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Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Sicily

Best Places to Visit in Sicily

Sicily is full of supremacy, many associated with the treasures of the ancient world. For example, in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, you will find one of the three most perfect temples in the Greek world. Selinunte is one of the largest of all known Greek temples. With over 3,500 square meters of mosaics, Villa Romana del Casale in Enna is one of the best preserved villas anywhere in the Roman Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The same goes for Ragusa and Modica, two cities that represent the pinnacle of European Baroque art. Monreale’s stunning mosaics and elaborate monasteries are considered highlights of European art, and the collection of the Palermo Archaeological Museum ranks it as one of Italy’s finest.

Mount Etna ranks as the highest active volcano in continental Europe, while the nighttime display of Stromboli in the neighboring Aeolian Islands is also the most reliable. Besides its tourist attractions, you will enjoy Sicily’s vibrant local culture and welcoming people. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Sicily and make your trip enjoyable.

10 Best Places to Visit in Sicily

Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Sicily:

1. Agrigento

Agrigento’s great temple and tomb complex dates back to 500 BC and includes the best preserved Doric temple in Sicily – the Tempio di Concordia – the most perfect temple to survive anywhere. Along with it, Tempio di Juno Lacinia is located in the eastern group, which is almost the same size, and in the western group, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, the largest of which was 40 meters, was destroyed by an earthquake.

The circular Dor Tempio di Heracles also belongs to the western group, it was destroyed by the Carthaginians and rebuilt by the Romans, only partially destroyed by the earthquake. The entire group is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The luxurious rooms and suites of Hotel Villa Athena overlook the Tempio della Concordia in the Valley of the Temples, and there is a swimming pool and spa in the gardens surrounding the property.

Address: Valle dei Templi, Agrigento, Sicily

Official website: http://www.valleyofthetemples.com/

2. Palermo

Two of Palermo’s three main churches, the Cappella Palatina and Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, better known as La Martorana, are famous for their mosaics. Those found on the altar of the Norman court church Cappella Palatina are believed to be from 1143, while the Christ mosaic between Peter and Paul is believed to be from about 1350. Other highlights of the church are its Arabian stalactite ceiling, carved and inlaid pulpit columns, and tall candlesticks.

The beautiful mosaics of La Martorana, also from the 12th century gold floor, are the oldest mosaics in Sicily. The figure of Jesus is the core, and the vault, dome, apse, and the rest of the entrance are scenes from the New Testament. The third church is the Cathedral, with its Gothic Catalan portico from 1453, the colossal Norman tomb, and the jewel-encrusted crown of Constance of Aragon, a tour of the Cathedral’s treasury.

3. Monreale

Monreale Cathedral immediately reflects the political, religious and artistic peaks of Sicily under Norman rule. In doing so, it also has a place in European art history, and what is even more remarkable is that it is almost identical today as it was built in the 1100s.

The cathedral’s architecture represents a shift from Eastern Byzantine forms, but its decoration with dazzling mosaics considered the church’s majestic highlight, ties it closely to Byzantine tradition. They cover every available surface, rendered with vibrant colors and exceptional artistic skill in intricate illustrations of biblical texts and themes.

Artistically, the cloister is juxtaposed with mosaic, a masterpiece of 228 double columns in intricate capitals that surround a garden with a beautiful fountain in one corner. The stone carvings are not only exquisite, but the patterns include mythology, religion, animals, flowers and human figures. Most of the columns are covered with colored gemstones and no two are alike.

Just a few steps from the Cathedral, the boutique Palazzo Cuto is housed in a historic residence furnished with antiques, paintings and sculptures. The views from the hotel are magnificent, encompassing Palermo and the inland mountains.

Address: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Monreale

4. Mount Etna

Mount Etna is an enigma; Even its height can never be determined, as it changes with each new eruption. But at more than 3,000 metres, its often smoking cone dominates the skyline. Craters, fumaroles, hot springs, and lava flows add to its ever-changing landscape, and you can explore most of it on foot or on an ATV designed to circumnavigate the volcano’s surface (although not too close to the central crater).

The path leads to the base of the cable car, which takes you to the starting point at 2,500 meters, on an easy day trip from Catania or Taormina. In winter, you can ski near the top of the mountain.

Ferrovia Circumetnea is a narrow-gauge railway that can take you almost around the mountain, or go around it, past castles, archaeological sites, and towns with stunning views. On the north side of Mount Etna, the Alcántara River cuts a magnificent canyon from a long-ago lava flow, forming the Gole dell’Alcántara (Alcántara Canyon).

