Places

Acireale, Sicily; with some splendid buildings and artworks

Acireale is a coastal town on the east of Sicily not far from the city of Catania'. It was an important medieval town that got further developed in the 16th and 17th century with the addition of some fine Baroque achitecture.

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Ispica, Sicily; home to some important prehistoric caves

Just a few kilometres inland from the south-eastern corner of Sicily, Ispica is a hill town and also the site of some important prehistoric caves and monuments.

It is the cave systems for which Ispica is best known, and cover an extensive stretch of valley approximately 13 kilometres long. The caves are often interlinked with tunnnels and were occupied at many different stages from the Bronze Age onwards, with later 'additions' including early catacombs and frescoes. One of the most important monuments is 'Sicano castle', also carved into the rock above a naturally defensive cliff.

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Sicily Map

A map of Sicily, Italy showing the most interesting and attractive places and highlights:

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Bagheria, Sicily; home to many beautiful Baroque villas

Bagheria is situated on the north coast of Sicily, close to the south-east of Palermo.

The town was at one time an enclave where the wealthy of Palermo built their baroque villas away from the main town in the rolling vineyards and lemon plantations of the region. The trend was started by the Prince Giuseppe Branciforte, and soon many other wealthy merchants followed the Prince's lead and it is the resultant villas that are the highlight of a visit to Bagheria.

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Agrigento, Sicily: and the fascinating Valley of the Temples

Agrigento is an important Sicilian city, and the capital of the Sicilian province of the same name. It is located on southern coast of the island.

It was one of the most important centers of civilization for the Greek colonists on Sicily, which can clearly be witnessed through the archaeological sites in the city. Agrigento has a long history of occupation and has changed hands several times during its 2600 year life.

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Catania, Sicily; listed with UNESCO for the importance of its Baroque buildings

Catania is located on the eastern coast of Sicily by the Ionian Sea, halfway between Messina and Syracuse.

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, and is also a port town. In common with other Sicilian cities Catania has a rich historical heritage, and the foundations of the city are thought to predate the Romans - during the Roman Period the city was a well known city of the empire with a name very similar to its Italian variation: Catina.

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Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu is a popular town, situated on the northern coast of Sicily.

The most readily identifiable feature in Cefalu is a natural one - a very large rock (known as La Rocca), and once home to the Greek Temple of Diana, and to the original town that stood here, parts of which can still be seen.

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Enna, Sicily

Enna is one of the few tourist attractions in Sicily which are not located along its coastline. Enna is located right in the center of the island, and is also a provincial capital.

Enna is popular for the breathtaking views it provides due to its hilltop location, and is one of the highest points in the island with an elevation of nearly 1000 metres.

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Erice, Sicily

Erice is a medieval town (with much earlier origins) situated in the north-western corner of Sicily, a few kilometres north-east of Trapani. The original ancient Greek town was known as Eryx.

The town is situated high on a hill above the town of Trapani, which it overlooks.

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Favignana, Sicily

The island of Favignana is in the Aegadian Islands group off the west coast of Sicily.

Although tuna fishing has long been the main industry of the island (you can't miss the large fishery in the harbour), along with the quarrying of soft local stone called tufa (you will see the quaries as you explore), Favignana is now a popular tourist destination.

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Gela, Sicily

Gela is probably the oldest town in Sicily after Syracuse. Located on the southern coast of Sicily by the Mediterranean, roughly forty miles west to Syracuse, Gela was an important center of Ancient Greek civilization. The foundation of Gela was followed by that of Agrigento, which emerged as an iconic symbol of the Greek superiority in the region at the time.

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Geraci-Siculo, Sicily; one of the most beautiful villages of Italy

The village of Geraci Siculo is situated to the south-east of Cefalu, and falls within the Parco delle Madonie (Regional Nature Park) at more than 1000 metres above sea-level.

With its narrow alleys and small churches a visit to the town is a true step backwards in time.

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Giardini Naxos, Sicily

Giardini Naxos is a popular town and resort situated just south of Taormina on the north-eastern coast of Sicily. It is a popular area for tourists seeking both culture and beaches..

