The Italian island of Sicily is considered one of the most important tourist attractions in the world. This is in large part due to its strategic geographic location which has made it the fulcrum of centuries of inter-cultural activity and a historical landmark that, throughout the ages, has been transformed by Greco-Roman, Arabic and Northern European influences into a melting pot rich in traditional heritage. If you are planning a week-long trip to see all the best that Sicily has to offer, there are specific itineraries- including guided tours- that focus on the most notable places to visit (based on their level of historical, cultural and traditional significance), and that will ensure a fulfilling experience even during your short stay.
During the trip, you may like to consider the opportunity of lodging at one of the many beautiful traditional Sicilian villas that dot the island and which still preserve the flavor of the ancient past and the mark of cross-cultural interaction expressed in their ancient architecture. Many of these (some of which have also been turned into resorts and B&Bs) are located in places along these itineraries that are in close vicinity to the splendid ruins, temples and amphitheaters which surpass even those of Greece itself. You also have the option of renting one of these villas through local websites such as Wishsicily and immerse yourself into the atmosphere of the ancient past, enjoying the traditional cuisine and the magnificent sights along your chosen itinerary.
The perfect itinerary should definitely include a visit to Mt. Etna, in Catania, with guided walking tours along the volcano. As a first step, booking a flight to the city of Catania – or traveling by train from Messina- is your best choice to start the trip. There you can spend the day visiting the Roman theatres and baroque buildings, the street markets and the stores which make the city unique, including the medieval Castello Ursino- and enjoy the traditional culinary delicacies like Granita, seafood pasta and specialty liquors. The second day can be spent visiting Mt. Etna, which is also an adventurous experience as the volcano can show signs of activity at certain periods of the year and safety measures must always be taken by following the advice of your tour guide.
The magnificently preserved Greco-Roman amphitheatre in near-by Taormina (also regarded as Sicily’s ‘city of love’) offers a spectacular experience, with a view of Etna and the surrounding countryside. For nature lovers, the Neapolis Park in Syracuse, south of Catania, is also a treasure-trove of archeological beauty and Greco-Roman ruins and theatres. The coast of Agrigento, long praised since antiquity as the most beautiful city in the Mediterranean, is another must-see. Lined with beautiful beaches and resorts, Agrigento also houses the famous Valley of the Temples, now a Unesco World Heritage site where you can find the most wonderfully preserved ruins, temples and theaters in the world, and which is also the perfect place to end your trip.