Provinces of Sicily

Guide to Property 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.

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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.

Art and Culture of Sicily

Agrigento 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 Sicily's south eastern coast stands Syracuse, an ancient Greek colony, another UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Necropolis of Pantalica since 2005.

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

Ragusa

Palermo

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.

Catania

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

Siracusa

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

Trapani

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

Messina

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

Taormina

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.

Cefalù

Picturesque town clustered around its Norman cathedral.

Noto

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.

Modica

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.

Pozzallo

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

Sampieri

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

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.

Trekking

Follow  the routes of Sicily's natural parks.

Golf

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.

Festivals

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

Provinces

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

and Trapani.

Getting To Sicily

Airports

Palermo, Catania, Comiso

Sea

Ferries from Calabria to Messina.

Climate

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.

 

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