Sicilian capital and crossroads of cultures and traditions, Palermo will cause you to fall in love with its exhilarating colours, fragrances and flavours
Palermo is a city teeming with churches, monuments and priceless works of art, animated by noisy working-class neighbourhoods adjoining sumptuous aristocratic buildings. Icing on the cake is the pleasant climate in all seasons, a breathtaking ocean view and a compelling culinary tradition.
What to see in Palermo and surroundings
A precious jewel of the south with rich cultural heritage
Of all the dominations over the centuries, Palermo retains character and contradictions, which it proudly displays by claiming its uniqueness in artistic and architectural heritage, society, and richness of its extraordinary food and wine tradition exported all over the world. It is in a fusion of cultures that the heart of the city resides.
All you need to know
Sicilian capital and crossroads of cultures and traditions, Palermo will cause you to fall in love with its exhilarating colours, fragrances and flavours. Palermo is a city teeming with churches, monuments and priceless works of art, animated by noisy working-class neighbourhoods adjoining sumptuous aristocratic buildings. Icing on the cake is the pleasant climate in all seasons, a breathtaking ocean view and a compelling culinary tradition.Discover
History, nature, art and islands Pristine nature overhanging the sea and hidden coves, art, culture and tradition: Trapani, the western tip of Sicily, is home to this and more. Nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Churches”, we recommend exploring the streets of the old town, stopping to admire the Tower of Ligny and walking along the Mura di Tramontana, the ancient defensive perimeter leading from Piazza Mercato del Pesce to the Bastione Conca. Don’t miss the spectacle of the salt pans, which turn a deep pink when bathed by the sunset. From Trapani, you can take the cable car to the medieval town of Erice, to admire breath-taking views of the city and surrounding area. Along the coast from north to south are the splendid gulf of Castellammare, the fishing village of Scopello and the Caribbean-like beaches of San Vito Lo Capo, which hosts the Cous Cous Festival every September. Nearby, you can explore the pristine nature of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Mazara del Vallo is home to the famous Dancing Satyr, and from the Stagnone you can take a boat to the island of Mozia, once home to an ancient Phoenician colony. From Trapani you can visit the Egadi Islands, to spend a day in the coves of Favignana. If you love diving, Marettimo is the place for you. For ancient ruins, check out the temples of Segesta and Selinunte. Meanwhile, in the Mangiapane Cave you can discover the ancient village built into the rock.Discover
The majestic gateway to Sicily A renowned cultural and commercial centre, Messina is the gateway for travellers to Sicily. We recommend visiting the Norman Cathedral, which houses Italy’s second largest organ and the world’s largest, most complex mechanical astronomical clock. Also worth exploring is the seat of the university, founded in 1548 by St Ignatius of Loyola. The province is home to the beautiful Taormina, famous for its picturesque pedestrian streets, archaeological sites and breath-taking views. The natural terrace on Monte Tauro, 206 metres above sea level, offers unique views of the Mediterranean. The village is home to the Greek Theatre, the region’s second largest theatre. Be sure to treat yourself to a few hours relaxing on the beach overlooking Isola Bella, a stunning islet that has become the symbol of Taormina. While in the area, don’t miss a visit to the villages of Novara di Sicilia, Tindari and Milazzo. The latter is famous for the Pool of Venus, a paradise for anyone who loves snorkelling, from which you can also reach Lipari, Vulcano or Stromboli. You can discover the charm and power of nature by plunging into the icy waters of the Alcantara Gorges. You can walk among the lava walls, and go rafting, climbing and trekking in the geological park surrounding the gorges.Discover
Archaeological sites, natural beauty and thermal baths – all for you to discover on this one strip of land An ancient city founded around 581 BC, over the centuries Agrigento has passed under the rule of various different cultures, from the Greeks to the Romans, from the Arabs to the Normans. This allowed for a cultural stratification, traces of which still remain in the fabulous Valley of the Temples. This archaeological park located in ancient Akragas, the original heart of the city, features a series of outstanding Doric temples from the Hellenic period in an excellent state of preservation. In the hamlet of Caos, you can visit the birthplace of Luigi Pirandello, which houses possessions and memorabilia of this Nobel Prize winner. The area of Agrigento is also renowned for its natural beauty, most notably the Scala dei Turchi, a white marl cliff that juts out into the sea along the coast of Realmonte. Over time this tourist destination has become famous for its uniquely terraced cliffs and its location in the Porto Empedocle area, which serves as the setting for the Inspector Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri. Also worth visiting are the Punta Bianca Nature Reserve and San Leone beach, known for its smooth, sandy shore and summer nightlife. An hour’s drive away up the west coast is Sciacca, famous for its reefs and thermal complex. Its discovery is attributed to the mythological Daedalus, who is said to have first found these caves with their curative powers while fleeing from Crete after building the famous labyrinth.Discover
