Serenit y of Sicily On a typical sunny afternoon, tourists and locals enjoy the beautiful streets that wind through each province of Sicily. This unique island lies just off the toe of the Italian peninsula and is rich with culture and adventures for visitors who have a weekend to spare. From volcanoes to castles and from cathedrals to ethnic cuisine, this island is full of delights that avid travelers must experience. After a busy week visiting Florence, Rome and Naples, travelers can look forward to a relaxing weekend on the island of Sicily. The port at the straight of Messina is a short trip south from the most popular destinations in Italy. Many ships leave this port daily in route to the island. As you arrive, you will find several cozy hotels on the coast in the province of Messina. The next morning you are can enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the beach and board a bus to begin your tour for the day. Fred Rodio is a traveler who chose this route in exploring Sicily. He commented, “I wasn’t sure what to expect in Sicily, but from the first morning there I knew that I would not be disappointed.”
Sicilian Smiles and Cuisine As you begin your day on this enchanting island you will notice the friendly and inviting atmosphere. It is easy to interact with native Sicilians as you pass through the different
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cities in Sicily. Although not everyone speaks Italian, smiles and handshakes exchanged are worth a whole conversation. These natives are eager to share their food and talents through their personalized dining nooks and shops along the way. Fred shared how his group had time in the morning to browse small shops along the streets and eat lunch at a family owned restaurant on their way to Taormina. This restaurant served a tasty rendition of eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms, beef, and peppers. Sicilian food is rich in flavor and tradition. Fred said, “I really enjoyed the restaurant we ate at for lunch. The flavors were really distinct and the yummy meal made me ask for more.” There is no better way to end a meal than with one of Sicily’s famous cannoli desserts.
Ancient Theatre of Taormina A popular tourist route is through the beautiful city of Taormina, which lies partway between the cities of Messina and Catania. There you can visit the ancient Greek theatre of Taormina and meander through the little shops lining the streets of the city. The history of the Greek influence on this island is evident as you explore this historical city. As you sit in ruins of the theatre, you are
taken aback by the breathtaking view beyond the Greek pillars of the theatre. You can see the bright blue and turquoise waters wrapping along the green covered coast that is lined with the outskirts of the city. From this experience Fred’s daughter Reana expressed, “I loved seeing the beautiful water that hugged the coast of the island. It made the island feel special and different from what we had seen in Italy.”
Catania’s Neighboring Volcano Catania, another enchanting Sicilian city, is the gateway to Mt. Etna. Mt. Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe and it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Many travelers take buses up to this volcano and they are able to wander around the volcanic paths and rocks. Because of the height of this volcano, Mt. Etna is often covered in snow. The heat from the volcanic activity causes steam to rise across the snow-capped peaks, a favorite shot for amateur photographers. You can visit little shops that sell souvenirs that are made out of rocks from the volcano. There are few locations in the world that offer jewelry and trinkets made out of volcanic material right from the site. Sicily is an island that offers a sense of serenity and wonder for travelers who have a love for natural beauty and rich cultural experiences. Each of the nine provinces is composed of interesting facets that make the island unique and wonderful. A weekend on the island of Sicily leaves a lasting impression on all travelers who have the opportunity to experience its matchless beauty. You may find that just one weekend will leave you eager to plan your next visit! ▶▶
—Sky Nuttall www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 3