwater springs, woodlands, vineyards to an ancient acropolis crowned by a castle, black sand beaches, smoky fumaroles and a renowned natural mud pool – reputed to be therapeutic. Take a look at our suggested itinerary ‘Sicily and the Aeolian Islands’ for some added inspiration.

Caltagirone

I first came across the town of Caltagirone back in the late 90’s on an educational trip. Although off the normal tourist track, it’s worth a visit if you are interested in pottery as the ceramics industry here dates back over a thousand years. The main landmark of the city is the 142-step monumental staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, built from 1608 in the old part of the town. Each step is adorned with different hand-decorated ceramics. There are many workshops here where you can see potters at their wheel or applying decorative patterns to the ceramics – some even allow you to have a go. Great for mementoes or gifts. There is also a light and flower festival ‘Scala Illuminata’ that takes place each year (24-25Jul and 14-15Aug) where a carpet of flowers adorns the sweeping staircase and local themes are lit by candles.

Ragusa

One of my favourite areas of Sicily is the south-east corner where you will find many historical towns with baroque buildings. A baroque triangle arose in the 16th and 17th century between the cities of Ragusa, Modica and Scicli which have since been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. All three are worth a visit but Ragusa – a hilltop town and Ragusa Ibla, the old part of the town, stand out for me thanks to the impressive Baroque structures, elaborately sculpted balconies which can be found along many of Ragusa’s streets and alleyways, cathedrals with impressive stained-glass windows and sweeping views over the valley. 

Ragusa is also known as one of the main filming locations for the Sicilian detective series ‘Inspector Montalbano’. See our suggested itinerary ‘Follow in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano and beyond’ for more details.

Monreale

Located just outside of Palermo (11km/c.30 minutes’ drive) is the fabulous Cathedral of Monreale. You cannot fail to be impressed by this overly ornate, gold display of grandeur. Built in 1174 by King William II, this is one of the best monuments from the Norman legacy in Sicily. While the outside of the cathedral is predominantly plain, the inside walls are adorned with stunning mosaics – reputedly one of the world’s largest displays of this art.

Erice

Perched 750 metres above sea level, west of Palermo, is the atmospheric hilltop town of Erice. This medieval town’s origins are shrouded in mystery, part fantasy and part reality. Surrounded by ancient walls, the town is reserved and quiet with magnificent views over the Egadi Islands. Visitors to Erice can either drive up the winding mountain road or simply park the car at the foot of the hill and take the more leisurely and scenic cable car up the mountain. If you have more time in this area, then a visit to the Zingaro Nature Reserve is a must. This is one of the most picturesque and untouched places on the island with a beautiful sandy beach.

Lipari, The Aeolian Islands Lipari, The Aeolian Islands
Caltagirone ceramics, Sicily Caltagirone ceramics, Sicily
Duomo, Ragusa, Sicily Duomo, Ragusa, Sicily
Monreale Cathedral, Sicily Monreale Cathedral, Sicily
Erice, Sicily Erice, Sicily
Mount Etna, Sicily Mount Etna, Sicily
Taormina, Sicily Taormina, Sicily
Rosanna Melaragni

By Rosanna Melaragni

10th June 2020



Talk to our Sicily expert

Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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Title *
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