History of Giardini Naxos

Naxos was the first colony founded in Sicily by the Chalcidians from the island of Euboea in the second half of the eighth century B.C. (734-735 B.C.) and they were joined by people from the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea. Soon Naxos became a thriving centre, expansing to form Lentini and Catania.

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Lampedusa, Sicily

The island of Lampedusa is part of the group known as the Pelagie islands and stands far off the south coast of Sicily (just over 200 kilometres distant) and only 113 kilometres from Tunisia. (The other islands in the group are called Linosa and Lampione.)

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Lentini, Sicily

Lentini is situated to the south-east of sicily, between Catania and Syracuse and a few kilometres inland.

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Lipari, Sicily

The island of Lipari (and the town bearing the same name) is the largest of the Aeolian Islands (also known as the Lipari Islands, to confuse things further!). The Aeolian Islands are off the north-east coast of Sicily.

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Marsala, Sicily

Marsala is located on Capo Boeo, the western coast of Sicily and is another tourist attraction because of a rich historical heritage. Marsala is one of the oldest cities of the area, which has historically been the fortress of the Carthaginians, and later came under Arab control - it is the Arabs who gave the city its present name.

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Mazara del Vallo, Sicily

Mazara del Vallo is a small town best known for its fishing and agriculture, located on the South Western coast of Sicily, in the province of Trapani.

Mazara del Vallo is also home to the largest fishing fleet in Sicily, and is as active a fishing port today as it has always been since its establishment. It is among the most ancient settlements established in Sicily, and its foundations date back to the time when the Phoenician seafarers ruled the Mediterranean trade

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Monreale, Sicily

Monreale is situated a few kilometres south of Palermo, in north-western Sicily. The town is in a pretty setting of orchards of olives and oranges.

It is Monreale cathedral that attracts the visitors - and rightly so, because it is one of the most impressive cathedrals to be found in Sicily, and is a very fine 12th century Norman monument founded by the Norman King William II, although the exterior, rather plain to look at except for a few decorated sections, gives little clue to the treasures to be discovered inside. The cathedral successfully brings together Norman, Arab and Byzantine art and architecture.

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Noto, Sicily; a beautiful Baroque town

Noto is found to the south-east of Sicily, to the east of Ragusa and south of Syracuse.

The town dates from the 18th century - there was a town that stood nearby previously but it was destroyed by the infamous earthquake of 1693 (the ruins of the original town can also be visited).

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Palermo, Sicily; one of the highlights of a trip to Sicily

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily, a role it took from Syracuse when under Muslim rule around 878 AD. Founded by Phoenicians, it is a port, like all the major Sicilian cities and economic centers, and is located on the north-western part of the island.

It is in a fine naturally protected setting on the slopes of Monte Pellegrino with the attractive harbour below. This location, combined with the rich architectural heritage, make palermo an absolute highlight of a visit to Sicily

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Pantelleria, Sicily; with many caves and natural saunas

The large island of Pantelleria is off the coast from western Sicily - indeed, it is closer to Tunisia than it is to Italy.

The island has been inhabited for the last 4000 years, and it was some of the earliest inhabitants who constructed the neolithic structures ('sesi') that you will see scattered around the island - the best are just outside the main town (which is also called Pantelleria, and was largely destroyed during World War II bommbing so not a great deal of historical interest) and in the Cunelie region.

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Piazza Armerina, Sicily; with lovely Baroque architecture and a roman villa

The town of Piazza Armerina is located on a high plateau (almost 700 metres above sea level) in central Sicily about 30 km to the south of Enna.

Piazza Armerina itself is quite a vibrant town, and has both medieval and baroque areas to explore but it is the remains of the Roman villa or Casale on the edge of town that attracts the morst visitors.

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San Vito lo Capo, Sicily; a popular beach town

The town of San Vito lo Capo is situated on the peninsula north of Scopello, itself in north-western Sicily, and a little way north of the Zingaro Natural Reserve.

The small town of San Vito lo Capo is in a fine setting between the surrounding mountains and with olive groves dotted across the hills, and overlooking the town harbour.

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Selinunte, Sicily; an important historical city and home to 5 ancient Greek temples

Selinunte is situated on the southern coast of western Sicily, south-east of Mazaro-de-Vallo.

