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Palermo is the capital of Sicily and a vibrant and bustling city that constitutes a real melting pot of all that is Sicilian. The architecture clearly outlines the complex history of the island, from Byzantine mosaics to Baroque stuccowork and Arab domes to Norman palace walls, and whilst the main piazzas are imposing and impressive, the real Palermo lies in the maze of backstreets, many of which have not been rebuilt since the bombing of the Second World War.
Taormina has attracted tourists for the past 200 years and sits high above the turquoise sea on the east coast. This is a very popular destination for Sicily holidays. In the southeast the flamboyant towns of Noto, Ragusa and Modica are wonderful examples of the Baroque influence in Sicily, while the port of Syracuse, with its beautiful city centre is a great base from which to explore this region. Heading west along the south coast is the town of Agrigento and here The Valley of The Temples is the highlight. This incredible site is one of the largest Greek archaeological excavations outside Greece. On the west coast the towns of Marsala, famous for its fortified wines, and Trapani are the main cultural centres and from Trapani it is easy to hop across to visit the island of Egadi.
However you want to spend your holiday in Sicily, Essential Italy’s villas, apartments and hotels across the entire island provide you with an excellent choice of accommodation to rent, all of which make an ideal base.
Sicily’s diverse landscape is both varied and dramatic. From the imposing, smoking, snow-capped volcano of Mount Etna, to the long sandy beaches of Donnalucata and the rolling wheat fields of central Sicily, the scenery of this beautiful island will leave a lasting impression. Sicily also boasts many areas of significant natural beauty such as the salt flats to the west, the nature reserve of Vendicari and the Madonie Mountains that make for a spectacular backdrop to the coastal region close to Cefalù, which is another town popular with visitors on their holidays to Sicily.
Sicily’s varied coastline offers white sandy beaches, rocky coves that are perfect for days relaxing next to crystal-clear Mediterranean waters, and some wonderful island beaches too. The natural park of Lo Zingaro in the northwest corner, close to the village of Scopello, has some fabulous beaches and the town of San Vito Lo Capo has one of the best town beaches we have come across in the whole of Italy. Palermo’s city beach, Mondello, is the place to be seen at the weekend in spring and early summer, but many of our favourite beaches lie in the southeast corner of the island, where the town beaches of Donnalucata stretch as far as the eye can see.
If you decide to rent of our luxury villas or indeed any of our accommodation options for your holiday to Sicily, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to cuisine. One of the most important aspects of Italian cooking is the quality of ingredients, and Sicily is certainly no exception. Fresh, local ingredients such as shellfish, tuna, swordfish, citrus fruits, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, ricotta, wild herbs and spices, combined with fresh meat and vegetables produce dishes unique to this island. Dried fruit and raisins proliferate many Sicilian desserts, and the ice cream and granita are perfect for those hot summer days. Sicily is world famous for producing oranges and the fruit in general is of superior quality making holidays to Sicily a great choice for your health.
There are 23 Department of Conservation (DOC) zones in Sicily and the climate is ideal for producing strong, flavoursome red wines as well as some wonderful whites too. Red grape varieties to look out for are Nero D’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Mantellato, Frappato and the more recent introductions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. White grape varieties of note include Ausonica, Cataratto, Grecanico, Grillo, Inzolia, Zibibbo, Trebbiano, Moscato Bianco, Carricante and the more recently introduced Chardonnay and Fiano. Sicily is also world renowned for its sweet wines and Marsala, Passito di Pantelleria and Malvasia delle Lipari are the perfect accompaniments to any typical Sicilian dessert.
Whether your stay is in one of the secluded rural villas, a town apartment or a hotel, our representative in Sicily will happily recommend the best local restaurants and vineyards for your holiday to Sicily.
We have been visiting Sicily for many years and with every visit a new and exciting aspect of this region comes to our attention. Whilst the main attractions, such as Taormina, Syracuse and Agrigento are always stunning, we are increasingly drawn to the smaller towns of Ragusa, Noto and Modica in the southeast corner. The tiny village of Marzameni, close to the nature reserve of Vendicari is one of our favourite haunts. Our local experts are always on hand to guide you to the undiscovered corners of this very special Mediterranean island. The towns of Donnalucata, Pozzallo and Santa Croce Camerina all form the backdrop to the popular Sicilian detective series, Inspector Montalbano.
Choosing one of our villas for your holidays to Sicily primarily appeals to those wanting to experience the classic, timeless Italian lifestyle that is sadly disappearing from many other regions in Italy. The simple pleasures of passing time with family and friends over a long lunch and taking a leisurely wander through the backstreets of the local village are part of everyday life on this wonderful island.
At Essential Italy we pride ourselves on finding the best villas, apartments and hotels. We have visited all of the properties on our website, and stayed in many of our holiday rentals. Our pre-departure information includes all the local information you’ll need to guide you to the hidden corners of Sicily, and point you in the right direction of the perfect local restaurant or bar.
Call us on + 44(0)1223 460100 and put our friendly and local expertise to work to find you the perfect place to stay from our handpicked selection of villas, apartments or hotels and help make your holiday to Sicily a wonderful experience to remember.