Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, its history is the history of 25 centuries of foreign domination, starting as a province of Magna Graecia and a key territory of the Roman Empire, to colonisation under Byzantine, Muslim rule, and even conquest by Norman descendants of the Vikings.
A first visit to Sicily takes in three salient points of the island. On the east, the elegant 19th cent resort town of Taormina perched high above the sea and with an ancient Roman theatre, and not far from it fine Roman remains in Syracuse and Villa Casale. Then to the south of the island is to be found the sprawling and awesome complex of Roman temples known as the Valley Of Temples. Finally on the west coast lies the sprawling, bustling metropolis that is Palermo, overly rich in historical sites, most notably from the Norman invasion.
Whilst the cultural treasures tend to concentrate on the coastal edges of the island, the interior offers its own particular beauty, with mile after mile of sun ripened cornfields and rich agriculture offering a sense of enormity, of long swathes of space, broken occasionally by near-abandoned medieval villages that dot the landscape. But to visit Sicily one has to drive across this large interior - the coastal road between the principle sites offers a rough ride - and an understanding of the island is not complete without having experienced that sense of vastness.
And of course Mount Etna cannot go unmentioned, the looming giant that still spews its molten lava but whose volcanic soil is rich for agricultural produce, thus luring farmers to brave the everyday danger of an eruption. It’s a tough life on those slopes but these are a hardy people who have lived over the centuries with many other dangers other than just a volcano.
Please contact your Destination Specialist for more information on +44 (0) 1993 824198
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February - Almond Blossom in Agrigento
May - A wonderful time to visit gardens throughout Italy as flowers begin to bloom
May (last weekend) - Cantine Aperte (Open Wine Cellars)
May - July - The Cycle of Classical Plays at the ancient Greek Theatre in Syracuse
July - September – Taormina Arts Festival
August - Ferragosto parties throughout Italy on the country’s biggest holiday
September / October - Cantine Aperte (Open Wine Cellars) during the harvest
September - November - Sagre season, food and wine fairs throughout Italy
October - November - Olive Oil Harvest
December - Christmas markets in many towns
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