The essence of Sicily, among the sea, castles and traces of a rich history Caltanissetta and its province are a fantastic destination to explore all year round, thanks to its mild climate even during the winter months. You can explore the beautiful beaches of the Gela coastline and the green hills of the hinterland, with their archaeological remains that bear witness to centuries of history. The entire area is dotted with small villages that you can discover at your leisure, including Borgo Santa Rita and Delia, perfect for a campervan holiday or road trip. Caltanissetta itself has plenty to offer its visitors, from the mighty Baroque cathedral of Santa Maria la Nova to the colourful Church of Sant’Agata overlooking the grand Corso Umberto I. Dominating the city are the ruins of Pietrarossa Castle, which was destroyed in the earthquake that struck in 1567. Be sure to visit the Archaeological Museum to dive into this area’s rich history. Overlooking the sea, the city of Gela is renowned for its hugely significant archaeological sites, starting with the Timoleontee Walls, for the over-300-hectare Biviere di Gela Nature Reserve and for its historic centre full of Art Nouveau-style buildings.Discover
The impregnable city Rising up over 900 metres above sea level, Enna is the highest capital city in Italy. Its milder summer climate compared to the rest of Sicily makes it the perfect place to seek refuge from the island’s torrid heat, so much so that Frederick II, Duke of Swabia built his namesake octagonal tower here as a summer residence. But the city’s history goes back much further, as far as the Neolithic period. The Romans named it Urbs Inexpugnabilis, in recognition of its legendary resistance to conquest. The most renowned historical monuments include the Lombardy Castle, one of the largest castles in Italy, named after the Lombard infantry who served to defend the fortress. Of its twenty towers, only six remain today, including Torre Pisana, which offers stunning panoramic views from the Madonie mountains to Mount Etna. Nearby is Lake Pergusa, the only remaining natural freshwater reservoir on the island. Surrounded by pristine nature, it is the ideal destination to enjoy a walk in the open air. The route covers almost 5 kilometres in total, but swimming in the lake is strictly prohibited. The most striking places to see around the city include the Byzantine village of Vallone Canalotto, an ancient settlement carved into the stone four kilometres from the village of Calascibetta. Be sure to visit the Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, a late antique residence famous for its beautifully preserved mosaics.Discover
With its breathtaking sea and unparalleled artistic heritage, Catania is fascinating and captivating. Indulge in the magnetic energy of a city with a long and colourful history, be swept away by its vitality and captivated by its art, architecture, food and wine. A visit to Catania is certain to be an unforgettable experience.Discover
Baroque open-air museum Elegant, refined and rich in history. Ragusa, in southern Sicily, captivates visitors with its artistic and architectural treasures and breathtaking views. The city is considered the highest expression of Sicilian Baroque, with elegantly carved churches and palaces, such as the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Cathedral of St George and Palazzo Zacco. Wear comfortable shoes and walk up the stairs that connect Ragusa Superiore, on the plateau, and Ragusa Ibla, the historical centre that winds along steep and winding alleys. Treat yourself to a relaxing moment in the shade of the palm trees of the Ibleo Garden, located on a rocky outcrop with panoramic views of the Iblei Mountains and the Irminio River valley. Just 16 kilometres from Ragusa lies Modica, famous for its chocolate. Visit St Peter's Cathedral, with its imposing staircase and Baroque façade, and the Birthplace of Salvatore Quasimodo. Lose yourself in the alleyways of Scicli, a small village surrounded by cliffs where time seems to stand still. For a plunge into the past, discover the Castello di Donnafugata, a noble 19th-century residence surrounded by a park with a labyrinth. Sun and sea lovers can relax on the beaches of Marina di Ragusa, Sampieri, Scoglitti and at the Foce dell'Irminio Reserve.Discover
The charm of Magna Graecia, between sea and history Located on the south-eastern coast of Sicily, Syracuse has a history stretching back thousands of years. It was the island’s capital for centuries, until it was conquered by the Arabs in 878 AD. Its historical centre, corresponding to the island of Ortigia, is rich in Baroque buildings, most of which were damaged and rebuilt following the violent earthquake of 1693. Ortigia is considered to be an open-air museum: it houses the Cathedral, the Maniace Castle from the Swabian-Norman period, the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Athena, and Piazza Archimede with its fountain of the same name. From here, it is a 30-minute walk to the Neapolis Archaeological Park. In the Greek Theatre, dating back to the 5th century BC, it is still possible to watch wonderful performances. Particularly fascinating is the Orecchio di Dioniso (Ear of Dionysus), a stone cave so called because of its shape, famous for its special acoustic effect. Moving south, stop in Noto, Italy's Baroque capital, and Marzamemi, a characteristic fishing village famous for its “tonnara” (tuna fishery) and light-coloured stone houses. Among the most beautiful beaches, besides Cala Rossa, Arenella and Fontane Bianche, we recommend Calamosche, located within the Vendicari Natural Oasis. A stop at Portopalo and its Spiaggia dei due mari (Beach of the Two Seas), overlooking the uninhabited island of Capopassero, is a must.Discover