Travel

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sicily In 2021

30/11/2020

Once all goes back to normal, there are many cities and countries that I would love to visit. Italy, of course, being one of them. I have travelled far and wide in the Italian peninsula and one of my favourite regions is Sicily. With a rich history, fantastic food and beautiful landscape, this beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, should definitely be on your bucket list. Today, I’m sharing 5 reasons why I think you should visit Sicily.

View of Palermo from the rooftop of the city's cathedral | Sicily, Italy

Panoramic view of Palermo, capital of Sicily

The food

We all know that Italian cuisine is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, however Sicilian cuisine is especially good. Rich and authentic, Sicilian cuisine is very diverse, as it has been influenced by the many cultures that inhabited this region in ancient times. The food of Sicily is a beautiful mix of pasta dishes such as: Pasta alla Norma, Pasta con le Sarde or Busiate alla Trapanese; seafood couscous inspired by North African flavours; Arancini (breaded and deep-fried risotto balls); and famous desserts like cassata, cannoli, Sicilian almond cookies or granita siciliana.

Cassata siciliana cake recipe

Cassata siciliana

Sicily also a fantastic destination for vegetarians (and pescatarian), as there are a ton of plant-based dishes made with aubergine or courgette. My favourite one is the Caponata, an aubergine and tomato stew with capers, olives, pine nuts and raisins. On my last trip to Western Sicily, I spent 9 days travelling around and only ate meat once (while on a street food tour in Palermo)!

Whatever you choose you eat, you’re definitely in for a treat!

Busiate alla Trapanese pasta in Trapani, Sicily

Busiate alla Trapanese

Coffee is a religion in Italy and even more so in Sicily. They all drink coffee first thing in the morning and even before they go to bed. In fact, everything revolves around the local café, it’s a little bit like a local pub here. However, be warned, locals love their coffee dark and strong. Visit the local coffee bar in the morning for breakfast of granita al caffè con panna with a Sicilian brioche!

The landscape

Because Sicily is an island, it is surrounded by gorgeous coastline and dreamy beaches…and by more islands! You have the volcanic Aeolian Islands are one of most popular holiday destinations for very good reasons; Pantelleria, the largest of Sicily’s satellite islands, sitting just 37 miles east of Tunisia; the wonderful island of Favignana in the Egadi archipelago; Lampedusa with its dramatic cliffs and caves.

Isola di Favignana, Sicily

Favignana island

Zingaro Nature Reserve, Sicily

Zingaro Nature Reserve

From smooth white beaches to dramatic pebble beaches, it’s definitely a country that pleases everybody. If you’re not a big fan of the sea, don’t worry, there are also plenty of beautiful castles and little villages to visit.

Sunset at the salt pans near Marsala in Sicily

Sunset at the salt pans near Marsala

In fact, Sicily is renowned for its incredible villages from Erice to Ortigia, there is always something to see. If you’re not sure where to start, you could choose to do a guided tour across Sicily, it’s a great way to get a good overview of the region.

Colourful streets of Favignana island in Sicily

Colourful street in Favignana island

The people

I may be biased here, but Italians are amongst the nicest people in the world! We are known to be helpful, courteous and friendly. And this is certainly true of Sicilians! By the way, did you know I’m half Sicilian? It does help when you try to speak a little bit of Italian, locals always appreciate the extra effort you put into trying to converse with them. This is true in any country of course. It’s easy to learn a few basic Italian words and sentences: grazie mille (thank you very much), prego (you’re welcome), buongiorno (good morning), buonasera (good evening), ciao (hello), arrivederci (goodbye), a presto (see you soon). Italians have a reputation for being a little bit louder than some Europeans (not always true) and for using their hands a lot while talking (definitely true!). And yes, Italians are great people that will make you feel welcome in their country.

Sfincione pizza at the food market in Palermo, Sicily

Street food vendor with “sfincione palermitano”

The wine

Sicilian wines are famous for their amazing grapes such as Nero d’Avola or Frappato, Malvasia or Zibibbo. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’re definitely in the right place. In fact, Sicily has been producing wines for thousands and thousands of years but has just started to make a name for itself. If you like to visit wineries, there are many over there across every part of the island. Sicilian food is also often paired with its wines, so if you go to a restaurant over there, make sure you try some.

People cheering with red wine glasses

Photo by Kelsey Knight

The art and history

Sicily is famed in the world for its beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine and fascinating history. Some of the world’s greatest civilizations settled and prospered in Sicily over the centuries, shaping the culture of the island and creating a unique environment that cannot be compared with anywhere else in Italy.

S. Maria dell’Ammiraglio Church | Byzantine mosaic decorations inside church in Palermo, Sicily

S. Maria dell’Ammiraglio Church in Palermo

Sicily bears a long history of invasions and domination: the Carthaginians and the Greeks; the Romans and then the Arabs. Sicily was often ruled by foreign kings (Normans, Spanish Aragons and Bourbons) before finally becoming part of Italy in 1861.

The Temple of Segesta, Sicily

Temple of Segesta, the last one among the monumental Doric buildings in Sicily

Whichever is your main reason for visiting Sicily – the food, the people, the history, the landscape, or all of them – I know for sure you will fall in love with it! This island has a way of conquering everyone’s hearts! My question is, which part of Sicily will you visit first?

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.

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