If you discovered your self dreaming of a visit to Sicily this 12 months, you aren’t alone. The island’s reputation soared this 12 months due to its look on the favored HBO collection, “The White Lotus,” as did one in every of its most luxurious staging posts, San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, the place the present was filmed.
Part of a bigger development towards “set-jetting” — the phenomenon whereby films and TV exhibits encourage journey itineraries — Sicily has dominated social media and Google searches this 12 months. Hopper reported that Palermo was one of many prime trending locations for airfare searches this summer season, with a 90% spike in curiosity.
While many vacationers flocked to Sicily this 12 months to indulge their White Lotus fantasies — facilitated by new luxe resorts like Rocco Forte’s Ville Igiea in Palermo and, after all, the aforementioned San Domenico Palace in Taormina — Sicily’s distinctive tradition and traditions far and away transcend its second within the media highlight.
The largest island within the Mediterranean has lengthy been one thing of a hidden gem, drawing European jet-setters within the know. It’s house to attractive, UNESCO-inscribed villages, dazzling seashores, a wine and delicacies scene that simply rivals Italy’s mainland, and even its Mount Etna volcano. Sicily is likely one of the finest locations in Europe to rent a automobile and discover with none prescribed agenda.
From the baroque cities of Val di Noto to villages with medieval castles and quaint beachfront fishing communities, Sicily’s sheer variety of cultural and pure treasures enthralls vacationers who wish to expertise the extra genuine facet of one in every of Europe’s hottest locations.
Scicli is dramatically sited in a valley sandwiched between rocky cliffs. It’s located within the southeast space of the island, and it is one of many seven famed Val di Noto baroque cities.
Like many cities within the Val di Noto, it was closely broken by the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in baroque type. It’s affectionately referred to as the setting for the hit Italian tv collection, “Commissario Montalbano.”
Plan to discover town on foot, beginning on Via Francisco Mormino Penna, a avenue with a number of baroque palaces and church buildings all constructed in native white stone. Don’t miss the emblematic baroque Palazzo Beneventano, an ornate 18th-century palace (the unique constructing dates to the Middle Ages) with a courtyard hailed as essentially the most stunning in Sicily.
Draped over Mount Marone and dramatically framed by Mount Etna, Gangi is commonly referred to as essentially the most stunning village in Italy. Crowned by the 14th-century Ventimiglia citadel, the city’s attraction lies in its genuine Sicilian atmosphere and evocative medieval alleyways photogenically lined with two- and three-story stone homes.
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In the San Nicolo Church, you’ll be able to go to the quite macabre “tomb of dead priests” (or fossa de parrini), the place a crypt accommodates niches with about 100 mummified monks thought to have lived in Gangi from round 1720-1850.
One of Sicily’s most well-known seashore cities, Cefalu has extra than simply golden sands and azure waters.
Visit the Twelfth-century cathedral, full with Renaissance sculptures and Byzantine mosaics. If you could have some power to spare, hike the large Rocca mountain that towers above the city till you attain the outdated citadel stays. If it appears to be like vaguely acquainted, this former fishing village was the setting for the Oscar-winning film “Cinema Paradiso.”
This gorgeous island, as soon as inhabited by Greeks, is full of historic monuments and historic church buildings. Its picturesque squares are lined with elaborate palazzi, and its labyrinthine streets are dotted with retailers, cafes, eating places and bars.
Connected to Sicily’s mainland by two bridges, it is best to park your automobile in Siracusa and stroll over to Ortigia’s outdated city. Don’t miss the Piazza del Duomo, with its showstopping Duomo, the oldest church in Europe.
Another spotlight is the city’s vigorous meals markets (decide up some pistachios — Sicily has hundreds of acres of pistachio timber). Fresh swordfish is a neighborhood delicacy that you will discover on chalkboard menus in lots of eating places.
Erice’s declare to fame is its Venere Castle, which sits atop the fabled mountain peak of Ertz and boasts expansive views of the Sicilian countryside and the ocean.
Within the city’s Twelfth-century partitions, you may discover an array of church buildings — its moniker is the “city of 100 churches.” The most well-known is the imposing Norman Erice cathedral, constructed with stones from Rome’s Temple of Venus; it is distinctive for its freestanding bell tower and intricately carved vaulted ceiling. The church dates to 1314 however was rebuilt in its present Gothic type in 1865.
