Sicily, right on the tip of Italy, has something of a rough and ready reputation. However, the reality is it has plenty to offer the traveller with incredible scenery, gorgeous beaches and amazing historical artefacts to explore. Here are just a few of the things that place Sicily, firmly, on our list of places to visit.
As Europe’s tallest active volcano, at 3,350 metres tall, Mount Etna provides quite a sight even when it’s not erupting. Its imposing height appeals to geographers, wannabe photographers and instagram addicts alike. The volcano is active but the last eruption took place on the 3rd December 2015 and there’s always the opportunity (whilst it’s safe) to explore up close and personal.
Particularly adventurous explorers will love exploring the inside of the Silvestri craters – the view from the top of these craters is incredible and having been inside a volcanic crater will earn you lots of kudos with your friends. For the more timid traveller there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this magnificent natural monument – book on to a jeep tour with Etna Moving or take to the trees with the Etna Adventure Park high ropes course.
Godfather Filming Locations
The Godfather trilogy, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, catapulted Sicily in to the limelight in the 1970s and simultaneously instilled fear and wonder with gorgeous, dramatic backdrops to the main action. Sicily today is a much different place than it was in the 1940s, when the film was set, and tourists are beginning to realise quite how much of a hidden gem this area is. This doesn’t mean that you should miss out on walking in the steps of the stars of this prolific film.
The Corleone mob family originate, in the film, from the city of the same name. However, by the 1970s Corleone was developed and not at all like the Sicily described in Mario Puzo’s novel, so Coppola had to look further afield. True fans should head to the towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agro. Here you will find (much unchanged) Bar Vitelli, where Michael, Fabrizio and Calo discuss Michael’s impending proposal and Chiesa di Santa Lucia, the Church where Michael and Apollonia are wed.
Non-fans dragged along by film buffs needn’t worry – these towns are remote, picturesque and full of Italian charm.
Sicily is endowed with a whole host of incredible beaches – with soft white sands amid the grassy confines of national parks, and turquoise waters that sparkle in the sun. Cala Mosche which is situated within the Vendicari Nature Reserve is one of these such beaches – access requires a 15-minute walk through the reserve, which means it is often peaceful and uncrowded. There are no vendors or sunloungers here but there is lots and lots of space to kick back and relax. Those looking for some ice cream with their sun will enjoy the beach at Cefalu which marries laid-back vibes with the pretty city beyond.
History buffs will go wild for a trip to Sicily – the region is full of archaeological sites to be discovered and explored. One of the finest is the ancient Greek ruins at Valle dei Templi, which has become something of an open-air museum. With around 1,300 hectares of grounds filled with seven temples, the park is certainly an impressive one. The most photo-worthy temples here are the Temple of Concordia which stands proudly unimpaired, and the Temple of Juno Lacinia whose columns remain largely intact.
Elsewhere, you can stand in awe at the decadent intricacies of Sicily’s cathedrals at the Cattedrale di Monreale and the Palermo Cathedral – these buildings are bedecked in gold-leaf and impressively ornate tile works, and stained glass windows.