6 Stunning Sights to See in Sicily
For a long time, Sicily has been overshadowed by the more ‘glamorous’ regions of Italy, like Tuscany or Piedmont. However, it has become increasingly popular and continues to astound visitors with its history, culture, scenery, food, and passionate people.
There’s so much to do and see in Sicily, we have picked six of the best and most stand-out experiences so you can take in the sights, sounds and tastes of this culturally rich part of the world.
1. Mount Etna
Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. Standing at 3,329 metres tall, it dominates the landscape of the north-eastern part of Sicily. The first recorded eruptions of Etna occurred in 425BC, and it does still remain active today.
There are a number of ways to see Mount Etna. One of them is the Circumetnea Railway, which connects the villages and towns at the foot of the mountain to the city of Catania. It’s a very cute, rustic little train, and the journey is stunning, allowing you to sit back and relax. You’ll share the single-car train with Sicilian commuters as it leaves Catania (Station Borgo) and chugs up the mountain.
Once you’re at the top of the mountain, a chair lift and four-wheel drive bus can take you closer to the rim of the crater, 2,920 metres above sea level. It’s an exhilarating experience as see the volcanic ash and feel the force of the wind! Best of all, this experience is included in our Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour, and is one of the few tour companies that take our travellers all the way to the top of the crater.
2. The Greek and Roman ruins of Syracuse
Syracuse is one of the great cities of the Western Greek diaspora, as it was home to the famous mathematician and engineer Archimedes. It’s a stunning area of Sicily, where history intertwines with quaint yacht towns and harbours.
The area is dotted with essential sights to visit for any history buff. These include the Parco Archeologico (where ancient Greek and Roman plays are still performed in the summer) and the Duomo (a cathedral that was made by filling in the gaps between the columns of the Greek temple Minerva).
The archaeological area known as the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is also considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, combining striking mosaics and fascinating architecture, combined with views of the rolling hillside.
3. Ortigia Island
The island of Ortigia is known as the ‘white pearl of Syracuse’ - and for good reason! It’s a magical place full of history, poetry and beautiful buildings, all set against the backdrop of the ocean. You can get lost for the day wandering its narrow streets, being inspired by the ancient architecture, friendly people and wonderful food.
It’s the oldest part of the city of Syracuse, and is connected to the mainland by three bridges; the Umbertino Bridge, the Calatafari Bridge and the Saint Lucia Bridge. The best way to see Ortigia is definitely by foot, so remember to bring your walking shoes! You can stroll the streets in the sunshine, take in the historical sites and then stop for lunch - followed by some gelato, of course!
4. Mosaics in the Villa Romana de Casale
Located just outside the city of Enna, a landslide occurring sometime in the 12th century buried this sprawling Roman villa, preserving it to be basically intact when it was discovered and excavated eight centuries later. It’s considered to be one of the most well-preserved villas in the Roman Empire, with its 50 rooms, 3,500 square metres of mosaic floors and its original decorations being a stunning sight to see for the public.
It details scenes of mythology and contemporary life in the era it was built in, offering scenes of hunting wild animals for use in gladiatorial combat. Also featuring a beautiful outdoor scene of thermal baths and a colonnaded courtyard, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit for those coming to Sicily.
5. The fishing port of Sciacca
Sciacca is a quaint historic fishing port on the southern coast of Sicily. This is your chance to see true Sicilian culture, as Sciacca embodies all that is real-world charm, rather than being a polished tourist destination. It’s famous for its ceramics, its thermal baths and its religious festivals, as well as its impressive fishing fleet that lines the harbour.
Sciacca’s location is very convenient for tours or solo travellers, as it sits between the two Greek archaeological sites of Selinunte and Agrigento, making it an excellent stopover for a short visit or overnight stay.
6. The Marsala countryside
Visiting the city of Marsala is another opportunity to see Sicily in its truest, most authentic light. Known for its sweet dessert wine (Marsala wine), the city is also known as the location that Giuseppe Garibaldi started the process of Italian unification. You’ll notice this very quickly, as almost every other bar, restaurant or kiosk carries Garibaldi’s name!
Marsala is a quaint baroque town, with an ever-present sea breeze, golden-hued traditional buildings and a lively feeling in the streets. Head out into the countryside and explore the traditional farmhouses and stunning scenery of the area, or maybe even dabble in a luxurious and authentic Baglio wine tasting!
Visiting stunning Sicily with Albatross Tours
If you’ve got Sicily on your mind, then take the plunge and make plans to visit this amazing part of the world. It’s Italy, but not as you know it!
Request an Albatross Tours Summer in Europe brochure today to explore your options, and begin planning your next European adventure in Sicily.