Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, offering beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, delicious cuisine, and fascinating history. The island’s rich and varied past has left a fascinating legacy of wonderful archaeological sites and majestic buildings, whilst Sicily’s most famous natural wonder – Mount Etna, has left a mark all of its own in the distinctive volcanic landscape that surrounds it. The people of Sicily are warm and friendly in nature and a villa holiday is a great way to meet the locals and experience the Sicilian way of life first-hand. You will also find plenty of opportunities to soak up the intriguing culture of the island by attending one of the many colourful festivals that take place throughout the year. Whether its culture, cuisine, countryside – or simply beautiful beaches you’re looking for - Sicily offers plenty for everyone.
Sicily - Natural beauty matched only by unique culture
Pristine beaches and brooding volcanic landscapes surround our villas in Sicily, making a dramatic first impression that the island more than lives up to. Ancient history still bubbles beneath the surface, while many cultures have left their own invisible mark for you to experience.
The cuisine of Sicily is Italian in style, with distinct Greek and Arabic influences gained throughout the island’s history. Fish, olives and broad beans offer hints of Greece – particularly on the east coast that borders the Ionian Sea, whilst the use of apricots, rice, saffron, couscous, sugar and citrus offers comparisons with North African cuisine. Some of the best known Sicilian dishes include arancine (fried rice balls filled with meat), couscous al pesce (couscous with seafood), and caponata (a salad with aubergines, olives, capers, and celery). Sicily is also particularly well known for its excellent desserts that include Cannoli (pastry desserts filled with ricotta and sugar filling), Frutta di Martorana (marzipan and almond fruit shapes), and of course, gelato. All of this can be enjoyed with a delicious glass of the excellent Sicilian wine – the island has more vineyards than any other part of Italy.
All over Sicily you will find historical sites that hint towards the island’s rich and diverse past. Evidence of Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Catalan, and Greek influences – to name just a few – are still visible in abundance across Sicily. The island’s strategic position on the Mediterranean trade routes has been coveted by many different rulers over time. Some of the fascinating sights to see include the Greco-Roman amphitheatre in Taormina on the east coast of Sicily, the Baroque architecture of beautiful Catania, and the many historic sites of ancient Siracusa. These include the temple of Apollo, temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman amphitheatre, and the 7th Century cathedral (which actually stands on the remains of a much older building!). Wherever you go in Sicily, you’ll find a wealth of sites where you can delve into the rich and varied past of this captivating island.
Sicily has a diverse coastline of fantastic sand and pebble beaches, interspersed with sections of dramatic cliff face and undulating rocky coastline. Even in summer months, it is possible to find quieter beaches in certain areas of the island, with plenty of room to relax. Bustling coastal holiday resorts mix with larger ports, and tiny, tranquil fishing villages. A great selection of both sand and pebble beaches are to be found on the east coast around Catania and Siracusa, whilst there are many popular pebble beaches around the resort of Taormina. Facing across the water to the Aeolian Islands, not far from the port of Messina, you’ll find a number of great sandy beaches. Further along the north coast, the resort of Cefalu also has a wonderful, long sandy beach.
Sicily Local Charm
Sicilians are a welcoming and friendly people who are proud of the island’s rich cultural heritage. A huge amount of festivals and events take place throughout the year, where locals and visitors alike can really feel part of the community and soak up some of the Sicilian traditions. Towns and villages large and small each have a patron saint, celebrated in varying different ways each year, with events such as processions and fireworks. Good Friday sees atmospheric masked processions that take place all over Sicily. The island also has a great number of food festivals celebrating the delicious local produce grown in different areas – giving you the opportunity to enjoy some of the typical Sicilian specialities. Outdoor music events are popular during summer months, including the wonderful Greek theatre productions that take place in the Greco-Roman amphitheatre at Siracusa.
Sicily Holidays - Points of Interest
Visit Mount Etna - Europe's highest volcano, and home to the Greek god of fire, Vulcan, and the Cyclops from Greek mythology.
Spend a day in Taormina shopping for trinkets, and enjoy a lunch at one of the many renowned restaurants or pavement cafés. Whilst there, visit the Museo archeologico di Taormina.
Take the hydrofoil from Palermo to Ustica and enjoy the crystal clear, turquoise waters from a glass bottom boat.
Take a stroll through the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento - a UNESCO site and home to a parade of ancient Greek temples dating back to the 5th Century.
The pride of Sicily's south-west coast, Trapani has been restored over the last few years to its original architectural splendour with many central streets, squares and boulevards being pedestrianised.
Modica is characterised by its beautiful architecture including churches, palaces, and beautiful 18th century baroque style buildings offering the perfect place for a leisurely stroll under the warm sunshine.
Enjoy a relaxing cultural break in the historic town of Patti. Imagine beautiful beaches, backed by rocky cliffs and you’ll have an idea of what the scene is like here –one of the most attractive in Sicily.
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James Recommends - Sicily villas
Need some inspiration to help choose your perfect villa? Looking for a pool with a view, a villa in the centre of the action, or a property that sleeps a large group? James can recommend villas to suit you. Browse through our villas that have that specific something you're looking for.
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Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.
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