Do Sicily: An island rich in culture and beauty

Sicily (South Italy) it is the biggest island in the Mediterranean sea which has been, for millenniums, a crossroads of Mediterranean cultures who have left heritage and influences that are still alive and strong amongst the locals.

Being at the same latitude as the North African coast the climate makes the island even more attractive with pleasant warm temperature throughout the year and with very high pitch in July and August.

Sicilians are naturally shy but yet look intimidating. While initially reserved in fact it takes them only few minutes to overwhelm you with their smile and help you with whatever it is your need. They are traditional, impassive, self-assured, sociable and thoughtful..and have a wicked sense of humour. They might not speak english but there is a genuineness and generosity that is easily felt across the language barrier.

Endless Sun, incredible food, wine, unique landscapes, traditions, legends, a volcan, crystal water beaches…….Sicily has it all!

1 FEAST on some wonderful Sicilian food

Food and wine is one of the main reasons to visit Sicily. The Sicilian cuisine is a mix of all, brought by the different peoples and conquerors. Especially in the west Arabs and North Africans have greatly influenced the cuisine. The key to all of Sicily’s dishes is simplicity and the best way to sample Sicilian cuisine is on the streets , in little family-runned restaurants and through the markets. Sicily’s kitchen infact is packed with fresh ingredients; oranges, lemons and vegetables are abundant all the year round, shiny fish straight out of the Mediterranean sea is combined with unusual additions such as almonds and pistachios. Food Lovers, do not dare to miss the unique arancino (fried rice balls stuffed with bolognese ragu’ and a melted heart of cheese) the traditional Cannoli’s ( pastries filled with fresh ricotta cream) , granita ( semi frozen spoon dessert traditionally flavoured with almonds,or fresh lemon or mint or coffee) perfect for a refreshing breakfast or after a day by the beach , just to name a few. After an hearty dinner do not forget to wash it all down with a strong caffè, a Limoncello or an Amaro Siciliano ( sicilian digestif) .

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2 Religious celebrations

Sicilians are very religious people, god-fearing they combine faith and superstition. Almost all Sicilians are Roman Catholic and each town as a patron saint, whose feast day is considered the most important local holiday, the symbol of town identity. On this date and for major church feast days, images of the sacred figures are taken out of the church and carried through the streets to the people in lengthy processions. Also do not miss : The Holy week. On Good Friday the procession of the Mysteries is held in most sicilian villages; People are dressed up with ancient costumes, rags, and caps and statues are being carried through the streets accompanied by the town band playing funeral marches.Thousands of locals and tourists attends these events and the atmosphere is one of great devotion.

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3 The May Flower Festival in Noto

On the southeastern coast of Sicily, the scenic city of Noto holds a unique festival in May called the “Infiorata”, a sensational celebration of spring that attracts thousands of visitors every year and part of the “Primavera Barocca” (Baroque Spring) celebrations, which includes a number of other interesting events aimed at glorifying the beautiful and pleasant south-eastern Sicilian spring. Artists, who every year are given a specific topic, will work with a special organic soil to outline a scene on the sidewalk which is filled in with specially prepared flower petals, along with other organic seeds and dried legumes and on the third weekend of May, a beautiful flowering carpet will be “unrolled” all along Via Nicolaci (the street where houses have the most outstanding balconies in the world some says). All in all a true delight for your eyes and soul in the elegant and lavished capital of the sicilian baroque.

4 The Baroque style and the Greek civilisation

One of the best reason too visit Sicily is because of its history, legends and the romance of the ancient mediterranean civilisations. Would you ever thought that you had to go to Sicily to visit the most well preserved Greek amphitheatre in the world? Syracuse, positioned in the most south-easterly crook of the island, is home to that. A trip to Sicily will be incomplete without venturing in the heartland of the Sicilian Baroque architecture of Noto, Syracuse Modica and Ragusa – declared UNESCO world heritage. All built in this dramatic style after an earthquake in 1693 that destroyed much of the area. Highly decorative with plenty of curves and flourishes, these towns are particularly attractive. Just imagine all those Sicilian scenes: the romantic winding streets, the narrow cobbled walk ways, the charming historic churches, incredible views and very steep windy stairways throughout the city.

5 Anche gli Angeli

Anche gli Angeli is THE place where to spend a classy-non-fussy evening sipping a glass of good wine or an original cocktail in a unique location. It is a place where you can spend your time alone or in company, without the feeling of wasting it but on the contrary relaxing unwinding in procrastination to follow that thread that ties all the hidden pleasures of life and that HERE revolves around one lowest common denominator: Sicily. Good wine and excellent fusion food; books, clothing, crafts, perfumes and gastronomy, all strictly made in Sicily. A concept store and bar that would perfectly fit the hipster area of Shoreditch and that out stands instead in the old little Baroque gem of Noto.

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By Valentina

Valentina

Senior Writer. Sicilian-born & Proud Londoner. Passionate in photography, tattoo, travels and R&B music. A wandering soul, with an obsession for FOOD.