You’ll discover the city’s biggest joys wandering its streets, which characteristic vintage shops, craft retailers, eating places, cafes and bakeries (almond pastries are famend right here).
The second of what’s going to be a couple of of the long-lasting UNESCO-designed Val di Noto baroque villages on this checklist, Modica’s unending rooftops rise alongside the encircling hills. Before the earthquake of 1693, the medieval outdated city was carved into the rock face. Now constructed on prime of the ridge, it is an evocative maze of gorgeous baroque facades, extravagant church buildings and delightful palaces linked by stairways.
Make positive to see the San Giorgio cathedral, and for a day snack, pattern some chocolate. The historic recipe makes use of particular grinding strategies at frigid temperatures sans cocoa butter for a grainy and daring style.
North of Taormina within the province of Messina, Savoca is about between Sicily’s aqua waters and the Peloritani mountain vary. It’s surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
Another cinematic backdrop, iconic scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Godfather” had been shot there — most memorably, the marriage of Michael Corleone and Apollonia at church of San Nicolo. Fans of the movie must also cease into Bar Vitelli (one other well-known filming location) for a glass of native wine.
Nestled amongst craggy peaks, Ragusa’s outdated city (Ragusa Ibla) is likely one of the most spectacular spots to view from a distance.
The placing city sits upon a hilltop, full with blue-domed church buildings and pink and yellowed crumbling baroque buildings. With its charming tangle of streets and stylish squares lined with grey stone homes and palaces, Ragusa is likely one of the finest locations on the island to only calm down and watch Sicilian life unfold.
The city is split into two distinct components: Ragusa Superiore is the city’s extra fashionable enclave with a extra prosaic vibe, whereas Ragusa Ibla is the city’s fantastically preserved historic heart that unfurls down the hillside. Don’t miss websites embody the church of San Giorgio and the San Giovanni Cathedral.
Built proper into the stone of the encircling mountains, Sperlinga sounds suspiciously just like the phrase spelunking — caving. As you may guess, there are quite a few caves carved into the stone all through the village, and you may discover all of them. Find one of the best views can by mountaineering as much as the Sperlinga citadel, which overlooks the village.
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Novara di Sicilia
Nestled between the 2 mountain ranges of Nebrodi and Peloritani, Novara di Sicilia has spectacular views from just about any angle. Built from native sandstone beneath the remnants of an historic citadel, many of the village dates to the seventeenth century. The oldest constructing is the small and unassuming Thirteenth-century Church of St. Francis.
If you are fortunate, you may go to throughout one of many many meals festivals this village has all year long, devoted to native merchandise comparable to hazelnuts, Maiorchino cheese and bread. If not, you’ll be able to merely wander the village’s magical streets.
The city is steeped in delusion — legend has it that Cyclops as soon as lived in Novara di Sicilia.
San Vito Lo Capo
Shoulder season (May-June and September-October) is one of the best time to go to San Vito Lo Capo, one in every of Sicily’s most stunning seashore villages, to beat the crowds however nonetheless have good climate. You could not affiliate couscous as a Sicilian specialty, however the village has a complete pageant devoted to the meals every September.
Castiglione di Sicilia
With views of the volcano Mount Etna, this village is much like many different Sicilian cities in that it has a signature Twelfth-century citadel and lots of church buildings. One of essentially the most distinctive is the Santa Domenica chapel, a small stone construction constructed by Byzantine monks.
This tiny fishing village is known for its tonnara or tuna fish. It’s additionally a well-liked seashore spot for vacationers and locals alike in the summertime when the inhabitants will increase exponentially. People-watching over a spritz in the primary plaza, Piazza Regina Margherita, is the exercise of selection for a heat, summery night.
With a lot to see and do in a phenomenal nation like Italy, it may be exhausting to determine the place to start out. But if you find yourself in Sicily, one of the best ways to discover the island is by automobile.
Taormina could have stolen the limelight this 12 months due to “The White Lotus” impact, however when you get off the crushed path, you may discover gorgeous villages with timeless cultural traditions at each flip. Make positive so as to add a few of them to your Sicilian trip itinerary.