More of a sugar-spiked espresso than a milky cappuccino, Sicily will reward you with an intense bittersweet experience rather than anything lightweight and frothy. In Sicily it seems as though the sun shines brighter, the shadows are darker, and life is lived full on and for the moment. Overloaded with art treasures, undersupplied with infrastructure and continuously struggling to thwart Mafia-driven corruption, Sicily possesses some baffling social topography. Brace yourself to reconcile baroque architectural beauty in Catania with modern squalor in Palermo, artistic excellence with moral ambivalence and the rational with the sensual. This is an island to be visited with an open mind – and a healthy appetite; one factor remains a constant, and that is the uncompromisingly high quality of the cuisine.
After some 25 centuries of foreign domination, Sicilians are heir to an impressive cultural legacy, from the refined architecture of Magna Graecia to a beguiling, if contradictory, artistic fusion of Arab craftsmanship and Norman austerity. This complexity of culture is matched by a startling diversity of landscape that includes the smouldering Mt Etna, an aquamarine coastline with a tiara of Aeolian Islands and Parco Naturale Regionale Delle Madonie.
Today, Sicily’s new generation is loathe to remain trapped in the past. New ventures are seeing aristocratic entrepreneurs prising open the doors of some of Europe’s finest palazzi and villas, while sensitive agriturismi (farm stay accommodations) are shedding light on Sicily’s hidden rural treasures and national parks. Sicily also has a refreshing lack of neon-blazing entertainment and theme parks, which further helps preserve its individuality and appeal.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
- Trek the impressive volcanoes Etna and Stromboli
- Explore Sicily's ancient sites and lively culture by bike
- Get on the hop-on hop-off tour in Palermo
- Take a day trip to Taormina and Mount Etna
Last updated: Jan 22, 2013
Tips & articles
28 August 2012
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