Sicily is blessed with everything Italy has to offer combined with island traditions and a long season of sunshine.
Sicily is an island that represents three continents in its history, cuisine, language and even the citizens themselves. Their characters are as varied as their ancestry. With spectacular scenery, architectural wonders and sweeping beaches the island has attracted the elite since it became part of the European Grand Tour.
Throughout the years the island has become a host to numerous cultural, artistic and religious events. Just like the Greeks, Easter and Christmas are celebrated with much gusto. Every town or village has a patron saint and commemorates their name day with fireworks, eating and drinking. The culture here is one that must be experienced as it is so unique and memorable.
The town of Catania on Sicily's East coast has a vibrant music scene and many smart cafés and bars in baroque squares. The dramatic resort of Taormina and beautiful Giardini-Naxos can also be found in this stunning region of Sicily.
Sicilian cooking is the product of ancient traditions here in Sicily and has been widely admired for its mouthwatering food. The local cuisine is fish-based, with traditional dishes that include tune and swordfish with onion and fried 'lampuga' (common dolphinfish). Another speciality is anchovies with toasted breadcrumbs. A top-class cherry tomato, the Pachino IGP, is grown here, which is why many traditional recipes include fresh or sun-dried tomatoes. The sweets and deserts include 'cubbaita', a sesame nougat and 'cuccia' a cooked grain-based sweet with cream or ricotta.
The colourful, outdoor markets found in Sicily are held on the very same streets today as they were in the 10th Century. The markets offer gastronomic delights and great souvenirs. The most well-known are in Palermo and Catania, however, almost every town has its own little market held once a week.
Things To See
Founded in 528 BC, Agrigento is one of the most important cities of the Mediterranean. The temples, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997, are set in the valley below the modern town. To the right of the Aurea gate, stands the Temple of Olympian Zeus and around it is a large sacred area where the Temple of Castor and Pollux stand with characteristic angular columns.
On the east coast of Sicily, in the metropolitan city of Catania, lies the tallest active volcano in Europe, Il Monte Etna. This is said to be one of the most emblematic volcanoes in the world, which has been part of the World Heritage List since 2013. Earthquakes and lava flows have changed the landscape continuously, however has also generated extraordinary fertile territory, giving life to precious agricultural crops.
In the southeast of Sicily lies the Necropolis of Pantalica, a collection of cemeteries with rock-out chamber tombs dating from the 7th to the 13th centuries BC.
August is the hottest month in Catania with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) and the coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 14 in July. The wettest month is October with an average of 102mm of rain.
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