The island of Sicily is a stunningly diverse destination, filled with an incredible mixture of different cultures and some of the best places to visit in Italy. This is evident in many aspects of life there, particularly visible in the region’s food, architecture and art.
Shaped by more than a millennium of various occupiers, Sicily has deep roots in Greek, Italian, Arab and Norman history. Sicily has been Italian for quite some time, but when you ask residents what they consider themselves, they will say they are ‘Sicilian’.
Sicily is located at the foot of the boot and is the largest island in the Mediterranean, boasting a six hundred mile-long coastline. Travelers who want to get the full experience can rent a car, but be warned that the drive can be challenging at times. This is partially due to the narrow European streets and Italian drivers, who often value speed over safety.
Many travelers choose to visit the main cities of Sicily by driving counter-clockwise around the island. Upon arrival at the Catania Airport, if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxed place to start the journey, head only 45 minutes north to the gorgeous region of Taormina.
This sprawling resort town on a mountain boasts breathtaking views of the ocean and Mount Etna, the highest peak in Sicily and a fully active volcano.
Taormina has many points of interest, such as the Teatro Greco or Greek Amphitheater, located near the center of town. This monument to ancient live performance is a testament to the genius of its architects.
Along the main street where various cultures once battled for supremacy over the region, lies a veritable conga-line of high-end stores for shopping lovers.
There are also many types of accommodations to choose from, including resorts and villas owned by local Italian families as well as many foreigners. One such accommodation is Villa Angela where we stayed. A beautiful property of twenty-one rooms, the villa provides guests with a swimming pool, restaurant, chef and perfect view of the volcano. Villa Angela is owned by Jim Kerr, the lead singer of the popular band ‘Simple Minds.’