Greek temple at Selinunte, Sicily.

Sicily is an Italian island located at the foot of Italy. Sicily is famous to many people because of the Mafia, but it is also popular these days for tourism purposes.

Sicily boasts excellent all year round weather, lovely beaches and excellent food and wines. The two main cities are Palermo (on the North Western coast) and Catania (on the East coast). Catania is in many ways famous because of the Etna Volcano.

The main airports into Sicily are Catania and Palermo airports. To learn about flights and getting to Sicily, Italy, go here.

The geographical location, the beautiful nature,the history,art and culture make Sicily an island rich in fascination. Much loved by poets, writers, travellers and foreigners in general, the island offers a vast choice for whoever wishes to reward themself with a reviving holiday of both mind and body.

Sicily is above-all a natural attraction with its countryside, coastline, mountains, plains,gulfs and islands.

The capital city is Palermo and the county towns are Catania, Messina, Siracusa, Trapani, Ragusa, Caltanissetta, Agrigento and Enna. Sicily is the largest and most populated island in the Mediterranean, separated from the Italian mainland by the Straits of Messina. The island possesses 1,039 km of jagged coastline. The Tyrrhenian part of the coast is composed of inlets and peninsulas and comprises the gulfs of Milazzo, Patti, Termini Imerese, Palermo, and Castellamare. The west coast from Trapani towards the south is marshy and has few inlets. The south coast has a similar conformation and is the site of the Gulf of Gela. The section of the island that looks out over the Mediterranean is flatter and sandy. The Ionian Sea, laps the shores of Sicily in an area which alternates between high rocky outcrops and low sandy beaches. The relief of the island can be separated into various mountain groups, the principal group being the Siculo Apennines which cross Tirreno in the northern part of the island, from Capo Faro to Capo Lilebeo. This mountain group can be divided into three sections: the Peloritani, the Nebrodior Caronie and the Madonie. Monte Ghibellini is situated in the western zone of the island, while the Solifero Plateau is located in the central-southern zone.The Eolie and Lipari islands form part of the Sicilian archipelago, which is located to the north of the Gulf of Milazzo. The most important islands are Vulcano, Lipari and Salina, while the smallest are Filicudi, Panarea, Alicudi and Stromboli. The Egadi archipelago is located off the western coast and is made up of three major islands. Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo and by the minor islands of Formica and Maraone. The Pelagie islands are those islands situated the furthest distance away from Sicily and are included within the territory of the province of Agrigento. The archipelago, 200 km away from Sicily, includes the island of Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione. The island of Ustica is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Sicily is connected to the mainland by a series of sea and air links. The Straits of Messina are the crossroads for those people visiting the islands from both Italy and Europe. Palermo, with its airport Punta Raisi, provides links with Naples, Cagliari, Tunisia and Ustica.Other major sicilian airports include Fontanarossa near Catania and Birgi near Trapani.The road and rail system is limited to the routes Messina-Palermo along the Tyrrhenian coast, the Palermo-Catania-Siracusa along the Ionic coastland the Palermo-Catania which crosses the inner part of the island.

the rail network allows the visitor to travel to the archaeological sites outside the cities,such as Segeta and Selinunte. A rail card exists, which allows unlimited travel for 8,15,21 or 30 days, available in first or second class. It is also possible to obtain a kilometric ticket, valid for a maximum of five people in any one group for a distance of not less than 3,000 kilometres.

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Hotels and lodgingEdit

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Palermo is a sumptuous city situated on the splendid Conca d'Oro at the foot of Monte Pellegrino. The city was already inhabited during ancient times, the Phoenicians referred to Palermo as Ziz (flower), it was occupied by the Greeks, the Carthaginians made their base here as did the Romans, Byzantines and the Arabs, who made the city the capital of the island. It was with the Normans however that the city became rich and cosmopolitan, living a splendid era of development in the arts, a period which was continued during the reign of Federico II. Upon becoming an Aragonese city, Palermo underwent a profound changes, establishing itself as a Baroque city. The itinerary recommended allows the visitor to admire this wonderful mix of architectural styles, and to observe the monuments grouped together in this area, which reflect the artistic and historic aspects of the city. The departure point for the tour is the Palazzo dei Normanni, with the Palantina Chapel, the Royal Apartments and the S,Giovanni degli Eremiti Church. After having reached the Zisa in via Colonna and Cuba in Corso Calatifimi, the route returns to the Palazzo dei Normanni. From here the tour proceeds along Corso Vittorio Emanuele towards the Cathedral, from here turning left on Via Marqueda to S.Cataldo and Martorana. The tour continues to Magione, onwards along Corso dei Mille before finally arriving at S.Giovanni dei Lebbrosi.

Agrigentino differs from the rest of the island in its colours, rendered more vivid and brilliant thanks to its African climatic conditions. Apart from the notable colours, the area also possesses the highest concentration of monuments and artefacts from the Greek civilization in Sicily. The Valle dei Templi, with its 5th century temples, stands in the southernmost part of Agrigento,on the ruins of the ancient city. The temples stand almost in a straight line and bear the names of Greek Gods. The Zeus Olimpio Temple was built on the occasion of the victory in 480 A.C by the Agrigentini over the Carthaginans. The Castore and Poluce Temple from the 5th century A:C. The Temple of Heracles,which is the oldest and contains eight tapered columns. The Temple of Hera Lincinia, built in the 5th century A.C and set on fire by the Carthaginians in 406 A.C, has miraculously managed to maintain its columns intact.

