Sicily's rich history is reflected in sites like the Valley of the Temples and in the Byzantine mosaics at the Cappella Palatina. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes.

Provinces of Sicily

Guide to Property for Sale in Sicily

If you are thinking of investing in Italian real estate take a look at property for sale in Sicily. Real estate prices of masseria (farmhouses) and sea view villas around Ragusa in southern Sicily are low, around 750 - 1,000 Euro per m2. Many country houses in Sicily have olive and almond trees, and usually their own water source on the land. Purchase an apartment or townhouse in one of the Baroque towns of Modica, Noto, Scicli and Ragusa, and be surrounded by the magnificent art and architecture of Sicily; plus you get the sea view for free!

Sicily is the largest Italian island separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina, only 3 km away at its closest point. Sicily is surrounded by the Ionian, the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean Seas.  The island has a triangular shape, a splendid coastline, rugged interior and a warm climate. Sicily is a land of contrasts where history, art and culture were formed by the civilisations that have conquered the island throughout history.

The Greek cities of Sicily (Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta, Syracuse, to mention the most important) were among the most beautiful of the Hellenic world. Nowadays, to visit the Valley of Temples at Agrigento or to watch a summer performance in the great Greek Theatre of Syracuse is to plunge yourself into the remote Hellenic past. And this is also true in Sicily for many other historical eras and civilizations, from the Spanish to the French. With the sole exception of Arab rule, which has left scarce physical testimony.

Sicily is a book of history and art history, a compendium of the greatest civilizations and cultures of all time. A sunny island whose landscape is rich in contrasts, with a splendid coastline and a refined, delicious and varied cuisine of traditional flavours and exquisite aromas: the quintessence of Mediterranean culture.

Overview of Sicily

Mt Etna and Catania

Sicily is an autonomous region surrounded by a coastline of 1,484 kilometers. The interior is mountainous and hilly and given over to agriculture. The northern mountains of Madonie and Nebrodi are part of the mainland Apennine. In the east the landscape is dominated by Mount  Etna, Europe's most active volcano that looks down on Catania.

Sicily is surrounded by The Aeolian Islands that  form a volcanic complex, and include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano, Vulcanello and Lipari are also currently active, although the latter is usually dormant. The region also includes neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa.

Mount Etna and the mountain range of Nebrodi are national parks. The latter is the largest in Sicily and contains the Caronia forest.

The Zingaro nature reserve stretches along some seven kilometers of unspoilt coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare and its mountain chain, the setting of steep cliffs and little bays.

The southern Sicilian coast around Ragusa is an ideal destination for those who want to combine a relaxing vacation on the beach with cultural sightseeing in one of the most renowned Baroque areas of Europe.

Please also see our guide to houses for sale in southern Sicily 

Art and Culture of Sicily

Agrigento valley of the temples

Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento is  a UNESCO archaeological area. The famous Valley of the Temples - surrounded by green olive groves, almond trees, citrus orchards and vineyards that stretch out to the sea with all its imposing and elegant monuments - fantastically evokes an atmosphere of 2500 years ago, when the ancient Akagras Agrigentum was a center of power and learning.On a plain that slopes towards the sea, Agrigento is one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily. On the side of the sea is the Valley of the Temples, a World Heritage Site, an important archaeological testimony of classical Greek civilization.

The archaeological area of ​​Agrigento, in Sicily, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. The imposing Doric temples constitute one of the most significant testimonies of Greek culture and art, and tell us a thousand-year history that began in the sixth century BC. with the foundation of the ancient colony of Akragas.

The great Doric temples of the ancient 'Akragas' were built using the shell-like sandstone tuff which, in the light of the sunset, acquires amber tones. All temples face the East and create a perfect balance with the surrounding nature.

There are seven sacred places be to admired include the Temple of Era, with a rectangular plan on which 34 columns rest, the Temple of Concordia, in excellent state of conservation, and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

Sicily is rich in UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Two other must-sees are the Late Baroque cities of the Noto Valley, and the Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina.

Baroque towns of Ragusa, Noto and Modica with the Basilica of St. George in Ragusa a Baroque masterpiece.

Towns in Sicily



The regional capital with a magnificent cathedral that houses royal tombs. The neoclassical Teatro Massimo is a wonderful opera house. The Palazzo dei Normanni is in the centre. Busy markets include the central Ballarò street market and the Vucciria, near the port.


