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SICILY : Sun, sea and splendor

Perfectly placed in the heart of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has long beckoned visitors with its dramatic landscape, exotic flavors, and sandy beaches juxtaposed against mountains and lava-spewing volcanoes.

The scents of orange and lemon trees, glistening golden mosaics, open air markets, and traditional Sicilian dishes are sure to please any palate.  Freshly fished pesce spada and tonno, ricotta cheese, eggplants, pistachios, almonds and sweet treats such as granita and the world famous Sicilian cannolo make the region a gastronomic delight. Sicily has remained a culturally diverse region owing its extraordinary evolution to numerous invaders who have influenced its food, art and architecture.

Palermo, the region’s bustling capital, is dotted with a myriad of artistic and architectural gems present for centuries: Arab domes, Byzantine mosaics, Norman palace walls, a majestic opera house and vibrant outdoor food markets.

The Greek-influenced cities of Taormina, Siracusa and Agrigento possess their own distinct characteristics. Taormina is a fairytale town perched on the sea famed for its Greek-Roman theater.  Siracusa offers white-washed narrow streets, ancient Greek ruins, an historic Jewish area and one of the oldest fish markets in the world frequented by locals and tourists. Agrigento’s classical character is accentuated by the Valley of the Temples, a collection of well-preserved temples dating back from 5th century B.C.  

Venture a short distance to the countryside landing at the base of Mt. Etna. Hike around the volcano’s crater or sip wine at an acclaimed winery with Mt. Etna as your backdrop.

A trip to the southeastern side of Sicily will stun you with elaborate and ornate Baroque architecture. The golden-hued façade of Noto’s duomo appears to shimmer during sunset, while Ragusa and Modica offer multi-tiered cathedrals on picturesque settings.

To the west, explore salt pans near Trapani, the wines of Marsala, hilltop towns such as Erice and sandy beaches along the Golfo de Castellamare.  

The possibilities are endless. You will need to return to Sicily more than once to fully immerse yourself in this captivating and intriguing region.