Sicily is a unique destination because it’s a melting pot of different cultures and traditions of the population that ruled over the island.

It’s the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and it’s also located in its center, which is why it’s always been so influenced by other cultures. The Western and Eastern sides of the island have some aspects in common, but they also diverge in others.

In this article, you will find all the information you need to know if you’re visiting the island for the first time, what to visit, and the food to try in Sicily.

West Sicily

West Sicily involves the area of Palermo, the main city of the region, as well as the other provinces on this side of the island. There are enchanting beaches, beautiful maritime villages, and amazing landscapes.

Palermo

Palermo is the main city of the region, as well as the biggest one on the island. It was the old capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, and it shows how the island has gone through different historical periods, especially looking at the architecture.

Firstly, among the most important attractions, there is the Norman Palace, which is the oldest royal palace in Europe. It is a beautiful example of Norman architecture, that hosted many kings and queens, such as Friedrich II of Swabia.

Secondly, the Cathedral of Palermo is another important example of Norman architecture, but it also shows some Arabic influences. As a result, it is a unique building all over the world. You also have to visit the traditional markets, La Vucciria and Il Capo, where local products are sold while screaming, as a result of Arabic influence.

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Santa Flavia

Santa Flavia is a town near Palermo, famous for its wonderful beaches, as it overlooks one of the most beautiful gulfs on the island. It is a maritime village that is also rich in history, as it was founded by Phoenicians as a colony. Moreover, near Santa Flavia, there is an important archeological site, Solunto, where you can admire the greatness of Greek culture.

Trapani

Trapani is a city on the western extremity of the island, with a magnificent coast that has the shape of a crescent. In this area, there are a lot of amazing attractions, such as the Natural Reserve and the Museum of Maritime Archaeology. Moreover, the Saline of Trapani are some of the biggest in Italy and they are located in a breathtaking landscape.

East Sicily

East Sicily includes the cities of Siracusa and Catania, as well as all the provinces on the east side of the island. This area has a lot to offer, such as volcanoes, natural reserves, and historical sites, influenced by the Arabs, the Greeks, the Romans, and many other populations.

Siracusa

Siracusa is a very fascinating city, which manages to combine the new and the old: pieces of the Greek and Roman past are well combined with Swabian, Norman, and Baroque influences.

Ortigia, its historical center, is a wonderful place that must be visited because it hides the most important monuments of the city. One of them is the Duomo, a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, and another one is the Fountain of Arethusa, around which many legends are told.

Moreover, you have to visit the Greek Theater in order to understand the Hellenistic influence on this city, which is located in a place where you can also enjoy the nature of the island.

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Catania

Catania is the city on the slopes of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. It’s a very fascinating place, with its monument in lava stone and the spectacular seafront. Via Etnea is a suggestive street in the city that is directed towards the Etna, as well as the home to many restaurants and bars.

We also suggest a visit to the Church of Sant’Agata, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture, but also the home of the biggest religious celebration in Europe and third in the world.

The food in Sicily

Food lovers will enjoy tasting the delicious meals prepared on this island, which mixes different ingredients and culinary traditions.

The most famous food is surely arancino, a sphere made of rice that hides different sauces. You also have to try cassata, a Sicilian dessert made with ricotta, as well as cannolo, which is famous all over the world. Sicilian cuisine took something also from the Arabic cuisine: couscous, which is usually prepared with fish.

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May 17th, 2021