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Sicily

Photo by Paul Shawcross

Sicily Itineraries

Sicily: Agrigento and Noto Valley in 48 Hours

The largest island in the Mediterranean

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Sicily, in southern Italy, is the largest island in the Mediterranean. It is connected to mainland Italy by ferry but also has 3 airports. Sicily has many great beaches along its coastline, mountains and a volcano, and ruins and monuments from its past. Because of its diverse history there are remnants of Phoenician settlements, Punic cities, Roman amphitheaters, Greek temples, Norman castles and Aragonese churches. It’s one of Italy’s best regions for traditions, including beautifully decorated carts, and festivals.


Sicily Highlights:

* Agrigento has a big complex of Greek Temples, the Valley of the Temples. These are some of the world’s best preserved Greek temples. The archaeological museum nearby has findings from the area. Agrigento’s medieval center is also worth exploring. Read more: Agrigento and Noto Valley in 48 Hours

* Noto Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Towns in the Noto Valley have a unique style of Sicilian Baroque architecture. Top towns are Noto, Ragusa, Modica, and Scicli.

* Palermo is a lively city with a 9th century Norman Palace, a huge cathedral built in several architectural styles, a great central market, an opera house, and catacombs with hundreds of mummies.

* Mount Etna is Europe’s largest live volcano. The lower slopes have hiking trails and there’s skiing on the higher slopes in winter. A narrow gauge railway circles the volcano, stopping in many villages.

* Villa Romana del Casalein Piazza Armerina, is a 4th century villa with beautiful mosaics and wall decoration. Its floor mosaics are some of the best-preserved Roman tiles in the world.


Sicily Coast Highlights:

* The seaside resort towns of Cefalu and Taormina are top towns to visit on the coast. Cefalu has a 2nd century BC temple and Taormina has a Greek theater used for summer performances. Both have good beaches.

* Siracusa, on the southeast coast, has classical ruins and a Greek theater. It’s also a good place for shopping and eating.

* Erice, in the east, is a pretty medieval village perched on a mountain, offering fantastic views. Nearby is the charming fishing town of Trapani, worth exploring.

* Scoglitti is a small fishing village on the southeast coast of Sicily. This area has one of the longest stretches of good beaches in Sicily including Bianco Piccolo and Baia del Sole. San Vito lo Capo, near Trapani, is another great beach town with white sandy beaches and clear water.  Good beaches with excellent places to swim dot most of the coastline. They’re usually not too crowded except in August.

* Marsala, a town in the heart of the Marsala wine production area, has a good historic center and a Roman archaeological site.


What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate depending on several factors including the season, exchange rate, and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in €.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
Free
€ => Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person

Sleep — Out of town/rural

€ => Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €100 for a double

Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €150 for a double

Eat
€=> €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€ => €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

Shop
N/A => Not applicable

Tours
€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 per person

Transportation

Getting There

Sicily can be reached by car, train, or plane. If you’re driving, you can take the ferry from Villa San Giovanni in Calabria to Messina, Sicily, a 20 minute trip. Ferries also connect Sicily to other parts of mainland Italy, Sardinia, Malta, Tunisia, and Egypt.

Sicily has two main airports, Palermo in the west and Catania in the east, with flights to and from Italy and other parts of Europe.

The train to Sicily from the mainland goes along the coast, south from Rome.

Background

Cuisine

Sicily is known for its pastries. Citrus fruits and almonds are grown in Sicily and are used in many dishes. Some dishes also reflect a North African influence. The island grows excellent fresh vegetables and good seafood can be found along the coast. Spaghetti alla Norma, with eggplant and tomatoes, is a typical pasta dish. Sicily is also known for its sweets, especially those using almond paste.

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