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Tourist Places To Visit In Sicily
Sicily, an island located to the south of the mainland of Italy is a part of the country, but has its own charm. Sandy beaches, beautiful weather and great food are an awesome combination for any vacation. The island boasts of everything from temples and lakes to beaches, volcanic mountains, ancient structures and history so old that you might not be able to take in everything at once. Hence, if you’d really like to know about the island and be able to soak in the culture, you would have to spend a good number of days here and why not? It’s got everything you need for a vacation and even more! So let’s look at some of the tourist places to visit in Sicily that make it so unique.
Mount Etna in Catania
Mount Etna is an active volcano in Catania in the east coast of Italy and is located in between the cities of Messina and Catania. It is the largest volcano in Europe with a base circumference of 150 km and a height of 3,326 m and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Sicily. The Mount Etna volcano is a stratovolcano – a number of volcanoes layered together; it has four craters at the bottom. You can plan to take a bus from Catania to Rifugio Sapienza, which is 1400 m below the mountain and then starts hiking from there onwards. If you are too lazy to walk, you can take a cable car up to the top. While you hike, you can see vast barren trails to walk on and lava flows that have now become ash and covers the mountain. In winters, as the temperatures become lower, you can ski down these lava flows.
Valley of Temples in Agrigento
The Valley of Temples is an archeological site in Agrigento, Sicily and is the greatest example of Greek art and architecture. It is a national monument of Italy and the area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful Doric temples in this complex are absolutely impressive and tell tales of a history that is a thousand years old. Some of the famous archeological marvels in this complex include the Temple of Dioscuri, The Temple of Olympian Zeus, The Temple of Heracles, The Temple of Hera Lacinia and many more structures that are absolutely awe-inspiring.
Gole dell’Alcantara in Messina
Gole dell’Alcantara is a series of canyons, created by waves of lava from several years ago. Located roughly between the provinces of Messina and Catania, the lava ash runs along the Alcantra River and has led to several configurations that are horizontal and vertical. Some basalt walls are also created due to the phenomenon and are as tall as 50 m. You can go on a guided tour to these series of canyons which includes a tasting of specialties from the region.
Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro in Trapani
In 1981, the first nature reserve was set up in the western part of Sicily in Trapani and is known as Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro. This reserve includes the mountain chains as well as the sea coast that stretches for almost 7 km. The eco diversity of the wildlife is interesting and nature enthusiasts will definitely enjoy the numerous interesting species of birds and animals that can be spotted in the region. The reserve offers a variety of museums, one of them being the Uzzo Grotto that houses some of the first prehistoric settlements and will interest historians visiting the place. The only way to discover this beautiful place is by foot.
Capuchin Abbey and Catacombs in Palermo
Located in the capital of the Sicily, Palermo, the preservation of numerous corpses in the cemetery of the Convent of Capuchin Frairs is known as the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo. It is one of the most famous places to go to in the capital and is very eerie at the same time. The corpses have been embalmed and stored in racks for people to come see. It is a macabre spectacle bringing out customs, traditions, preservation techniques and rituals of the Palermo society from the 17th to the 19th century. The cemeteries are closed for admission of corpses, but open to the public for viewing this unique feature of the city.
Stromboli Crater in the Aeolian Islands
Stromboli, one of the smaller of Aeolian Islands in the north coast of Sicily, is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea and is Europe’s only permanent active volcano. The island contains three volcanic craters that are always making gurgling sounds and giving out immense heat. As you first start climbing, you can see lush vegetation and beautiful flora, but as the path progresses, it becomes steeper and you can see rocks strewn in grey volcano ashes. Once you reach up, you you can hear ominous sounds and warnings of the volcanoes, accompanied by clouds of smoke emerging constantly from the crater. Although it is a bit of an adventure, It is an experience to have while in Sicily.
Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena in Catania
The Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena is a ten minute walk from the Cathedral Square in Catania and is one of the biggest Benedictine Monastery in Europe. The construction of the structure started in 1500 and continues up till this day. The structure is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a great example of the integration of different styles of architecture, combined together. Previously the monastery was almost destroyed due to a volcanic eruption, but it was reworked upon in the years after. The monastery consists of two beautiful gardens as well which are enriched with decoration. This is Europe’s oldest monastery and witnessing its beauty and age old history is an experience by itself.
Palermo Cathedral at Palermo
One of the oldest churches in the capital city of Palermo is the Palermo Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The best characteristic of this cathedral is that its architecture exhibits styles that are influenced by the many kingdoms that have ruled Sicily. Inside the cathedral you will find various royal tombs from members of the royal families in Sicily. More than the Palermo Cathedral being a church, the art and architecture of the structure shows the depth of the history of the region from the time it was conquered by several kingdoms until now.