For a deep discovery of our island, we recommend brief itineraries with plenty of history, natural beauty, food tastings, and entertainment. More details below.
TAORMINA (Castelmola and isola bella)
This charming, beautiful, and internationally renowned place, has allured worldwide visitors of all
ages. Greta Garbo, Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Romy Schneider, Ungaretti, and many others used to spend here their winters. Founded seven centuries b.c. by the Hellenics, and defined by Goethe as “edge of paradise on earth”, Taormina still preserves undamaged its Greek Theatre, which enchants visitors every day with its gorgeous views of the calm sea and powerful Mount Etna. It is recommended: a visit to the Greek Theatre, a walk through the elegant Corso Umberto and its adjacent alleys (shopping), a tour to public gardens, Palazzo Corvaja (an elegant Manor house used as a museum of arts and traditions), Palace of Santo Stefano (Sicilian Gothic masterpiece, now home of the Taormina Town Hall). Above Taormina, five minutes by car, is Castelmola, an old village classified among the most beautiful in Italy. Using the cable car, or by automobile, you can head down towards Isola Bella, a fascinating islet with a breathtaking views of the coast. You easily get there by car via the A18 freeway from Acireale (about 45 minutes from Villa Agnese).
Declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the highest volcano in Europe (3.323 meters) and its continuous activity has been documented for 2,700 years. Surrounded by an incredible floral biodiversity, it holds the deepest and furthest South cave in Europe perennial glacier. With a tourist guide you can reach three summit craters where you can enjoy breathtaking views. At lower altitudes, even independently, excursions to minor craters and to many caves are allowed.
From Villa Agnese, you can reach Rifugio Sapienza (the final outpost at the foot of the volcano) in about 45 minutes by car. From there, you can continue climbing up to 2,500 meters using the cable car, and up to the Torre del Filosofo (3,000 meters) by off-road vehicles. From this last stage, there are organized walking excursions to the central crater.
It is advised a visit to many of the “Paesi Etnei” (villages and small cities around the base of the volcano) and to the millennial “Castagno dei Cento Cavalli”, the most ancient tree (chestnut) in Europe with a diameter of 22 meters.
City founded by the Greeks, with a millennial history and a huge historical, archaelogical, and cultural heritage. Of historical interest: the ancient Greek Theatre, the Roman Thermal Baths, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Benedectine Monastery (among the largest in Europe), the Ursino Castle (Medieval manor built by Federico II of Svevia). Walking around the centre: the Cathedral and its square, the Collegiata Church, the University Palace, the baroque churches, the Massimo Bellini Theatre and its square, the Biscari Palace, the picturesque via Crociferi and Villa Cerami, and (during the morning) the colorful fish market and street fair, which reminds of the arab “Souks”. From Villa Agnese, it can be reached by car in 15 minutes.
Suggestive natural canyon formed by lava rocks, crossed by the Alcantara river, highly
recommended to nature lovers. Possibility of bodyrafting, hydrospeed (floating bob), trekking, and climbing (assisted by a guide). You get there by car in 45 minutes through the Catania-Messina A18 freeway.
Elegant small town, with a suggestive historical centre, full of baroque palaces and churches. Suggested an evening walk to the city centre and a tasting of the tipical almond “granita” and pastries. It can be reached by car in 5 minutes.
Try “Pasta alla Norma” (tomato sauce, eggplants, basil, and salty ricotta), “Pasta al Nero di Seppia” (Squid ink), pasta with seafood or swordfish, the sardines “a Beccafico”, the Caponata, the Parmigiana, and more.
cannot miss the sicilian granita in its different flavors and the brioche. Definitively, worth tasting the breakfast goodies, tipical baked sweets of Catania: Iris, Panzerotto, Raviola di Ricotta, Bomba, Cornetto (croissants). Regarding salted traditional local “Tavola Calda” (fast- foods), it is indispensable to enjoy the Arancino (stuffed deep fried rice ball), in its classical version with ragù (beef sauce), or in its alternative versions with pistacchio, butter, eggplants, mushrooms, etc.. Other “Tavola Calda” items include Cartocciata, Cipollina, Bomba, Bolognese, and more.
you cannot leave Sicily without havin tasted the Cannoli di Ricotta, but also the Sicilian Cassata, pastries with almonds or pistacchios, Setteveli cake, pistacchio cake, cake with citrus fruits, the jellies…
At the kiosk
only in the province of Catania, and only in the typical street kiosks, can be tasted exclusive and refreshing artisanal drinks. To try: soda lemon and salt, the lemon mandarin, the almond milk, the tamarind ecc. During the winter it is traditionally consumed the juice with sicilian oranges.