Holiday rentals in Sicily
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Your guide to Sicily
Welcome to Sicily
Like its unique southern Italian cuisine, Sicily bursts with colours and flavours. There’s the glowing lava-red of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, and the honey-coloured stone of its baroque palazzos and churches. There’s the sparkling blue of its waters, some of the clearest and warmest in the Mediterranean; the golden sand of its beaches; and the dazzling white cliffs of the Scala dei Turchi — not to mention its rainbow of orange, lemon, olive, and almond groves.
For centuries, myriad civilisations have converged on the largest Mediterranean island, leaving behind world-renowned landmarks, from the Greek remains of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento to the Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale; its 12th-century palaces and cathedrals combine Norman architecture with Byzantine style, none more vividly than Palermo’s gorgeous Cappella Palatina. Its markets evoke the scents and sounds of North Africa, while its precarious medieval hilltop villages might remind you of Tuscany, but the dialects spoken here are all their own.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Sicily
High summer in Sicily is hot, if that’s what you like. For some visitors, especially if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activities like hiking or cycling, April to June can be a better option, when it’s warm but not sweltering; September and October are similarly pleasant, when the sea still retains its bath-like temperatures. In spring you can witness the stunning blossoming of the island’s many fruit and nut trees; it’s also when Syracuse hosts its famous Cycle of Classical Plays in its Greek amphitheatre (or you can catch them in Taormina in the summer). Many villages hold traditional religious festivals in autumn, and winters are short and mild (the more elevated parts of the island get the coldest). With plenty of sunshine year round, there’s never a wrong time to visit Sicily.
Top things to do in Sicily
If you want a little taste of everything that makes Sicily special, this is the place. A beach town whose long sweep of white-sand beach is edged with turquoise-blue water, Cefalù is backed by the imposing cliff of La Rocca, at the foot of the beautiful Madonie mountain range. Don’t leave without checking out its UNESCO-protected cathedral, an exemplar of Arab-Norman architecture and Byzantine mosaic.
The Aeolian islands
If Sicily offers a slower pace of life than mainland Italy, this string of seven islands off the northeastern coast is where even Sicilians go to slow down. The natural wonder of Stromboli and Vulcano’s volcanic craters and black-sand beaches are just part of the appeal. Panarea has become a retreat for the rich and famous, while Alicudi is so quiet that the only way to get around is by donkey.
Val di Noto
This southeastern region of Sicily is unique for its towns which dazzle with late-baroque architecture. Built after a major earthquake in 1693, the exuberant facades and stately piazzas of Noto, Modica, Ragusa, and Scicli are now an ultra-elegant place to shop, dine, and stay.