On the hill overlooking the Valley of the Temples, there is the "Magnificent City", today's Agrigento, a treasure trove of art treasures.

The jewels of the historic center are the Norman Cathedral, perched on the top of the hill with its imposing bell tower, and the Monastery of Santo Spirito with the church of the same name attached.

Via Atenea is the main street of Agrigento, and begins with the Porta di Ponte, a nineteenth-century reconstruction of the medieval entrance. In this street is the Palazzo Celauro, where Goethe stayed.

The historic center has the ancient medieval structure, with narrow alleys and stairways that climb the slopes.

From the more modern Viale della Vittoria, sitting in one of the bars shaded by fig trees, you can admire a splendid view of the Valley of the Temples.

In the Contrada San Nicola, there is the Regional Archaeological Museum which illustrates the history of ancient Agrigento, from prehistoric times to the Hellenization phase.

Not far from Agrigento, the birthplace of the Nobel laureate writer Luigi Pirandello where an interesting museum has been set up.On Sicily's south eastern coast stands Syracuse, an ancient Greek colony, another UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Necropolis of Pantalica since 2005.


Sits at the foot of Etna. A port town for centuries, it has a magnificent central square, Piazza del Duomo


Best known for being a Greek colony and birthplace Archimedes. The ancient ruins of Greek civilization and a Roman Amphitheatre remain.


On the west coast the home of the Sicilian salt marshes and also the home to a 17th century watchtower.


Messina is a port in northeast Sicily, separated from mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina. It’s known for the Norman Messina Cathedral.


On a hill near Mount Etna. The teatro Antico which was a Greek Roman theatre still has performances. The lovely seaside town has sandy beaches and coves to explore. Just off the coast is Isola Bella, a nature reserve.


Picturesque town clustered around its Norman cathedral.


The town has an extraordinary Baroque cathedral.

Ragusa which has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and, because of its beauty, has been used by a number of leading film directors as a film set. Marina di Ragusa, a few kilometres to the south of the town has become a top class destination without losing any of its old world charm and character. Ragusa, Scicli, Noto and Modica are Baroque jewels.


One of the most attractive towns in all Sicily, is surrounded by the Iblean mountains and with a marina. The bay is a surf and windsurf lovers’ paradise thanks to its perfect exposure to the winds.


This beach is 30 km from Ragusa and truly wonderful, the water is crystal-clear.


A tiny village near to Ragusa, famous for its beautiful beach and stone cottages that look romantically out to sea.

Cianciana and the Valley of the Platani River  Italian properties for sale in Sicily

A hidden and little known corner of Sicily, rich in history, popular traditions and beautiful landscapes is waiting for you, offering a pleasant vacation characterized by natural wellbeing and by a traditional and healthy gastronomy The territory is situated between the the Sicani mountains and the valley of the Platani river, from this territory it is possible to visit some important nearby tourist sites such as Palazzo Adriano, Prizzi and Sant’Angelo Muxaro, as well as the towns of Agrigento, Sciacca, the ancient city of Heraclea Minoa and the splendid beaches

The town of Cianciana is situated on the southern slope of Mount Calvario and from here you can look over beautiful the wonderful view on the valley of Platani river with woods, wheat fields and vineyards offering a kaleidoscope of colours.

Cianciana is a hillside town in an excellent postition and enjoys a mild climate throughout the year. There are many shops, pizzerias, restaurants ,and an air ambulance service. There are also many parks and interesting natural beauty sites and cultural places of interest.

In the lower valley, the Mediterranean vegetation prevails, whereas in the higher areas you find forests with tall trees. The paths crossing the valley are ideal for trekking and a direct contact with the nature. The area is popular with bird watchers.

The peculiar geologic feature of the land, rich in water, has created numerous caves. With the help of speleologists you can visit them and study their physical, morphological and biophysical features.

Sports and Leisure in Sicily

sailing on the coast of Sicily

In Sicily the sea can be enjoyed in so many different ways: relaxing on one of the many  coastal beaches, sailing, diving to explore the wonderful seabeds, or windsurfing and kitesurfing.

The coast of Agrigento

Among the most beautiful coasts of Sicily: sea, beaches and nature reserves are waiting to be discovered. Famous for the Scala dei Turchi, the Agrigento coast offers many seaside resorts of incredible beauty.

