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Extraordinary sights abound in the Italian island of Sicily, a paradise of clear blue skies and lush greenery that has been home to every great Mediterranean civilization. Spend a few days in this fascinating Italian island enjoying its bountiful arrangement of art and history, skiing down the side of active volcanoes over powdered ash, walking through orange groves or swimming in the ocean with a stunning view of Roman and Greek ruins.
Make the best of your holiday in Sicily with our “Best of Sicily” recommendations.
1. Taormina: Sicily’s legendary and most beautiful resort town is backdropped by the poster-like views of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea. Walk through twisting medieval streets, see a second century Greek theater and enjoy the stunning panoramic view from behind the Church of St Joseph.
2. Syracuse: Ancient Greek ruins, seaside palaces, citrus orchards, baroque piazzas and medieval lanes are enveloped in the timeless beauty of Sicily’s most striking port city. An ancient Greek theater boasts the Duomo built right over its ruins in the town that heard Archimedes cry “Eureka!”.
3. Palermo: From Roman to Byzantine and Arab-Norman, Palermo’s architecture is as diverse as the great empires that ruled Sicily through the years and it is shows in its palaces, churches and crypts.
4. Agrigento: Home to Sicily’s most impressive Greek ruins, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Valley of the Temples features a stunning set of finely preserved temples, even more so than those in Rome, sitting in a grove of almond trees right above the sea.
1. Skiing on ash: Mount Etna is a phenomenal snow skiing site, but if you can’t wait for the first flakes of snow to fall, get ready to carve the ash of Italy’s most active volcano.
2. Cycling Sicily: Stunning natural surroundings, white sandy beaches, a rich culture, a fascinating ancient history, wonderful food and opportunities for adventure make Sicily the “in” place for a cycling tour.
3. Diving: In how many places in the world can you dive to see an ancient Roman wreck, a Greek Temple, natural grottoes and all the sea life imaginable?
1. NH Collection Taormina: Standing on a hill overlooking the bay and Mt Etna, this recently restored city center 5 star hotel, blends elegant contemporary style with a rich tradition of Italian hospitality to fulfill the needs of the most demanding guests.
2. Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace: The luxurious and modern 5 star hotel rises in a delightful and secluded setting overlooking one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Enjoy impeccable dinner service from your room, which is quite literally, a terrace on the sea.
3. San Domenico Palace Hotel: A luxury hotel within the walls of a former Dominican 15th century monastery that has through the years attracted writers, movie stars, royal families and Head of State.
4. Verdura Golf & Spa Resort: Europe’s most exciting new resort and Conde Nast 2010 Hot List-listed hotel is set over an expansive stunning landscape with 1.8km of private coastline, offering guests unparalleled privacy and exclusivity. All rooms offer sea view from a private terrace and the resort features 3 golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness center, running trails, an exceptional spa and a restaurant that celebrates Sicilian cuisine at its finest.
5. Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo: Sitting in the most perfect location, high up on the rocky hills of Sicily’s east coast, this stylishly and opulently decorate hotel has been home away from home to glamorous European and Hollywood stars the caliber of Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor.
1. Osteria dei Vespri: A foodie paradise located in a cozy and elegant space in a historic city center piazza, the menu is created around seasonal ingredients and local seafood. Enjoy raw delicacies from the sea, ricotta ravioli with a citrus fruit aroma and one of the best wine lists in Palermo.
2. La Siciliana: Risotto with cuttlefish ink and fresh ricotta cheese, stuffed sardines, stuffed and grilled calamari and other seafood and meat delicacies are some of the memorable dishes served at the restaurant.
3. La Madia: Voted best restaurant in Sicily in 2008, La Madia creatively reinvents authentic local food. Rice balls with red mullet ragout and wild fennel, salt cod smoked over pine cones and red prawns with a tuna roe mayonnaise are some of the delicacies found on the menu.
4. Ristorante Duomo: A delicious and inventive approach to food brings out dishes like Ragusano cheese gnocchi with pork and cuttlefish meatballs, clams, mussels and carbonara sauce, or a savory scabbard fish with smoked Provola cheese, chargrilled vegetables and red prawns.
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