Coat of arm of Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sicily is a magical destination; kind of like going to heaven. So it makes sense to go to Sultry Sicily for Easter. Sicily was an independent kingdom prior to the unification of Italy.
Spend at least a week in Sicily after you cross the congested two-mile Strait of Messina from the mainland. The best way to get around the island is to rent a car of hire a private driver if you hope to see all the fabulous sites in a reasonable amount of time. There are also plenty of bus tours and boat rides available through tour companies in the major cities like Palermo and Taormina.
Sicily is the largest Mediterranean Island. It is characterized by mountainous terrain and arguably some of Italy’s most flavorful cuisine.
Mount Etna (Photo credit: bee721)
Mount Etna Volcano Vulcano Volcan Sicilia Sicily Italia Italy. I took this picture while flying from Catania to Rome. When you roughly get over Messina flight altitude is not yet too high. Usually there is a cloud over the Etna because of its sudden high altitude found by atmospheric conditions. I was lucky to find low clouds and no high clouds over the crater of the volcano right before the sunset. Otherwise this photo would not be possible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You probably want to see Mt. Etna; the highest active volcano in Europe. It dominates the Ionian coastline from Catania to Taormina. Take a jeep excursion to the summit of this majestic volcano to witness the dramatic landscape of Sicily.
Mount Etna (Sicily) viewed from the Greek amphitheatre in Taormina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna is almost 11,000 feet high. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps; located on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. There is a beautiful view of Mt. Etna from Taormina’s Greek Amphitheater.
Mount Etna seen from the town of Taormina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When it erupts; it sends a billowing plume of smoke and ash into the sky. It has already erupted four times this year. The eruptions foster fertile volcanic soils that support agriculture. There are many vineyards and orchards across the lower slopes of the mountain.
The city of Lipari, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vulcano Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
the heart of Sicily (Photo credit: Chiara Marra)
A baroque church in Modica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You can fly into Palermo or Catania or take a ferry from the mainland to Messina. Depending on your itinerary, visit the sites around Palermo, including the Palermo Cathedral, San Cataldo’s Church, Chiesa della Martorana, and San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St. John of the Hermits) near the Palazzo dei Normanni. The Palace is incredible example of Norman architecture and houses the famous Cappella Palatina.
Go to the beach town of Mondello, near Palermo for a spectacular Vino con Vista.
Then travel to the gorgeous cathedral of Monreale.
The Cathedral of Monreale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Detail from the flank of the Cathedral of Palermo (Sicily), showing the statue of Saint Rosalie in the forefront and the church tower behind. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, September 28 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Visit the shrine of Santa Rosalia near Monreale. Santa Rosalia is like a rock star saint in Palermo. Saint Rosalia is the patron saint of Palermo. On 14 July, people in Palermo celebrate the Festino, the most important religious event of the year. The Festino is a procession in the main street of Palermo to remember the miracle attributed to Santa Rosalia who freed the city from the Black Death in 1624. The cave where the bones of Santa Rosalia were discovered is on Monte Pellegrino.
Italiano: Santa Rosalia incoronata dagli angeli di Van Dyck, custodita presso la galleria regionale di palazzo abatellis a Palermo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The residents of Palermo have a massive culinary street party in July in the streets of Palermo called Festino de Santa Rosalia. Her emblem is a crown of roses and a skull. In 1630, Pope Urban VII established two holidays for Santa Rosalia: July 15th to commemorate the anniversary of the discovery of her relics and September 4th, the day of the death of “Santuzza” and her official ecclesiastical feast day.
Cefalu Sicilia, the beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Then take the train from Palermo to Cefalu; one of my favorite beach towns. Visit the Norman Cathedral and admire the gorgeous mosaic “Pantocrator.”
Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Christus Pantokrator in der Apsis der Kathedrale von Cefalu auf Sizilien (Italien). Mosaik im byzantinischen Stil. English: Christ Pantokrator in the apse of the Cathedral of Cefalù, Sicily, Italy. Mosaic in Byzantine style. Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nell’abside della Cattedrale della città siciliana Cefalù (Italia). Mosaico in stile bizantino. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
View to Cefalù, Sicily Italiano: Vista del porto di Cefalù dalla Rocca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You can get a great view of “La Rocca” in Cefalu. In the center of town, walk over to see where the women washed there clothes in the public laundry facility built into the ground.
Ancient washing house (antique and medieval ages). Cefalu (Sicily) Français : Lavoir antique et médiéval à Cefalù (Sicile) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Taormina 05 (Photo credit: Giovy.it)
If you go to Taormina, there are also plenty of incredible places to stay. I like the Grand Hotel Timeo perched high above the Strait of Messina, that opened in 1873.
Taormina, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The clientelle has included Oscar Wilde, Catherine Deneuve and Robert Di Nero. Have a lemon cello from the Library Terrace for an incredible Vino con Vista. I also love the San Domenico Palace Hotel with multiple terraces, four restaurants and a great pool area. The hotel is housed in a former 14th century monastery. The chef is famous for his regional menu.
Etna from Taormina 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They’ve got sun in Sicily! WOW! (Photo credit: Nia [So let's go!
Cathedral of Cefalù (Italy), front view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cefalu, Sicily, apsis & choir of Norman cathedral (mosaic “Christus Pantocrator”) Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nel mosaico della cattedrale di Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cefalu, La Rocca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cefalù, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Italiano: Fianco della Cattedrale di Palermo. English: Flank of the Cathedral of Palermo (Sicily). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Palermo, Taormina and Modica are my favorite places to use as a hub in Sicily. Explore the magical Aeolian Islands of Lipari and Stromboli with an organized tour.
Pietra Lunga, SW of Lipari, Aeolian Islands, Sicily, TItaly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I also love the beautiful Baroque UNESCO towns in Southeastern Sicily of Modica, Avola and Ragusa.
Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Panorama of Ragusa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Virgin of the Annunciation, Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sicily has nine Vino con Vista provinces: Palermo, Messina, Catania, Syracuse, Ragusa, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Enna and Trapani. The island has experienced successive invasions and conquests. The Phoenicians colonized Northwestern Sicily around 800 B.C. including Palermo. The Greeks arrived in Southeastern Sicily at about the same time, establishing Naxos near Taormina.
There are wonderful Easter and Holy Week Rituals in Enna Sicily: Buona Pasqua. Click on the link and you can witness Holy Week celebrations all over Sicily. Goint to Sicily for Easter is definitely on my bucket list!
To learn more about Sicily read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides.
Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
Flag of the Sicilian Region Italiano: Bandiera della Regione Siciliana Sicilianu: Bannera dâ Riggiuni Siciliana Deutsch: Flagge der Sizilianischen Region (oder der Autonomen Region Sizilien) Français : Drapeau de la Région Sicilienne Español: Bandera de la Región Siciliana Polski: Flaga Regionu Sycylia Português: Bandeira da Região Siciliana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)