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Europe » Italy » Sicily

The Mediterranean's biggest island is separated from the mainland by the strait of Messina. A mountainous spot, Sicily's coast and its small islands sit at the foot of volcanoes, including Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. The Greeks, Romans, Normans and Catalans all left their mark on the island in the form of Byzantine palaces, Gothic castles and Baroque flourishes in capital Palermo. Most larger towns offer interesting museums, but Etna and the Hellenic temples in Agrigento offer particularly unique sights.

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Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region). Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m (10,890 ft) the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate.


Today, Sicily’s new generation is loathe to remain trapped in the past. New ventures are seeing aristocratic entrepreneurs prising open the doors of some of Europe’s finest palazzi and villas, while sensitive agriturismi (farm stay accommodations) are shedding light on Sicily’s hidden rural treasures and national parks. Sicily also has a refreshing lack of neon-blazing entertainment and theme parks, which further helps preserve its individuality and appeal.




The island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, there is the Alcantara in the province of Messina, which exits at Giardini Naxos; and the Simeto which exits into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are to the southwest with Belice and Platani.




Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers. According to the Regional Agency for Waste and Water, on 10 August 1999 the weather station of Catenanuova (EN) recorded a maximum temperature of 48.5 °C, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe by the use of reliable instruments. The official European record – measured by minimum/maximum thermometers is recognized to Athens, Greece, as communications reported a maximum of 48.0 °C in 1977.



Things to do

San Vito lo Capo - Type: Beaches - Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day

Mount Etna - Type: Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing - Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day

Monreale Duomo - Type: Churches/Religious Sites - Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day

Valley of the Temples - Type: Sightseeing - Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day

Teatro Massimo - Type: Entertainment and Nightlife - Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day

Mondello Lido - Type: Beaches - Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day

Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro - Type: Hiking, Parks and Gardens - Time to Spend: More than Full Day

Palermo Cathedral - Type: Churches/Religious Sites - Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours

Segesta Temple - Type: Churches/Religious Sites - Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day

Nebrodi Mountains. Vast forested reserve in northeastern Sicily

Sicanian Mountains. The region includes the Mount Cammarata reserve and Ficuzza

Ustica Marine Reserve. The largest underwater reserve in Sicilian territory




Sicily's sunny, dry climate, scenery, cuisine, history, and architecture attract many tourists from mainland Italy and abroad. The tourist season peaks in the summer months, although people visit the island all year round. Mount Etna, the beaches, the archeological sites, and major cities such as Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa are the favourite tourist destinations, but the old town of Taormina and the neighbouring seaside resort of Giardini Naxos draw visitors from all over the world, as do the Aeolian Islands, Erice, Cefalù, Agrigento, the Pelagie Islands and Capo d'Orlando. The latter features some of the best-preserved temples of the ancient Greek period. Many Mediterranean cruise ships stop in Sicily, and many wine tourists also visit the island. Some scenes of famous Hollywood and Cinecittà films were shot in Sicily. This increased the attraction of Sicily as a tourist destination.



How to Impress an Italian Girl


What happens when you meet an Italian girl who you want to do more than make flirty eye contact with across a dimly-lit dance floor? What if you’d actually like to ask her to dinner and not feel the sting of rejection? If that’s the case then you need to know a few things about how to impress an Italian girl – some of this stuff will seem pretty straightforward, but other tips here may be surprising to you.


Travel opens you up to all kinds of new experiences, so it’s only natural that travelers are more susceptible to falling head over heels in love with people they meet on the road. Sometimes it’s another traveler in the hostel common room, but when you’re traveling in Italy it’s almost impossible not to fall in love (or at least what feels like love right then) with an Italian.


Pay Attention to Style: Italians are stylish, so what you wear counts for quite a bit when you’re being assessed by an Italian girl. Italian guys are snappy dressers, always paying attention to the latest fashions and what’s trendy – so in order to compete with them, you’ve got to do the same. There is absolutely such a thing as “too casual” when it comes to attire in Italy.

Don’t Talk Politics: Just as is the case in any culture, there are certain subjects you don’t want to bring up in conversations until you know where the other person stands on the issue. In Italy, when you’re trying to impress an Italian girl, the main thing you want to steer clear of is politics.

Be Confident, but Don’t Forget Chivalry: As I noted recently, Italian women are confident creatures – but that doesn’t mean they like meek men. To impress an Italian girl, you’ve got to be sure of yourself, confident in your opinions, and not afraid to speak your mind.


Don’t Ever Criticize Mom: The idea of the “mama’s boy” may be more stereotypically familiar in Italy, but throughout the country the Italian mama is something of a holy figure. Easily one of the worst things you could do when trying to impress an Italian girl would be to criticize anyone’s mother – yours, hers, or anyone else’s.