What to See & Do in Sicily?

by Christopher Atwood


Sicily is a symphony of sights, textures, sounds and tastes. As the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts a dramatic mix of mare (sea) and monti (mountains) -- including an active volcano and some of Italy's most turquoise coves. But, when you travel to Italy, what are the best things to do and see in Sicily?

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Read below to uncover our most soul-touching things to do in Sicily. How would you spend your vacation in Sicily?

PALERMO – MILLENNIA OF MARVELS

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Relish an insider tour of Palermo with your local Sicilian guide. You’ll be enchanted by Palermo’s wide boulevards, traditional Old Town, and ornate palazzi.  Admire the city’s scenic secret sights, including an elegant piazza framed by Baroque sculptures. During your stroll through Palermo’s many marvels, you’ll explore the city’s 12th-century Duomo – boasting a stunning blend of Arabic, Byzantine and Baroque architecture.  You will also savor real Sicilian street food at one of Palermo’s picturesque open-air markets – immersed in the bounty and beauty of this enchanting island.  Alternately, you can go behind-the-scenes at a traditional artisan workshop.

PALERMO – STREET FOOD & MARKET STROLL

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Palermo is one of Italy’s premier “street food capitals”—vaunting treats savory and sweet.  In lively open-air food markets, like the Capo Market, you’ll relish a true taste of Sicily.  As you stroll past vendors selling sun-ripened tomatoes and fresh-caught seafood, you’ll hear about the centuries of traditions distilled in Sicilian cuisine.  Your tastings might include appetizing arancini (fried rice balls), fluffy Sicilian sfincione (focaccia), or fresh-shucked sea urchins. You’ll relish what is seasonal and freshest that day—all in the company of locals.  

FROM TRAPANI TO FAVIGNANA – PRIVATE BOAT TOUR

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Discover Sicily’s secret shores during your private boat tour around Favignana and Levanzo – two  islands in the sapphire seas off Trapani. Your boat captain will transport you in style from Sicily’s main island to these salt-kissed jewels. During your seafaring journey, you’ll bask in quiet coves reachable only by boat – with naught a tourist in sight!  On Favignana island, you’ll drop anchor off the postcard perfect Cala Rossa beach before enjoying a lunch in the island’s historic center – framed by brightly-colored fishing boats. Full-day tour.

 RAGUSA & MODICA: CHEESE + CHOCOLATE TOUR

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Savor the essence of two of southwest Sicily’s most scenic cities: Ragusa and Modica. In the morning, you’ll enjoy a private walking tour of Ragusa’s old town—perched high on a hill above two valleys. Your driver will then bring you to a nearby dairy farm for a traditional Sicilian lunch, including hand-crafted cheeses like provola and ricotta.  As a sweet finish to your day, we’ll head to the Baroque town of Modica for a hands-on chocolate-making experience – a 4oo-year-old tradition here. Our master "chocolatier" will share her nonna’s secret techniques in her home in Modica's historic center. Full-day or half-day tour options available.

“FAMIATA” DINNER WITH A LOCAL FAMILY

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In the golden hills outside of Agrigento lies a place where you’ll feel immediately at home—the village of Aragona. We’ll head here for a delicious day filled with food and famiglia – learning how locals  use a wood-fire oven (called famiata in Sicilian) to craft epic antipasti, breads, and grilled meats.  A real Sicilian family will welcome you into their home—sharing the carefree joy and boundless hospitality of the Sicilian people. You’ll sip, you’ll savor, and you’ll sing together—drinking in a true taste of Sicilian living.  

AGRIGENTO – ANCIENT TEMPLES + COASTAL DRIVE

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Your day begins with a scenic drive along Sicily’s sweeping southern coast.  First, we’ll stop at La Scala dei Turchi – a series of sun-bleached cliffs --carved by the wind-- above Sicily’s sapphire-blue seas.  Next, we’ll swift you away to Agrigento to explore the area’s spectacular Ancient Greek ruins. Along with your expert guide, you’ll uncover 2,500 years of history in the Valley of the Temples – perusing seven Doric temples constructed in the 5th-centuty BC. Your visit will close with a prosecco toast overlooking the splendor of the temples.

SANT’ANGELO MUXARO – A TASTE OF VILLAGE LIFE  

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Sicily’s inlands boast villages built high on hills. Sant’Angelo Muxaro is one such town. Here, you won’t see hordes of tourists or famous frescoes. Instead, you’ll spot locals – arm-in-arm – out for a passeggiata (stroll) on stone streets.  Sant’Angelo Muxaro embodies the soul of Sicily—brimming with real people proud of their traditions. With a local guide, you’ll go-behind-the-scenes at a family-run bakery—observing how specialties, like pani cunzato and almond cookies, are crafted.  Next, you’ll enjoy a tasting of pistachio-studded pecorino in the company of fourth-generation sheep herders.  Along the way, you’ll feel the warmth of the Sicilian people.

SIRACUSA + ORTYGIA – A WALK THROUGH HISTORY

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Siracusa – called Syracuse in English – is marvel of Mediterranean civilization. Founded in 734BC, this city once rivaled Athens as a center of learning and power. Later, Siracusa thrived as a hub of Roman, Byzantine and Jewish culture. In the company of your local guide, you’ll discover Syracuse’s storied past – including walking the city’s old town, which is found on Ortygia Island. Ortygia’s tight-knit lanes are ideal for strolling—as you traipse past medieval alleyways and Baroque palazzi. In Syracuse, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian mingle into timeless beauty.

                                                ETNA – BETWEEN VOLCANO & VINEYARDS

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Sicily is home to the tallest active volcano in Europe—Mt. Etna. Etna is so tall a dusting of snow often crowns its peak. With your local driver and guide, you’ll visit the volcano’s rocky summit. You’ll wander here the red-black Silvestri Craters—formed during an 1892 eruption.  As you gaze out across Sicily’s verdant valleys and glittering sea, your guide will explain how Etna has nurtured (and devastated) this area since time immemorial.  After your light hike, you’ll next venture to a family-run vineyard on Etna’s mineral-rich slopes. Accompanied by the winery owner, you’ll enjoy an exclusive tour the grape vines and private cellars. You’ll also relish a homemade lunch paired with sublime Sicilian wines. 

MARZAMEMI – TRADITIONAL FISHING VILLAGE

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Marzamemi is one of Sicily’s most stunning seaside villages – vaunting sandy-hued homes, bright blue doors and an idyllic turquoise bay.  On the south side of the city, you’ll find the postcard-perfect fishing harbor – filled with a fleet of brightly-colored wooden boats.  Your guide will lead you through Marzamemi’s maze of fishermen’s houses and centuries-old palazzi.  While in Marzamemi, you’ll lunch at a scenic waterfront trattoria ­– enjoying the prized local tonno (tuna) and other Sicilian specialties fresh from the sea.

CALTAGIRONE – CERAMIC ARTISANS

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Caltagirone means one thing—ceramic tiles. This Baroque city is literally covered in glazed tiles – featuring swirling colors, crafted by hand.  With your local guide, you’ll descend the picturesque Scalinata di Santa Maria – a stone staircase, adorned in ceramic tiles, that links together Caltagirone’s old and new town. During your private guided visit, you’ll also go behind-the-scenes at a family-run ceramic workshop. You’ll enjoy a private meeting with these master artisans — observing how they morph modest clay into Sicily’s most elegant earthenware.

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