Sicily Main

sicily-main

Think of Sicily as the Mediterranean's stewpot. The largest island in that sea, it has been ruled by Greeks, Romans, Africans, Arabs, by knights from Normandy and kings from Spain. And all left a lasting impression, a kind of crossroads culture, on the island and its people - who have been called the most Italian of the Italians.

Sicily is a treasure trove of the past: more ancient Greek temples than Greece, the finest Roman mosaics in the world (at Piazza Armerina), and castles and churches from the Middle Ages. But this is also a land of great natural beauty, from smoldering Mount Etna looming over the narrow Strait of Messina that separates the island from Italy to central valleys filled with spring wildflowers and dramatic rocky shorelines that shelter fine, seldom crowded beaches.

There are those who will tell you the food alone is reason enough to visit Sicily. Spicier, sweeter, bolder, more intense than most Italian fare, it draws on the flavors of Africa as easily as those of Europe. And the best way to taste the food - indeed, get the flavor of the island itself - is to explore the countryside. It's where the Sicily of old still thrives.