Sicily. The little island off the toe of Italy’s boot, is a concoction of splendid beauty, aging grandeur, delicious food, and of course its range of wines.
For the movie buffs, Sicily is known for some of the iconic scenes from the timeless moving picture, the Godfather. It’s worth visiting these famous movie spots, whether you’re a Godfather fan or not.
Sicily has four main airports. Palermo and Catania are served by major and low-cost airlines, with Trapani and Comiso specializing in low-cost European flights, like Ryanair.
Funny enough, you can actually take a train from the mainland, rather than taking a flight. At a leisurely scenic pace, from Rome to the Straits of Messina. The whole train is then ferried across to the island! It then brings you to the stunning hillside resort of Taormina, a favorite holiday spot for Dolce and Gabbana who put Sicily on the map.
Getting around the island is best done by the bus routes. Alternatively, you could hire a car and go on a Sicily road trip! Get something small like a Smart or Fiat 500, to weave you in and out of the narrow dusty streets. Let’s take a look at some nice attractions to fill your time in Sicily and make sure you have a wonderful trip.
Valley of The Temples: The city of Akragas is an archaeological site of ruins, highlighted by the fabulously preserved Tempio della Concordia (Temple of Concordia), one of multiple ridge-topped temples that once served for sailors coming home. A 1300-hectare park, 3 kilometers south of Agrigento, is divided into an eastern and western zone. There are ticket offices and car parks at the southwestern corner of the park and also at the corner of the northeastern point close to the Temple of Hera. Let’s look at the two zones below:
If time is scarce, firstly check out the eastern zone, where the three best-preserved temples are found.
The Tempio di Hera, dating back to the 5th Century BC, is right on a ridge’s edge. Although partially damaged in a Middle Ages earthquake, much of the colonnade is still intact, as well as a long altar, originally used in sacrificial ceremonies. From this point, the route continues westwardly, past an old olive tree and a number of Byzantine tombs inbuilt in the city’s walls, towards Tempio della Concordia. In around 1748 it underwent a restoration to its original form and given the name it’s now known by.
The final temple in the zone is the Tempio di Ercole. It’s the oldest one, dating as far back as 6 BC. Sound like something you’d be interested in? Then check out holidays at VoyagePrive.co.uk.
The highlight here is the Tempio di Giove ruin. Spanning a 112metre by 56metre area with 20metre columns high, this nearly went on to be the largest Doric temple constructed only its build was interrupted the sacking of Akragas. An earthquake, then obliterated the unfinished temple later.
A short distance on, marked by four columns, the Tempio dei Dioscuri temple dates back to the 5th century BC that was also destroyed when an earthquake hit the area but was partially reconstructed in the 19th century. Right behind this lies a series of altars and small buildings which are believed to be part of Santuario delle Divine Chtoniche.
Taormina’s main event is a theatre shaped like a horseshoe, hanging between the sea and the sky, with Mt Etna on the distant horizon of the south. Erected some time in the 3rd century Before Christ, Teatro Greco is the world’s most dramatically situated theatre and Sicily’s second largest one. In summertime, it is home to international festivals for film and the arts. In high season, you are better off exploring the place early in the morning to avoid the massive influx of visitors.
The best sights can be seen from Lipari’s celebrated viewpoint Quattrocchi (which translates to “Four Eyes”), 3 kilometers west of the town. Take the road towards Pianoconte and keep an eye out for a left as you near a hairpin turn approximately 300metres after the turn-off for Spiaggia Valle i Muria. Stretching into the south, wonderful cliffs meet the sea’s waves, while you can also see the distant fumes of smoke rising from neighboring volcano.
Forza d’Agro, Sicily
Finally, the legendary Godfather scene! Remember after Sollozzo and McCluskey are killed in the Godfather? Michael Corleone escapes to Sicily, and to the family roots, Forza d’Agro. This nice town along the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean’s largest island, approximately 16 kilometers south-west of the famous Taormina, was used as a backdrop multiple times throughout the Godfather trilogy. So if you are a Godfather fan, this spot is a must-visit for you!
Pack your bags
If you have been to Rome, Naples and Milan, but still want more from an Italian holiday, then Sicily is for you. As you can see, it is a place full of character, history and steeped in the Sicilian culture that makes it so unique, besides being home to the scenes from the famous movie trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola. Get your bags packed, passports ready and your camera charged. Sicily won’t disappoint you, from its many temples to its food and wine. Enjoy every moment of this great Italian island. It really is a little paradise that doesn’t get as much mainstream tourism (YET) as many of the other islands in the vicinity.