5. Ragusa and Modica

The 1693 earthquake flattened much of Sicily’s southern tip, including the neighboring towns of Ragusa and Modica. Both towns were rebuilt in the Baroque style of the time, locally known as Sicilian Baroque. Along with six others, Ragusa and Modica are UNESCO World Heritage Sites as “the culmination and last bloom of European Baroque art”.

Ragusa built a new city on a hill above the old city, but enough buildings remained in the old city to keep it alive, and the demolition was replaced by new baroque buildings. St. Modica was built with materials reclaimed from buildings that collapsed after the earthquake. It was built on two floors with its upper town highlighted by the St. George’s Church. In the Lower Town, look for the 15th-century Gothic rose window at Chiesa del Carmine.

6. Parco Archeologico della Neapolis

One of the largest theaters in the Ancient Greek Empire, Syracuse Archaeological Park is a good reason to visit, but it’s not the only one. As you approach Viale Rizzo, you can see the extent of the excavations, which includes a Greek theater and a large Roman amphitheater.

The monumental altar of Hero II was built in the 3rd century BC, a century after the Greek theater with 15,000 spectators. The Roman amphitheater was built in the third century AD and was partially carved out of bedrock.

An interesting feature of this archaeological park is the opportunity to see the quarries in situ, which cut the building blocks for various structures. The largest of these is Latomia del Paradiso, where limestone has been mined since the 6th century BC. One of the underground galleries has such excellent acoustics that it is called l’Orecchio di Dionisio, the Ear of Dionysius.

7. Townscape and Greek Theater

Competing with Mount Eris for the prettiest town setting in Sicily, Taormina would be a tourist favorite if not for its magnificent Greek theater and iconic view of Mount Etna. Taormina’s streets open onto terraces, each with postcard sea or mountain views.

Corso Umberto is the town’s main street, winding through a series of squares and terraces lined with old buildings, stylish shops and outdoor cafes. The driveway goes up and turns into a long staircase, getting higher and higher, giving way to more viewpoints and castles.

The most famous sight, immortalized by painters over the centuries, comes from the landmark Greek theater built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC and completely rebuilt by the Romans a century later. It is basically rugged and used for performance.

For stunning views of the town and Mount Etna and a peaceful setting from a busy street, choose the small luxury boutique hotel Villa Ducale. The unique design of the rooms and suites combines traditional Sicilian and Italian modern styles. Guests can take the free shuttle to the city center and the beach.

8. Aeolian Islands

All seven islands are volcanic, some still active and located on Sicily’s north coast and are easily accessible by boat from Messina or Milazzo. Probably the most famous is the Stromboli, whose fireworks light up the sky each night and delight cruise ship passengers with an exhibit for departure times.

Volcanic activity has created a beautiful coastline of rugged rocks, as well as natural attractions to visit – fumaroles, hot springs, and sulfur springs. It is another attraction for tourists, who can find a variety of water sports, beaches, boat rentals, diving and scenic boat tours, as well as ferry connections between the islands. Prehistoric sites abound, as are sites from the later Greek and Roman periods.

9. Go to the Beaches

Some of Italy’s best beaches are on the Sicilian coast, with long white sands sloping towards the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian Seas. While most of these beaches are equipped with the typical rental sun loungers , and changing tents, showers and toilets, there are fewer beaches in nature preserves.

One of them is Torre Salsa, located in the World Wildlife Fund Nature Reserve near Agrigento and Selinunte. Unlike the usual beach resorts and sun-worshippers, you’ll find 6km of pristine sand backed by white chalk cliffs. The water is equally pristine, clear and full of marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The small island of Isola Bella, part of the World Wildlife Fund Nature Reserve, lies just below Taormina and can be reached by cable car. It is connected to the mainland by a narrow rocky beach, which is itself pebble rather than sand. But it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful setting with its crystal clear waters. Snorkeling is popular here, sun loungers are available for rent and canoes are available.

San Vito Lo Capo beach is adjacent to the Zingaro Nature Reserve on Sicily’s northwest coast and is protected by a high promontory at one end. It is picturesque with palm trees, a kilometer of soft white sand beaches, clear blue waters and tourist facilities.

10. Antonino Salinas Regional Archeological Museum

You will find some very impressive museums in a place filled with Greek, Roman and early ruins. You’re right. But despite this, Palermo’s Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas ranks among the best in all of Italy.

Highlights include the Palermo Stone with hieroglyphs of Egyptian pharaohs from the third and fourth millennium BC, the 2nd century BC Zeus Statue, and the outstanding statues and friezes of the Temple of Selinunte. Also look for Etruscan Mercury personnel, Chiusi’s tombstones, attic tombstones, and Stone and Bronze Age tools and materials.

Conclusion:

Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Sicily. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Sicily, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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