40 Vacations - Travel Guides - Destination Sicily

Interesting Facts

- Sicily was the most important island in Europe till the 14th century and now it is the most important and largest island in the Mediterranean.

- Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna is found here, which is also the highest peak of Sicily.

II. Destinations And Sightseeing

A. Mount Etna, Catania, Sicily

This strata volcano is one of Sicily's best natural attractions and is also its highest mountain. Mount Etna, 10,990 feet high, is the oldest and most active volcano in the world. It lies towards the east coast of Sicily, near Messina and Catania. During winter, mount Etna offers skiing enthusiasts a lovely experience and during summer, you can go hiking in the woods. There are also numerous smaller mountains on the slopes of Etna, and a few interesting caves.

B. Alcantara Gorge

The picturesque Alcantara Gorge lies on Alcantara River, towards the north of Mount Etna, in close proximity to Taormina off Route 185. This stunning rock formation, made up of basalt, was formed due to volcanic activity. If you need to pay an admission charge for entering from the main gate, you can opt to walk down the public staircase, which is only around 200 m left of the main gate and get a free entry.

C. The Valley of Temples

This is one of the major archaeological attractions of the island. If feasible, avoid visiting the temples around noontime because of the heat. It is particularly fascinating to visit ‘The Valley of Temples' during the night. The temples are lit up then and you can click lovely photographs.

D. The Provincial Archeological Museum

Address

Contrada San Nicola 12,

Via dei Templi,

Agrigento,

Sicily

The collection in this museum boasts of Greek items recovered from the Valley of the Temples. This museum is in fact constructed on the Greek ekklesiasterion and the medieval cathedral of Saint Nicholas.

E. The Paolo Orsi Museum

Address

Villa Landolina,

Viale Teocrito 66,

Siracusa,

Sicily

This archaeological museum is home to an excellent assortment of remains from the Greek, Roman and early Christian eras from the Syracuse region. The displays cover a huge range, from the skeletons of primitive animals to the world famous Landolina Venus statue. This has made some critics and historians think that this is Sicily's most excellent archeological museum. The Paolo Orsi Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 1pm and Monday to Wednesday, 3.30pm to 6.30pm.

F. The Regional Art Gallery

Address

Palazzo Bellomo,

Via Capodieci,

Siracusa,

Sicily

This gallery boasts of a fine collection of Byzantine and medieval sculpture.

G. Museo del Papiro

Address

Viale Teocrito 66,

Archaeological Zone,

Siracusa,

Sicily,

Italy

In close proximity to Siracusa's Museo Archeologico, the Papyrus Museum exhibits how papyruses are made from reeds and then painted, which is an ancient practice in the city.

H. Palace of the Normans (Palazzo dei Normanni)

Address

Piazza Indipendenza

Albergheria,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

This Norman Castle or ‘Zisa Castle' was completed by William II in the 12th century, and is believed to be one of the most splendid Arab-Norman structures in the world. The entry will cost you around US $ 6.

I. Monreale Duomo

Address

Piazza del Duomo

Monreale,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

This jewel of Norman architecture is famous for its brilliant series of mosaics ornamenting the entire interior. Its bronze door panel was formed (and signed) by Bonanno da Pisa in 1185. It represents 42 scenes from the Bible, placed within decorative borders, and is considered one of the most important artifacts of the medieval times. It is open daily from 9am to 6pm.

J. San Giovanni degli Eremiti

Address

Via dei Benedettini 3,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

San Giovanni degli Eremeti (St. John of the Hermits), a 12th-century deconsecrated Norman church, with its spherical red domes inspired from the Arabs, is one of the most distinguishing attractions on the Palermo skyline. It is open form Monday to Saturday, 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm. On Sundays it is open form 9am to 1pm. The rates are around US $ 6 for adults and US $ 3 for students, seniors and children.

K. Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Catacombs of the Capuchins)

Address

Piazza Cappuccini 1,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

For tourists, who are interested in the macabre and/or strange, catacombs under the Capuchin Monastery, are a must visit. However, this ‘human library' full of corpses is not for the fearful. The halls are separated into groups that comprise of men, women, virgins, children, priests, monks, and professors (also the well-known painter Velasquez).

The corpses are clad in fine clothes; now fairly decayed, and occupy their own personal places according to their social position. Even though several bodies are still amazingly preserved, there are others bodies that are absolutely creepy, with some body parts missing. The entry will cost you about US $ 2.

L. Temple of Apollo, Syracuse, Sicily

Address

Piazza Pancali

Ortygia,

Syracuse,

Sicily,

Italy

The Temple of Apollo (Tempio di Apollo) is the oldest peripteral (having a row of columns on each side) Doric temple in the world. It lies on the islet of Ortygia and is a Greek temple that was constructed during 6th century BC.

M. Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita

Address

Via Valverde 3,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

This is a small chapel in Palermo, devoted to the Virgin of the Rosary. It was constructed in appreciation for the Virgin's incredible involvement at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) against the Turks.

N. Santa Maria dell' Ammiraglio (La Martorana)

Address

Piazza Bellini 3,

Palermo,

Sicily,

Italy

This chapel is famous for its excellent 12th century gold Byzantium mosaics interior.