Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, may be just a short hop from the Italian mainland, across the narrow strait of Messina, but it is a world apart in atmosphere and attitude. Everything Italian seems a little more appetizing here, not only the food but the history and culture as well.
For a long time Sicily was ignored as a holiday destination, largely because of the Mafia stranglehold and because of the poverty of the people. Today, however, the island is experiencing a tourism boom and a surge in development as the destructive influences of the Mafia wane. Visitors discover that the Sicilian people are gracious, noble and welcoming and that the island itself offers natural and historic attractions of great beauty and enormous interest.
The main cities of Palermo and Catania feature some of the most exquisite architecture in the world, a legacy of the many great civilizations that have vied for control of this strategically situated island over the centuries, from the Greeks and Romans, Arabs and Normans to more recently the French, Spanish and Italians. There are massive Romanesque cathedrals, the best-preserved Greek temples in the world, Roman amphitheaters and magnificent Baroque palaces. The continuous blue skies and temperate climate, lush vegetation and rich marine life all add to the island’s appeal. Nature has given Sicily Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano, a dramatic coastline and a fertile soil that gives forth much of the bounty on which the island’s unique and delicious cuisine is based.