There was a time when:
Jupiter in his wanderings over the clouds, on the back of two eagles, from amidst a clump of clouds sighted in the middle of a blue sea a piece of land, a beautiful triangle-shaped island, surrounded by three seas, gulfs of immense beauty, a permanently steaming volcano, snow, the beautiful coastline of rugged cliffs and beaches golden sand, beaches that in some places had sand that was almost like powder, and in other places were full of cliffs of lava.
And Jupiter thought:
This seems to be Paradise, a haven created to seduce the eye, the spirit, the imagination, here the men can fulfil all the desires that they have.
And yes! This island mentioned by Jupiter, formerly called by the Greeks Sikelia, by other people called Trinacria, which is now called Sicily; an island that everyone should visit!
Sicily is the largest, most populous, and the most famous island in the Mediterranean. Different Â civilizations gave fame to this sea, and Sicily is the most vivid and evocative synthesis of all this.
There is a reason why they say that a trip toGreece can not be complete without having seen what the Greek civilization left inSicily.
Especially one people, led by the Greek Teocle was fascinated by a beautiful peninsula of volcanic origin, leaning on the Ionian sea Ã¢â‚¬â€œTeocle founded the first Greek colony in Sicily precisely in Naxos. Naxos in the future would become known as Giardini Naxos, or as the tourists called itÃ‚Â â€œThe Gardens of Naxosâ€œ. Tourists of all times become dazzled by this beautiful bay, from which there is a marvellous view of the mythicalÂ Taormina.
How lucky she is, this island Sicily, that will allow all thosetourists who come to be fascinated by the breathtaking views offered from the ancient medieval hamlet of Castelmola a panorama stretching from the Strait of Messina, where the intense Strait of Sicily with its golden beaches offers a unique view towards south with beautiful bays.
After the Saracen Castle of Cape Sant â€˜Alessio Siculo, a miracle for the eye, the Cape embrace with the more docile and crystalline waters.
The seabed moves up the coast to Taormina and its oases, giving the sand of these beaches a pearly gray color, like in the Caribbean. From this beach you can gaze up towardsÂ Taormina, and try to distinguish its Greek Theatre and all other historical buildings of Taormina. At sunset, if the skies are clear, you can admire a unique sight: a calm sea and lines that seem drawn specifically in order to enhance the charming beauty of the bay of Giardini Naxos.
As a closure of this wonderful panorama we have the majestic and beautiful volcano Etna, which is the highest ofSicily and the largest volcano in Europe. In the depths of the mind you can imagine to also seeÂ Syracuse.
You can imagine the Valley of the Temples, an archaeological site dating from the time ofÂ Magna Graecia, situated near Agrigento. This Temple-valley is listed, since 1997, among the World Heritage sites, nominated by UNESCO. It is considered a popular tourist destination, in addition to Â being the highest source of tourism for the entire city of Agrigento and one of the major tourist-attractions in Sicily. Among the otherÂ Sicilian pearls there are: the prehistoricÂ Gorges of Alcantara, the majestic Mount Etna, the beautiful art cities of Syracuse, theÂ Aeolian Islands, the lively and colourful Palermo, the mosaics of Monreale , the historical settlements of Segesta, the Villa Romana del Casale, the Pantani Vendicari, the artistic town ofÂ Catania and the beautiful border town of MessinaÂ it is easy to understand that a visit to Sicily is something you can not miss.
Its coasts are highly varied and interesting, in some places developing into wide gulfs, in other places there are bold headlands and tiny coves, in other wide sandy strips, and high steep cliffs.
So, while you get lost among granita and almond milk, you will have an endless choice ofÃ‚ routes to follow.
The winter-climate is mild, the summer-climate is temperate (the average temperature of the coldest month in Taormina is 10Â°C, the average temperature of the warmest month ever in Taormina is ofÂ 30Â°C).
The flora is extremely rich and varied, ranging from the more typical subtropical vegetation in juniper that can be found here and there all the way up to Etna. Numerous locations with hydrothermal water offer a number of very effective treatments, even in winter. The monuments are countless and are of all ages, with external influences â€“ Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, Spanish â€“ that give the Sicilian art a unique character. But the features that make this island the ideal place for any tourist are: sea, sun, food and culture. Beach resorts, a hotelâ€“ and restaurant sector of excellent quality, cutting edge, but in the first place we have the warm hospitality of the inhabitants.
There is a wide choice of accommodation facilities among various categories of hotels, farmhouses, bed & breakfasts, residences, camping sites, guesthouses, tourist villages, but the warm hospitality can be noticed at is full mainly by holiday homes, because they can give the visitor everything that he needs with the utmost freedom.
