Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary!
Sicily is one of the most visited regions in Italy, but some people leave it out of the itinerary. Today we are going to give you five reasons why you should include Sicily in your itinerary! Sicily could have its own soap opera! Hahaha… The island has a very tragic, sad and dramatic history, but the region has managed to rebuild itself and become what it is today: a tourist, historical, cultural and beautiful place! My God, how beautiful Sicily is, people! What are the reasons for visiting this wonderful region? Let’s learn now the best about Sicily! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patriciayou make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
Lets go to know our Sicily?
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1) Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! THE FOOD
With an impressive gastronomic wealth, Sicily is a paradise for those who like to eat the best there is. The island’s cuisine is the most memorable and rewarding feature of any visit here. The island encompasses superb snacks with its street food and tasty desserts, but also features healthy meals and typical traditional dishes. Be sure to try the arancini – filled, fried rice balls and, of course, the delicious cannoli – a crunchy dough shell, traditionally filled with creamy ricotta, but which can also be filled with chocolate, nuts and many others. Read also What are the 10 must-see cities in Sicily? If you are staying in Palermo, I suggest a Tour called Street Food and Palermo History: Walking Tour! Click here to learn more!
2) Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! THE WINE
It is simply impossible to talk about Sicily and not to mention its old wine traditions. Sicily is the birthplace of the beloved Marsala, which is the classic wine of the region, but Sicily goes further and produces wines that are more modern, like Nero d’Avola. Among the frequent volcanic eruptions of Etna, high altitudes and low temperatures, the Sicilian climate seems to be adjusted by hand to produce wines of excellent quality. Other important wines produced on the island are those of the Graci, Ciro Biondi and Tascante vineyards. Read our Special Post What are the types of Italian wines?
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3) Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! THE ARCHITECTURE
Sicilian architecture unites several styles and it is difficult to choose the most beautiful one! The striking architecture can be appreciated all over the island, but in the main cities the drawings of the old buildings seem to say ‘hello’: they are impressive! One of the most memorable regions of Sicily for architecture lovers is the Noto Valley, which houses the incredible collection of Baroque buildings that was recently registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cities like Modica, Noto and Ragusa are worth mentioning. Read also Itinerary with public transport in southern Italy!
4) Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! THE VOLCANO
Not any region boasts a volcano the way Sicily does. On the Sicilian eastern side, visitors can visit Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Yes! ACTIVE! The volcano is the landmark of Catania and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It frequently erupts and moves the agricultural industry and tourism in the region. It is possible to visit the volcano (guided tours are advised), but for those who prefer to admire all its beauty from afar, the best cities are Catania and Taormina: beautiful views! Mount Etna tour: cable car, jeep and summit walking tour
5) Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! THE RUINS
As we could read above, Sicily has a lot of history to tell and inheritances, really, very valuable! One of the best ways to explore Sicily’s history is to visit some of the island’s ancient ruins. Physical witnesses of the suffered past, the ruins that spread over several cities, serve as a point of reference in cities like Agrigento, Siracusa and Taormina. The Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an impressive and beautiful example of Greek architecture in Agrigento; the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, a complex in Syracuse, has a Roman amphitheater, a Greek theater and the remains of several quarries. Another popular and famous attraction worldwide is the Greek Theater in Taormina, an old theater that, amazingly, still works!
Shall we learn more about Sicily?
It is always good and important to know a little about the history of the city that we intend or will visit. Below, is a little about the history of Sicily. Stay with us and learn everything about the place you are going to visit, even more if you are without a guide; for sure our texts will help you a lot!
Well, to finish our post, we will tell you a little about Sicilian history: in the millennia III and II BC, Sicily was populated by diverse peoples such as the Sicanos, elimios and Siculos. In the 9th century BC, the island already showed great commercial potential, as it was in a privileged position in the Mediterranean. Thus, the Phoenicians founded trading warehouses in the west of the island; according to records, the island, on the other side, was also inhabited by another people, the morgetes. The Greeks arrived there in the 8th century BC to colonize the south and east coast, which was named Magna Graecia.
Fights for Power
In the year 754, Syracuse was founded, which soon became the main city on the island. Its growth was so significant that Sicily became one of the most important regions in the Carthaginian Empire. And it was practically during this period that fights for power began: clashes between Carthage and Greeks for the leadership of the island were common, but it was neither one nor the other that conquered the Island: it was the Roman Empire. Rome then made Sicily its main source of wheat.
Augustus, who was the Emperor, colonized Palermo, Syracuse, Catania and so many other cities, but success did not last long: attacks by pirates and attacks by bandits made Sicily decline. It is worth remembering that Sicily became the richest province in the Roman Empire. In 440, the region was invaded by Vandals and Rome lost Sicilian control. The Vandals dominated Sicily until 496, when Sicily again suffered another attack. This time it was the ostrogoths that dominated the region. In 535, Justinian II ordered Belisario to attack the ostrogoths: the conquest was easier than they thought and his ‘small’ army with 15,000 soldiers quickly dominated the island, also invading the peninsula.
The Byzantine Empire
Until 549, the Byzantine Empire dominated Sicily, but they did not expect the Bulgarian Empire to divert all their attention and give space to the reconquest of the territory by the Ostrogoths. However Rome, in the autumn of 549, reconquered Italy and Sicily, but his triumph was short-lived: Justinian sent General Narses and ordered the invasion of the island from the north, defeating the Ostrogoths and recovering the territory. In 552, there was a great battle between Gualdo Tadino and Gubbio. The powerful armies of Totila and Narses faced each other in a great battle and Totila died in the battle. Replaced by Teia, his reign was short-lived, as he suffered a severe defeat by the Byzantines again.
When the Byzantines thought that everything was already resolved and that there were no more threats, the thump came! The separation of the Byzantine Empire and its weakening were clear, and Sicily felt it sadly: everything declined, from the economy to politics, to cultural and social life. At that time, the attraction for Rome and her Empire grew, while the inhabitants no longer showed interest in the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople. Between 803 and 820 the Byzantine Empire declined dramatically and, in 825, the nobles decided to ask the Arabs for help. Of course, the Byzantines did not accept and revolted.
Other Peoples in Sicily
After that, it was war after war. The peoples also passed through Sicily: Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragones, Jews, Spaniards, Piedmontese and Burbons. Finally, in 1861, Sicily was occupied by the troops of the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. Garibaldi recognized Vítor Emanuel II as king, monarch of Piedmont and Sardinia, and thus Sicily was incorporated by plebiscite into the Kingdom of Italy. After the Second World War with the 1948 Constitution, Sicily, devastated by poverty and the Mafia, was given autonomy, becoming an autonomous region with broad powers of self-government. In other words: a region that has gone through so much and has such important legacies from so many peoples has a lot to offer us!
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Five reasons to include Sicily in your itinerary! I could present an almost infinite list of reasons for you to visit Sicily, I could spend hours trying to convince you, telling you the story of this fantastic region, but when you have your feet there you will understand everything I am telling you and, probably, will tell me “you forgot to list one of the reasons!”
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