Sicily, the largest isle in the Mediterranean, is no clandestine gem, yet it still preserves an aura of a secret utopia, continually overshadowed by more traversed Italian destinations like Rome or the Amalfi Coast.
Evading the influx of tourism plaguing cities like Venice or Florence, Sicily offers a respite, showcasing a mosaic of cultural histories, gastronomical wonders, and natural beauty, all under the watchful eye of the towering Mount Etna. I recently travelled to the region for three nights and here are my six recommended stand outs to visit.
Sicily has been the cradle of human activity since 12,000 BC, bearing the imprints of the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Germanic Goths, Arabs, Spanish, and of course, the Italians. The whispers of its varied rulers reverberate through the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites and the 25 castles that adorn the island, ensuring that history is a constant companion during your explorations.
Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano, is Sicily’s watchful guardian. This fiery behemoth, a focal point of many legends, offers versatile modes of exploration, including hiking, skiing, and biking, and is an abode to an eclectic wine culture. The volcanic ash-enriched soils craft wines with a distinct character, making the Etna region a prime location for wine aficionados.
Sicily caters to the culinary curious with its diverse palate. It invites you to start your day with a sweet retreat of granita, a frozen dessert laced with flavours of almond, lemon, or strawberries, and perhaps an additional indulgence of cannoli or cassata.
The island is also a sanctuary for wine lovers, offering varieties like the robust Nero d’Avola and the dessert wine, Malvasia. A pilgrimage to Pietra Dolce Winery provides an encounter with the famed Feudo di Mezzo, a new Etna Rosso, promising a divine sip.
The Baroque towns, including Caltagirone, Modica, Noto, Ragusa, and Scicli, etch Sicily’s architectural grandeur into the hillsides. These towns, masterpieces of art and architecture, are best explored by carving your own path, allowing every unturned stone to narrate its own tale.
Being an island, Sicily offers an abundance of beaches, each whispering the tales of the sea. From the sandy shores of Cefalù to the rocky Scala dei Turchi, every beach is a doorway to a new world. The tranquility of Vendicari Nature Reserve and the Caribbean-like beauty of San Vito Lo Capo are portals to serene escapades, and the black sands of Stromboli offer a unique spectacle of nature’s artistry.
Sicily is home to luxurious resorts like Mangia’s Brucoli Resort in Syracuse, located conveniently near the historical treasures of the city and the serene whispers of the Mediterranean Sea, promising an authentic Italian vacation with a plethora of amenities and unforgettable culinary experiences. Mangia’s Resorts has been redefining hospitality, with properties in both Sicily and Sardinia, reflecting the signature Italian charm. Their rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and the perfect place to enjoy your Sicily stay.
The enchanting Donna Carmela Resort nestling amidst the verdant landscapes of Carruba di Riposto, is in close proximity to Mount Etna and the Etna wine region, making it an ideal haven for wine connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts.
The property stands as a testament to Sicilian hospitality and luxury, offering eco-lodges and suites amidst Mediterranean vegetation, ensuring a harmonious stay close to nature. This resort is a fusion of architectural elegance and natural beauty, providing a tranquil abode for its guests.
British Airways Holidays provides several travel packages to Sicily’s resorts, including seven nights at Mangia’s Brucoli Resort from £630pp and three nights at Donna Carmela from £699pp, inclusive of return flights from London Gatwick and 23kg luggage.