More than 2500 years ago Selinus (as Selinunte was then known) was one of the most important cities in Ancient Greece. This role continued until 409 BC when Hannibal and the carthaginians arrived and pretty much destroyed the entire city.

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Stromboli, Sicily; one of the Aeolian islands and home to an active volcano

Stromboli is quite separate from the other Aeolian islands, to the north-east of the main group, and is as close to mainland Italy as it is to Sicily.

The island is best known for its dominant volcano - a volcano that is constantly active (typically 'small' eruptions take place several times an hour) and frequently has more substantial eruptions (it is one of the most active volcanoes to be found anywhere on earth).

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Syracuse, Sicily; the oldest settlement of the island of Sicily

Syracuse is probably the oldest settlement on the beautiful island of Sicily, and was thought to have been founded in the 7th century BC by the Corinthians. It was the centre of the Ancient Greek Empire for about two centuries (from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century BC).

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Taormina, Sicily; a picturesque towns in the hills of sicily

Taormina is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Sicily because of its picturesque environment and unique hillside location. It is located south of Messina and north of Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily by the Ionian Sea.

The influx of tourists throughout the year and the busy streets of the city have an air of constant festivity in the city.

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Tindari, Sicily and the Sanctury of the Black Madonna

The town of Tindari is found in north-eastern Sicily, on the northern coast

First an important Ancient Greek settlement, it was under the Ancient Romans that the town flourished and several Roman monuments can still be seen here scattered around the surrounding landscape.

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Trapani, Sicily; a great tourist destination with beautiful beaches

Trapani is a tourist attraction because of the combination of a rich historical heritage complemented by beautiful beaches and natural scenery. Trapani is also a very historical city, with its foundations laid in the ancient times by the Elymians.

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Zingaro Natural Reserve in the north-west of Sicily

The Natural Reserve of Zingaro (created in 1981 and covering more that 1600 hectares) is situated to the north-west of Sicily and north of Scopello, from where the southern end of the reserve is accessed.

It is one of the most attractive and unspoiled regions of the island, and contains a great deal of attractive scenery, much along the coast. It is a very popular place for walking and for discovering quiet attractive beaches.

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Realmonte, Sicily; a coastal resort with some fine beaches

Located on the coast of south-west Sicily, the town of Realmonte is best known as a coastal resort because there are several very fine beaches close to hand, and also the impressive cliff scenery that provides a backdrop to several of the beaches - the beaches at Siculiana Marina and Scala dei Turchi are excellent beaches near Realmonte.

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Cefala Diana, Sicily with its Arab baths and castle

A relatively 'new arrival' on the tourist scene, the town of Cefala Diana is in the Palermo region of north-west Sicily.

Apart from the general attractions of the region and the countrsyide around Cefala Diana there are two main historical attractions that attract visitors here: the Arab Baths and the castle.

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Aidone, Sicily; a town in the south of Sicily

The Sicilian town of Aidone is situated in the southern part of the centre of the island and close to the important historical town and archaeolgical site of Morgantina. The town was badly affected by an earthquake in 1693 and a lot of the architecture reflects the baroque style, popular when the town was being rebuilt in the early 18th century.

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Morgantina, Sicily; home to one of Siciliy's key archaological sites

The excavations at the ancient city of Morgantina near Aidone have uncovered one of the best archaeological sites in 'inland' Sicily.

At the site we can see the site of the ancient walls of the city, and the area that contained the temples (a large temple from the 6th century BC along with several smaller temples).

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Sciacca, Sicily; a popular beach resort on the south-west coast of Sicily

A large town situated on the coast of south-west Sicily, Sciacca is a popular destination best known as a coastal town and resort and with beaches popular with water-sport enthusiasts. It is also the oldest of the spa resorts to be found on the island of Sicily.

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Panarea, Sicily; an island off the north-west of Sicily

The island of Panarea is the smallest but one among the group of volcanic islands known as the Aeolian islands, situated off the north-western coast of Sicily.

Panarea is very popular with visitors exploring the islands, having a good selection of beaches and facilities, and some very attractive scenery - although note that quite a few of the beaches are hard to access or can only be reached by boat.

