Sicily Attractions, Italy
Sicily offers a choice of must-see attractions for inquisitive couples celebrating a beach holiday or romantic getaway on this ancient Mediterannean island, including:
Explore the slopes of Mount Etna (3323m), the highest volcano in Europe. Hike through a fertile volcanic landscape of palm trees, vineyards and orchards that give way to alpine firs and a moonscape of hardened lava scattered with several destroyed homes.
Given that Mount Etna is in an almost constant state of eruption, the summit is usually considered dangerous without a guide beyond 2900m. However, if conditions are favourable, you can climb to the volcano's summit or to one of the mountain’s four craters and peer down into a bubbling caldron of molten lava. Mount Etna is usually covered in snow until June with skiing available at the Etna Regional Park during the winter season.
Alternatively, hike up to the ruins of 11th century Castello Normanno for scenic views across to Mount Etna and the coastline beyond.
La Kalsa (Palermo)
Discover some of the Sicilian capital’s most treasured sights in the heart of the Old Quarter. From the central square (Piazza della Kalsa), follow a maze of narrow streets past ancient and faded former palaces and churches, including the Palazzo Abatellis and the Chiesa della Santa Trinità – a splendid Norman church built in 1191.
Then browse bustling outdoor markets, where you can savour local fast food such as the babbaluci (marinated baby snails) that are sold in paper cornets. Parts of La Kalsa are little changed since the city’s former Arab rulers created the walled city for the Emir.
Galleria Regionale della Sicilia (Palermo)
Admire this magnificent collection of Sicilian paintings and sculptures from the 13th to the 18th century.
Museo Archeologico Regionale (Palermo)
This is one of the finest museums in Italy. Explore a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts excavated from around the island. Admire a Phoenician sarcophagi from the 5th century BC, Greek carvings from Selinunte, the Hellenistic Bronze Ram of Syracuse and more than 10,000 Etruscan artifacts.
Chiesa di Santa Cita (Palermo)
Marvel at the stunning oratory in this 14th century church, which was named after the patron saint of domestic servants. The 17th century Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita contains a breathtaking display of stuccos by sculptor and baroque decorator Giacomo Serpotta, including the elaborate Battle of Lepanto on the entrance wall.
Necropolis of Pantalica (Syracuse)
Explore on foot more than 5000 square rock-cut tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC at this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site. Various trails make this area easy to wander around. Pantalica is located in the southeast of Sicily, around 9km from Feria.
Villa Romana del Casale (Piazza Armerina)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to one of the world’s richest collections of Roman mosaics, which carpet 40 rooms inside at one of the grandest of all Roman villas to have survived the classical era. The villa dates back to the 4th century AD and is located around 5km from the town of Piazza Armerina in southern Sicily.
Valley of the Temples (Agrigento)
Walk among the largest and perhaps greatest collection of ancient Greek ruins in the world – especially stunning at dawn, sunset or at night when the UNESCO World Heritage Site is floodlit.
Among the magnificent ruins, marvel at the wind-eroded columns still standing at the Temple of Juno, which dates to 450 BC, and the immense Temple of Concordia, one of the best preserved Greek ruins in the world. The Valley of the Temples is located near the town of Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily.
Temple of Segesta (Segesta)
Admire this almost perfectly preserved Doric temple, with a total of 36 wind-eroded stone columns that date back to the 5th century BC. Nearby stands a magnificent Roman theatre with panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. Segesta is located in the northwest of Sicily.
Val di Noto
Discover one of Europe’s finest collections of Baroque architecture, built in 1683 on the ruins of several ancient towns (founded in 664 BC) that were destroyed by an earthquake. The towns include Caltagirone, Militello, Cartania, Modica, Noto and Palazzolo Acreide. Val di Noto is located in the southeast of Sicily.
Wander narrow cobbled streets beneath flower-covered baroque balconies and courtyards. At 755m above sea level, this enthralling medieval walled mountain town offers panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and along the west coast of Sicily.
Some alleyways (known as vanelle) permit only one person to pass at a time. Follow the pathway past the lovely Villa Balio gardens and along the cliff's edge to Erice's highest point – the Castello di Venere, a crumbling Norman ruin that occupies a sacred site where a temple to Venus once stood. Erice is located 96km south of Palermo.
Monreale Duomo (Monreale)
Stroll the magnificent cloisters and marvel at the breathtaking interior of this 12th century cathedral, one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture in the world. The church is a national monument of Italy and houses a stunning array of glass mosaics (6500m²) – the largest cycle of Byzantine mosaics in Italy.