Sicily is Italy's largest island and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's also a geographical and political region of Italy, famed for its beautiful beaches, cuisine, and fascinating history.
What to do
Nature seems to have endowed all its wonders to this land: mountains, hills and above all the sea, with its incredible colors, its crystal-clear water and the beauty of its seabeds, in no way inferior to those of other seas. Here, the Mediterranean Sea, with its many little islands scattered around the coasts of Sicily - the Aeolians, Egadi and Pelagie Islands, Pantelleria and Ustica - offers unique and the intense sceneries, scents and flavors of uncontaminated nature. Last but not least, its great volcanoes are symbols of the irresistible beauty and vitality of this incredibly charming region. Etna, the greatest active volcano in Europe, is on Sicily's eastern coast and is one of the fundamental stops for those wanting to discover this region. Its spectacular eruptions have created unique landscapes over the centuries. A world treasure certified by UNESCO is the archeological area of Agrigento, one of the most important towns of Magna Graecia. The famous Valley of the Temples - surrounded by green olive groves, almond trees, citrus orchards and vineyards that stretch out to the sea with all its imposing and elegant monuments - fantastically evokes an atmosphere of 2500 years ago, when the ancient Akagras Agrigentum was a center of power and learning.
It is worth visiting Taormina, hitting on the essence of this little jewel midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina 'the Mediterranean Pearl', is sited on a natural terrace sheer above the sea. The Greek theatre is one of the most suggestive spots, sited on a fantastic position and dipped into the blooming nature of this land. It is hard to say if the audience, today as well as at that time, attend the performances without sustaining the fascination of the wonderful view that it is possible to admire from the ancient stalls. The view goes straight across the sea and reaches the Calabria coasts, the town of Siracusa and the Etna's peak. In this peerless scenario a lot of cultural events take place like for example the significant international event of the Movie Festival.Taormina is an ideal destination all year round, thanks to the mild climate and the touristic offer oriented to fun, relaxation and joie de vivre.
Trekking lovers can go on a guided excursion along the routes of Sicily's natural parks, while those who prefer other means can choose to explore these wonderful places on a horse's back or riding a mountain bike.
It should be mentioned that in recent years Sicily has even become an important destination for lovers of golf. Several new courses have made their home on the island, which is host to the by-now famous Sicily Open.
The Belpaese has always been considered one of the most sought-after destinations for thermal cures, a form of natural medicine existing in Italy since the Roman ages. Sicily is a region of water and volcanoes and it offers a wide range of treatments for those who wish to unwind from stress and daily life by "spa-ing". In thermal spas and wellness centers one can find various regenerating, therapeutic and, without a doubt, beauty treatments. The most renowned spas are Sciacca, with its famous Stufe di San Calogero, caves where the high concentration of steam reaches a temperature of about 40° C, or the Thermae of Acireale, where underground seawater mixes with sulphur water from Etna.
For enthusiasts of cultural tourism, Sicily is a source of knowledge, history, art and culture. It is here, this island with its mild climate and enchanting surroundings that famous writers such as Salvatore Quasimodo, Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Leonardo Sciascia, and Tomasi di Lampedusa found their inspiration to write great works including The Leopard and The House by the Medlar Tree. Those wanting to travel even further back in time will be content to see the Greek Temples of Selinunte and Syracuse, as well as those of Agrigento and of Imera. Not to be forgotten is the Greco-Roman theatre of Taormina and the cathedrals left by the Normans, especially the Martorana, San Giovanni degli Eremiti and San Cataldo Churches.
If it's customs and traditions you're looking for, a visit to Acireale is practically obligatory; there one can see the Opera of Marionettes and the story of Orlando Furioso. There is plenty of choice for those who enjoy festivals and cultural events, too.
What to taste
The exuberance and warmth of the island of Sicily is evident in its food as well, which tells of Sicilians' passion and care for good food and genuine flavors.
A wide array of appetizers to whet your appetite, from rice croquettes to cazzilli and crispeddi of Catania, before tasting rich first courses and fish or meat dishes.
And finally, one should not pass up the famous Sicilian pastries, mainly prepared with ricotta cheese and almond paste.
Many Sicilian products are protected by DOP and IGT quality marks, making Sicily one of the core diets of Mediterranean; it is famous the world over for the genuineness of its ingredients.
Extra-virgin olive oil, juicy red oranges and the sweet grapes of Canicattì, Pachino tomatoes and Pantelleria capers, prickly pears and the olives of Nocellara del Belice are some of the excellent products that distinguish Sicilian food.
Yet, we cannot forget the most famous cheeses, like Ragusano and pecorino, or tasty sausages, like Sant'Angelo salami, or the different types of crispy bread, like the loaves of Dittaino.
And pour a glass of one of the island's exquisite, strong and full-bodied wines, ideal when partnered with its unbeatable cuisine.
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