Getting there & away
Direct trains run from Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples and Reggio di Calabria to Messina and on to Palermo, Catania and other provincial capitals – the trains are transported from the mainland by ferry from Villa San Giovanni. Eurostar (ES) trains are more costly, but faster and more punctual than the Intercity (IC) trains.
Sicily is also accessible by ferry from Naples, Genoa, Livorno and Cagliari, as well as from Malta and Tunisia. Prices are at their most expensive between June and September. Tickets can be booked through the companies’ respective websites or at travel agencies. In summer you will need to book several weeks in advance.
Siremar (091 749 31 11; www.siremar.it in Italian) Local operator with services from Palermo to Ustica, Palermo and Milazzo to the Aeolian Islands, Trapani to the Egadi Islands and Pantelleria, and Porto Empedocle (Agrigento) to the Pelagic Islands.
Ustica Lines (0923 87 88 13; www.usticalines.it) Hydrofoil from Naples, Palermo and Cefalù to the Aeolian Islands, Reggio Calabria to Messina, Trapani and Marsala to the Egadi Islands, Mazara del Vallo and Marsala to Pantelleria, and Porto Empedocle (Agrigento) to the Pelagic Islands.
Virtu Ferries (356 31 88 54; www.virtuferries.com ; 8 Princess St, Ta’Xbiex, Malta) Runs a daily high-speed hydrofoil service between Malta and Pozzallo, just south of Syracuse, and up to four daily services in July and August.