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Aeolian Islands, Sicily; visit the volcanic islands off the north-west of Sicily

The Aeolian islands are a group of islands off the north-west coast of Sicily, in the Tyrrhenian Sea. the group includes seven main islands, and numerous smaller islets. The islands are named after the Greek god Aeolus, the King of the Winds (hence why the name Aeolian is also used to refer to energy-generating windwills).

All the islands of the group are the result of volcanic activity, with the most recent barely 100 years old. Some have recent volcanic activity such as the volcano at Stromboli, or the geysers at the beach on Calcara (Panarea). The largest islands are those of Lipari, Vulcano and Salina.

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Comiso, Sicily and the Castle of the Naselli

The Sicilian town of Comiso is situated to the south of the island, a few kilometres to the north-west of Ragusa, and south-east of Gela.

Comiso is especially well endowed with important historic monuments, including the Castle of the Naselli and several noteworthy churches.

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Milazzo, Sicily; a city of three parts: ancient, medieval and modern

Milazzo is an important town situated on the coast of north-east Sicily - or rather three 'towns', because Milazzo falls into three parts according to age: at the top of the hill stands the ancient walled city; below it stands the medieval town; while further down again, around the harbour, is the modern town of Milazzo. Each region has its places of interest but your visit will focus on the older parts of the town.

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Paceco, Sicily; an attractive town in western Sicily

Close to Trapani in western Sicily, the town of Paceco (in the Mazara valley) has a history dating back beyond the prehistoric Neolithic period. Equally important for visitors, it is in a picturesque quiet agricultural region where melons, olives and grapes have been grown for many centuries.

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San Cataldo, Sicily; a town in Central Sicily

The town of San Cataldo is found in central Sicily, just south-west of Caltanissetta (and north east from Agrigento). Like many Sicilian towns, much of what we see today comes from the 17th  century, but with a history of occupation stretching back much earlier.

Start your visit to San Cataldo at the Mother Church (Chiesa Madre), built around 1633 in the heart of the town and close to the castle. The exterior was substantially transformed in the 18th century. It is inside that we find the greatest treasures of this church, in the form of a statue of San Cataldo, a crucifix carved from ivory, and some notable paintings (18th century).

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Termini-Imerese, Sicily; a town with Greek and Roman ruins and some lovely 17th century frescoes

The town of Termini Imerese is situated south-west from Palermo and west of Cefalu on the northern coast of Sicily.

For an impressive introduction to the town head first to the large square called the Piazza del Duomo - not surprisingly home to the cathedral (duomo) but also the Palazzo del Comune, reputed for its 17th frescoes relating the early history of Termini-Imerese. The Cathedral itself was rebuilt in the 17th century on the site of a 15th century cathedral and features various notable statues and other artifacts such as a 16th century painted cross. See the chapel of St. Agostino Novello to admire some wall paintings from the second half of the 17th century.

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Filicudi, Sicily; a volcanic island close to Sicily

Filicudi is one of the group of Aeolian islands situated off the north-eastern coast of Sicily. As with all the islands in the group it is of volcanic origin.

Filicudi is an island made up of several layers of lava, the oldest of which is located in the sea in front of 'Fili di Sciacca'. (The area's largest and oldest layer is the so-called 'Fossa delle felci' ["Bollow Ferns"] and the most recently that of 'Montagnola'.)

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Ustica, Sicily; a fabulous location for scuba diving

Ustica is one of the smallest of the Aeolian islands off the northern coast, and also the most remote being some way to the west of Lipari, the main island (and 100 km west of Alicudi, the closest of the other islands in the group.

Don't let the slight incovenience of reaching Ustica deter you from visiting however - above all if diving is your hobby. there are numerous underwater caves to explore around the coast of Ustica and beautifully clear and clean waters, so it is very popular with the diving community. Among the many caves to explore are the 'Grotta Azzurra', the 'Grotta di San Francesco il Vecchio', the Green cave, the Cave of the Boats, and the 'Shrimp Cave'.

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Patti, Sicily; close to the Greek monuments of Tindari

The historical town of Patti is situated on the north-eastern coast of Sicily.

Best known for its proximity to the impressive Greek monuments at Tindari, and for the nearby beaches, the town of Patti itself has much to offer and is well worth exploring, above all in the winding streets of the heart of ancient Patti. Find time to leave the beaches and seafront restaurants of the region for a while to explore the treasures of patti itself...

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