Baroque, fantasy and decoration reign in the town of Ragusa, the most important centre in the Iblei Mounts zone. A place which embodies the natural and historical characteristics which distinguish this corner of Sicily. The centre of the town rotates around Corso Italia, a road that in climbing, cuts the old residential centre of the town in two from east to west. The view from the centre allows the visitor to admire the splendid scenery of the two valleys, site of the original nucleus of the city. La Rotonda Terrace stands at the extreme northern end of Via Roma. From the terrace it is possible to enjoy the view over San Leonardo valley and glimpse the majestic dome of the San Giorgio Duomo, which stands on the top of the Ibla. The other end of Via Roma is the site of the Ponte (bridge), where it is possible to appreciate the fine view of the Santa Domenica valley. By following the state road N° 194, it is possible to arrive at Giarratana, Monterosso Almo and Vizzini. Continuing on to Grammichele and Caltagirone, where the oldest ceramic art techniques in the world are practised. from here the route leads south -west along the state road 417 and 117 to Gela. Following the coastal road the visitor arrives at Camarina, Marinadi Ragusa and the mouth of the river Irminio. The return to Ragusa takes in a visit to Modica, a very pretty location with Baroque architecture, the San. Pietro Church and staircase, Tedeschi building and the S. Maria del Soccorso and S. Giorgio Church. A visit to Siracusa and its territory which occupies the southern part of the island, permits the visitor to enter into contact with an era that dates back to 2,000 years B.C, passes through the Hellenic culture and arrives at the Baroque period. Noto is without a doubt the emblematic town of this zone, representing in the fullest form possible these important historical periods. A small town laid out to an original design, on the terraces on the slopes of a hill. The roads run straight and parallel only to be joined by the sharing of the town's squares. The fulcrum of the town is the beautiful Piazza del Municipio. the Baroque Duomo, the Ducezio building, the Archbishop's residence and the Landolina building all look onto the Piazza del Municipio. Ancient Noto is located 10 km away in an archaeological park, which preserves the remains of a Greek gymnasium. Catania, a large and beautiful city, is located on the east coast of Sicily. the town occupies a magnificent position on the fruit farming plain at the foot of the initial slopes of Etna. the city has a pre-dominantly baroque feel, evident in its numerous churches (the Duomo façade, S.Agata,and S.Nicolò) and the buildings (San Giuliano, Biscari and the Town Hall) The seaside town of Taormina looks out over the Ionian sea from a terrace perched 200 metres above the water. The landscape is made even more impressive by the presence of the mighty Etna volcano. Taormina has always been a major Sicilian tourist attraction, thanks to its mild climate, natural beauty and its priceless treasures of historic and cultural events. The town still preserves the remains of the Greek era (Serapide Temple, Hellenic Temple) and the Roman era ( the theatre on Monte Tauro Odeon Roman Theatre, the Roman Aqueduct and the Naumachia and Roman baths in the centre of the city). The medieval centre of the town is the site of the Orologio (clock) Tower, the Corvaia building, S. Caterina Church, the Duomo, the Santo Stefano building and the Gothic ex-church of Sant'Agostino)


Maps and transportationEdit

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Getting to SicilyEdit

Exploring SicilyEdit

It is in Trapanese, between Egadi and Pantelleria that Sicily shows its true natural colours and a trip to this location is not easily forgotten. The colours, the smells, the glimpses of crystal clear water and the traces of history left by the Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs leave a lasting impression on the visitor. The departure point for a tour is Trapani along a secondary road that leads to Erice, then by sea to Egadi, a marine reserve rich in caves and uncontaminated coves rich in history. Back on the main island, the tour continues to Saline, touching Mazia and Marsala. Following the state road 115, the visitor arrives at Mazaro del Vallo, Castelvetrano and with a brief detour the archaeological site of Selinunte. The site, with its abundance of remains, constitutes one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and contains oriental temples, the Acropolis, the Sanctuary of Malophoros and the Archaeological Museum.

Pantelleria, one of the major Sicilian islands, is rich in secondary volcanic activity from geysers to vapour filled caves. The Bagno di Venere is situated 6 km from the town, and are the most important thermal baths. The site is a wonderful turquoise lake inside a half a kilometre wide crater. The western side of the crater is the site of a sulphur spring. The water at this sulphur spring is heated by small calderas.

The sea and mountain landscapes are attractive reasons for visiting this area together with the archaeological zones which house the remains of the ancient historic dwelling Mursia and the Barbacane Medieval Castle. The vineyards of Pantelleria are noted for their excellent desert wine production using the celebrated zibibbo grape, nurtured by the African sun. the wine was already highly praised at the time of the Phoenicians.

Practical information and resourcesEdit


Currency : Euro

Climate : The north and east coast have mild winters and warm summers with little rainfall. The climate inland and on the coast is hotter and sometimes torrid, with the presence of warm and wet scirocco winds, which blow from Africa

Opening hours : Shops are open from 9amto 2pm and 4pm to 8pm, except for Saturday and Sunday afternoons and the two week period around the 5th of August. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 1:20pm and from 2:45 to 3:45 pm. The post office is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 1:20 pm. Restaurants are open from 12:30 to 3:30pm and from 8pm to mid-night.

Telephones : : Palermo 091, Agrigento 0922, Catania 095, Enna 0935, Messina 090, Ragusa 0932, Siracusa 0931, Trapani 0923

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  • Resort in Sicily Grand Avalon Sikani Residence & Resort in Gioiosa Mareia, Northern Sicily. Great place to stay.