There is 126 km of coastline, starting with Porto Palo, Menfi, in Licata - a natural terrace that spills into the Mediterranean Sea. And a succession of beaches of fine sand, cliffs of white rock and nature reserves. It stretches from the sea towards the beautiful inland, created by nature, historical towns, castles and archaeological sites. This natural piece of art, enriched by the local cuisine and an atmosphere of joy with festivals and traditional events.


Follow  the routes of Sicily's natural parks.


In recent years Sicily has even become an important destination for lovers of golf. Several new courses, such as Donnafugata have opened and there is also the Sicily Open.

Thermal Spas

The most renowned spas are Sciacca, with its famous Stufe di San Calogero, caves where the high concentration of steam reaches a temperature of about 40° C, or the Thermae of Acireale, where underground seawater mixes with sulphur water from Etna.


Countless festivals  take place every year in the amazing scenery of Taormina’s Ancient Theatre, including the well-known Cinema Festival, an award ceremony for the best films. Many festivals are dedicated to the Patron Saints of Sicily as well, mixing faith, folklore and tradition into a display of the Sicilians’ profound religious devotion. The Festival of Saint Rosalia in Palermo and the Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania take place every summer.

Food and Wines of Sicily

Sicilian Cannoli

Sicilians' passion for good food and genuine flavours is legendary.

Sicilian food shows the traces of the civilizations that have invaded the island.  Italian food but with the influences of Arab, Greek, French and Spanish mixed in.

In the mountains the diet is lamb or game whereas  on the coast the cuisine is based on seafood. Spaghetti ai ricci (spaghetti prepared with sea urchin) Pasta con le sarde (with sardines) and Pasta alla Norma (a specialty originated in Catania) are the most popular pasta dishes and typically Sicilian. Manicotti and couscous alla pesce are popular as well.

Pastries such as Cannoli  with ricotta cheese and almonds and savoury Arancini: stuffed rice balls in  bread crumbs and then deep fried. They are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas.

Extra-virgin olive oil, juicy red oranges and the sweet grapes of Canicattì, Pachino tomatoes are some of the excellent products that distinguish Sicilian food.

The most famous cheeses, like Ragusano and pecorino, or tasty sausages, like Sant’Angelo salami, or the different types of crispy bread, like the loaves of Dittaino.

Typical Sicilian dishes:

Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls) 

Busiate with Pesto Trapanese.

Cassatelle alla Trapanese (Trapani-style Fried Crescents) 

Panelle (Fried Chickpea "Polenta") 

Pasta with Sardines. ...

Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Stew) 

Sicilian Cannoli

Palermo-style Baked Anelletti

Sicily is noted for exquisite, strong and full-bodied wines such as Nero D'avola, Frappato and Cerasuolo.

History of Sicily

Sicily has a history that dates back to 8,000 BC when the Sicani people settled the island. The Greeks settled the island in 750 BC and the culture of the island shifted towards being Greek.  Siracusa was the most important Greek settlement and controlled most of the island. The Greeks fought the Carthaginians for control of the islands  but by 262 BC Sicily had become a Roman Province. Control of Sicily then shifted through various empires and people throughout the Early Middle Ages. Some of these included the Germanic Vandals, the Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans.

The island became the Kingdom of Sicily in 1135 and  was known as one of the richest states in Europe at the time. In 1262 Sicilian rose up against the government in the War of the Sicilian Vespers which lasted until 1302. More revolts occurred in the 17th century and by the mid-1700s, the island was taken over by Spain. After the Napoleonic Wars Sicily was unified with Naples as the Two Sicilies. In 1848 a revolution took place which separated Sicily from Naples and gave it independence.

In 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Expedition of the Thousand took control of Sicily and the island became a part of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1946 Italy became a republic and Sicily became an autonomous region.

Geography of Sicily

Surface Area: 9,927 square miles (25,711 sq km)

Coastline extending 1,484 Kilometers

Highest Point: Mount Etna at 10,890 feet (3,320 m)

Population: 5,050,486


Palermo (regional capital), Agrigento, Catania, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Ragusa, Siracusa

and Trapani.

Getting To Sicily


Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Comiso


Ferries from Calabria to Messina.

Public Transport 

A good network of bus and rail services criss cross Sicily.


Sicily has a Mediterranean climate:  mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. An winter low temperature is 8.2 C and an average  summer high 29 C.