Sicily travel guide.
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Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean Islands, beautiful sunny island in the Mediterranean Sea, with breathtaking landscapes rich in contrast is a compendium of the greatest civilisations and cultures of all time.
This incredible land preserves a rich testimony of any ruler who, throughout the centuries, held sway of the island (Hellenic, Arab, Spanish, French etc..). The necropolises and relics of Sicani and Siculi, the temples and cities of Greeks, the buildings left by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs and Normans witness about the Sicily’s multi-millenary history.
Sicily, land rich of art and culture, in its cities (Palermo, Catania, Caltanissetta, Enna, Syracuse, Ragusa, Trapani, Agrigento, Noto, Taormina, Messina ) any movement of art is well represented. Sicily preeminently represents the Mediterranean culture. (View Images of Sicily)


-Palermo: details about Palermo...

-Catania- The city experienced various catastrophic events in its history (Etna’s devastating eruptions and earthquakes) especially in 17th century, so most prestigious buildings date back to reconstruction time (18th cent.).
Among the most important things to see: Piazza del Duomo, the heart of the city, surrounded by magnificent Baroque buildings with in the centre the 'Fontana dell’Elefante' (Fountain of the Elephant) which is the symbol of the town; The Duomo, dedicated to S. Agata, Catania’s patron saint, was erected in the late 11th century, rebuilt after the 1693’s earthquake; Badia di S. Agata located beside the Duomo; Palazzo Biscari, one of the most beautiful building in Catania, was erected after the earthquake in 1693.

-Messina- City shaked by devasting earthquakes in recent times (especially 1783 and 1908, the latter with about 60,000 dead), was in the past a crossroad of trade, cultural and artistical exchanges. Things to see: Museo Regionale, which stores works of Antonello da Messina and other Messina's artists, paintings and other works date back also to Byzantine and Norman Ages; church of San Giovanni Malta, square building of the late1500’s, Duomo (most entirely rebuilt after its original Norman style following the quake of 1908); Fontana di Orione (fountain rising at the centre of Piazza del Duomo sculpted in a pre-Baroque style -16th century).

-Agrigento- The ancient Akragas was founded about 580 BC by a group of people from Rhodes and Creta. Things to see: Cathedral (Norman original 11th c., rebuilt in the 13th c.-14th c. and remodelled in the 17th c.); Santa Maria dei Greci (14th c. church dedicated to St. Mary of the Greeks was built upon the foundations of a temple dedicated to Athena); church of San Nicola (built of tufa, the in the 13 th c. by Cistercian monks in a transitional Romanesque to Gothic style); Greco-Roman quarter ( urban complex following the standard rules advocated by the Greek town planner Hippadamus of Miletus); Valley of the Temples.

-Syracuse- A large number of vestiges witness of the ancient Greek past. Syracuse was colonized in the 8th c. BC by Greeks from Corinth, who settled on the island of Ortygia. The city reached greatest splendour in the 5-4th c. BC; its population reached 300,000, and established its supremacy over the rest of Sicily. Archimedes, the famous mathematician, born at Syracuse in 287 BC. Things to see: Parco archeologico della Neapolis (Greek Theatre 5th c. BC, The Roman amphitheatre was built during the Imperial era, Tomb of Archimedes).

-Taormina- City on a rocky spur at about 200mt. above sea level, occupies a fabulous position, huge balcony overlooking the sea with a dramatic view of the Etna volcano and is most renowned sea resort in Sicily since the 18th century. The famous Taormina’s theatre was built by the Ancient Greeks, then transformed and enlarged by the Romans (2nd c. AD). (photos of Taormina).

-Erice- Historic town in the Western Sicily, Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, overlooking the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily's north-western coast, providing spectacular views. Main sights: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped. (photos of Erice).

Natural sights

Varied sea landscapes along a roughly 1,000 km-long coastline include a large number of splendid sea resorts (Taormina, Cefalů, Mondello, Scopello, San Vito lo Capo and many others) well-provided with accommodation and tourism facilities.
Mount Etna is one of Europe’s most famous active volcanoes and with its 3,350 mt., is also Sicily’s tallest peak. There are several ways to climb up the volcano from the South or the North offering excursionists different views.

Sicily also includes a large number of satellite islands and archipelagoes of of notable beauty.
Pantelleria: a volcanic island close to the African coast - 37 km from Tunis.
Ustica: ancient settlement inhabited by the Phoenicians and the Romans, includes a marine protected reserve.
Aeolian Islands : seven volcanic islands -- Lipari, Alicudi, Filicudi, Stromboli, Salina, Vulcano, Panarea -- with archaeological interest renowned destination for tourists.
Pelagian Islands and Egadi Islands.

Cultural, Gastronomic and more...

The well-known "Valley of the Temples" (series of temples which were all erected in the course of a century - 5th c. BC), is just one of the several archaeological and historical sites Sicily offers.
Many gastronomic itineraries with all the typical flavors and aromas of the delicious Sicilian cuisine and many of the icons of the Dieta Mediterranea.


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