FOLKLORE AND TRADITIONS
Sicily cherishes its folklore and it is very impressive,
fantastic, rich, varied and colourful.
The folklore represents all the beauty of Sicily.
Think of the Sicilian cart, undisputed symbol of Sicily, often accompanied by improvised singers of traditional Siciliansongs, the â€œcartersâ€ dressed in the traditional way wearing velvet and a coppola (a flat cap), that sing folk songs. But to see one of these carts fully on the streets of the town is a true rarity, a rarity that can be seen in Taormina throughout the summer, except in August due to technical reasons related to the overcrowding of tourists.
An explosion of yellow, blue, red, green, the colours of the soil of Sicily, with her warmth and herpassion, sunshine, oranges and lemons, sky and sea, watermelon and prickly pear, ornaments everywhere , trappings, feathers and fringes, mythological figures, angels, flowers, moons and stars that testify of all the civilizations that came to this island; Arabic and Turk-Byzantine motifs,Spanish, Greek, and even chivalric epic depictions of the paladins of France â€¦
Guy de Maupassant after seeing a Sicilian cart called it a â€œwalking rebusÂ â€¦ in fact you will be impressed and enraptured by all the paintings and writings of this cart. This magnificent spectacle offered by Sicily and Sicilians is something that you can watch for hours and hours discovering new things all the time.
Then we have the French paladins, the â€œciaramiddaruâ€ who inflates the bagpipes during the Christmas novena, the â€œmarranzanoâ€ â€“ the JewÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s harp with its strange sound, the bright colours of the traditional costumes, the traditional songs, legends, the stories and the proverbs.
But even the typical dishes prepared on the occasion of special religious events, celebrations of patron saints and profane town-feasts with dancing, music, fireworks and decorative lights.
Among these, just to mention a few, there are: the festival of San Pancrazio in Giardini-Naxos (ME), which is also united to the PALIO DEI NAXIOTI â€“ a festival with music performances, storytellers, popular games, medieval jousts with horses , rope pulling, greasy pole climbing,fish festival etc.. And the feast of San Giorgio inCastelmola (ME), where the Holy platform(or chariot) is carried by the devoted through the streets, alleys and lanes of this medieval town.
The Feast of Â Costumes and Sicilian carts in Taormina(ME), a unique Sicilian folklore performance ,and the feast of St. Philip in Calatabiano (CT), where the Holy platform, borne upon the shoulders of the faithful, gets carried on a dizzying ride all the way down from the spectacular Castle of Calatabiano. The festival of Madre Catena in Savoca (ME) with a huge amount of devoted.Then there is of course the Feast of St. Agatha in Catania, the Carnival of Acireale (CT), and in Misterbianco (CT), the Festival of the Pistachio of Bronte (CT) and of theStrawberries in Maletto (CT). The feast of Yellow Peaches in Mojo Alcantara (ME), and the Cherry Festival in Graniti (ME).
The Prickly Pear festival in San Cono (CT), and the Green Lemonfestival in Roccalumera (ME).
The festival of Swordfish in Aci Trezza (CT). There is also the Feast of the Octopus in Aci Castello (CT). The Feast of St. Vitus in Mascalucia (CT), the feast of Saint Lucia in Syracuse, the Feast dedicated to Santa Rosalia in Palermo, and the dance of the devils inÂ Prizzi (PA), the Festival of Almond Flower with the International Folklore Festival in Agrigento . These are just some of the memorable events that can be found in the beautiful Sicilian culture.
And finally, the greatest show of Sicily that is offered to us by Etna, with its spectacular eruptions, especially at sunset, and when there is snow on the volcano it is a unique spectacle, which repeats every two years.
Do not forget that in the past, many of the greatest men, who were the honour and pride of the most advanced European nations, faced every hardship to know her, theÂ magnificent Etna.
They all exalted with admiration of this volcano, and they never forgot her..
So, while you wander around among steaming volcanoes, lava flows, rivers of ancient origins, medieval villages, legends, beautiful bays, Greek temples, Sicilian carts, granitas, cassata-cake, cannolis and almond-wine, among tourists and beauties from every nation, you will have an infinity of choices when it comes to what to do and where to goÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.. If you want to visit Sicily during high-season you must book as early as possible because the most beautiful places are literally stormed at these times.
Each visitor must handle his/her own gluttony because the temptation to see, experience, taste and enjoy this miracle of nature, and you want it all, at once.
And you will get mesmerized and come to understand that perhaps only one holiday is not enough.
All of this because the quantity of places to see and experience offered by this corner of SicilyÂ can only be equalled by the vision of its starry sky at night.