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The Islands

Sicily/ Aeolian Islands/ Sardinia/ Erba/ Pontine Islands

Italy is a country in the Mediterranean area surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Adriatic Seas. There are over 450 islands, large and small, including sea, lake and river islands.

The biggest island is Sicily and Sardinia.


Each  island is known for its diversity , each has its own charm and its traditions. Whether you are in search of Italy’s rich past, distinguished culture, pure-white secluded beaches or glamorous resorts, there’s absolutely something for everyone on the dazzling Italian shores. Besides islands in the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian, you’ll also find fascinating islands dotted around lakes and lagoons, and even an island right in the heart of Rome.

There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sicily and Sardinia, namely:


  • Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale

  • Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)

  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto

  • Mount Etna

  • Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica

  • Villa Romana del Casale



  • Su Nuraxi di Barumini

 By milito10 - Pixabay 


Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and arguably one of the most beautiful islands in Europe. The sun-kissed coastline is dotted with powdery sand and pebble coves beaches, volcanic rock formations, towering cliffs and touched by three seas, while the inland is laden with lush valleys, gardens, idyllic ancient mountain villages with their preserve age-old traditions, vast steep sloped of orange groves, and the mighty Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, still casting black ash over the island!

Besides beautiful nature, Sicily also has a rich and unique cultural since it has been dominated by Arabs, Romans,Greeks , Byzantine and the Norman. This  led to many architectures, arts and  cuisines. Its delightful cuisine captivates the world with its distinguished aromas and flavors, with some of the best food you’ll ever taste.

Sicily’s most appealing destinations include the vibrant, Arabian-Norman city of Palermo; elegant Catania; the historic city of Syracuse, Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples; the delightful Taormina and Cefalú.  The pebbly-sandy beaches below Taomina at Giardini Naxos, Mazzarò and Letojanni are particularly popular and enchantingly beautiful.

The island’s main attraction, The Etna volcano  it should definitely be included in your tour in Sicily.


Boasting fantastic   Byzantine mosaics, amazing baroque churches and Gothic palaces, Palermo, the capital of Sicily, is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 for its Arab-Norman Palermo monuments. It is an ideal place to start your exploration in Sicily.


Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194).  Seven out of nine are located in Palermo. These monuments comprise of two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale.  These monuments are a myriad of different architectural styles between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures. The structures  and decoration are truly amazing! Each illustrates important aspects of the multicultural Western-Islamic-Byzantine syncretism that characterized the Norman kingdom of Sicily during the 12th century.

These monuments include:

  • The Norman Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni) and The Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace (Cappella Palatina)

  • Church of St. John of the Hermits (San Giovanni degli Eremiti)

  • Church of St. Mary of the Admiral (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), also known as Martorana

  • Church of Saint Cataldo

  • Cathedral of Palermo

  • The Zisa Palace (La Zisa)

  • Admiral’s Bridge (Ponte dell'Ammiraglio)

  • Monreale Cathedral

  • Cefalù Cathedral

Besides the UNESCO Sites, there are some interesting attractions not to be miss. The Fontana Pretoria, a fountain with forty-eight statues, twelve Olympians from ancient Greek Mythology including Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo and Ares.  Nearby, is the Quattro Canti  meaning ‘Four Corners’ , an open square  with  marble columns and statues of  important Italian citizens and rulers from Palermo. Next, the impressive and elegant Teatro Massimo, one of the most representative jewels of the city, and third in Europe, after the Paris Opera and the Staatsoper in Vienna. A visit to the Ballaro Market, main food market, is a great occasion to soak in local life! Here, you’ll find delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, pastries and of course fish, all at great price!

Agrigento and The Valley of the Temples 

The Valley of the Temples, next to the city of Agrigento, is Sicily best-known archaeological site. 8 temples are visible in the valley but the 2 best preserved are undoubtedly the temple of Concorde and the temple of Hera.  It was included in 1997 in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

 By DonnaSenzaFiato -Pixabay 


Catania, the 2nd largest city in Sicily after Palermo, is located at the foot of the Etna. A triumph of Baroque style, this city boasts  It is part of  UNESCO World Heritage List under Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.

Take a walk around the Piazza del Duomo to see the Palazzo Biscari, most important palace in the city. It represents, the most beautiful example of Catanese baroque architecture. The Elephant’s Fountain (fontana dell’ elefante). This fountain depicts an elephant carved in black lava, topped by an Egyptian obelisk. Behind the fountain, there is the Catania Cathedral, in white marble with beautiful exterior facade, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Agatha.

Visit the gardens of Villa Bellini, located in Via Etnea, the main street of Catania or do some shopping and enjoy a cup of espresso ! On a clear day, Mt. Etna will draw your gaze from the distance!

Next important street is Via Crociferi, known as “the Church Street”, dotted with many churches. The most outstanding building is former Benedictine Monastery, which now houses the 2nd largest university in Europe.