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Artemest is proud to present the seventh stop in its ultimate insider’s guide to Italy: Sicily. Beautiful and mysterious, this Italian region is the largest island in the Mediterranean, characterized by its distinctive personality forged over time and history. Discover the wonders of Sicily, from the looming Mount Etna to the sparkling blue waters, hilltop villages and art cities of the island.

Also known as the Island of the Sun, Sicily is one of the most shining gems of the Mediterranean Sea. Only 3 km of water separates the island from the Italian mainland, but its history has contributed to forge the unique culture of its inhabitants. Because of its strategic location, Sicily has a curious history and some of the western world’s greatest civilizations have left their mark in it: Greek temples, Arabic street plans, stunning Norman cathedrals and flamboyant Spanish baroque palaces create a unique mingling of cultures and make the island a place of rare beauty andmysterious charm.

Illustration by Francesca Consonni
Illustration by Francesca Consonni

What to See

Catania and Mount Etna - Nestled into the foothills of Mount Etna, Catania is one of the most important cities of Sicily, characterized by a unique charm and brimming with beautiful historical buildings, Baroque churches and a sparkling atmosphere. The historic center is dotted with unique baroque masterpieces, centered around the majestic Piazza del Duomo, a beautiful squared overlooked by the elaborate Cathedral of Sant’Agata.

Palermo - Palermo is the capital of Sicily, a buzzing Mediterranean center with a long and curious history. As in the rest of the region, many different cultures have influenced its past, creating an intriguing fusion of traditions, costumes and architectural styles. On your way to the city visit, experience the mesmerizing beauty of the historic buildings, such as the stunning Cappella Palatina at Palazzo dei Normanni.

Agrigento - Girgenti, the old city center of Agrigento is a fascinating stroll through 2500 years of history: a maze of narrow streets and monuments, courtyards and alleys designed in a typical Islamic layout. Some of the most interesting monuments are in the city center, such as the Lucchesiana Library, the Bishop’s Palace and the Church of Santa Maria del Greci, built on the foundations of a Greek temple.

Trapani - Trapani’s old town center, much of which has recently been restored, is well worth a visit and is an essential point of departure for the magnificent Egadi Islands, just a few miles off its coast.

Siracusa and Noto - Siracusa was the most important city of Magna Graecia, an ancient treasure filled with timeless charm. Today the antique ruins of that ancient splendor are still visited and celebrated into the archaeological park and museum of the city. The main attraction is, no doubt, the historical center of Siracusa: Ortigia. This curious island is a maze of narrow streets, Baroque architecture and centuries-old palazzi offering the perfect frame for the spectacular sunset view over the Mediterranean from the city’s western promenade. You can find the same Baroque charm in the beautiful city of Noto: elegant and characteristic, the historical center opens its doors at Porto Reale and stretches over Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a wide walkway flanked by iconic squares and Baroque churches.

Panoramic view of Ragusa
Panoramic view of Ragusa
Scala dei Turchi near Agrigento
Scala dei Turchi near Agrigento

Traditional Sicilian Craftsmanship

Ceramics from Caltagirone - The characteristic village of Caltagirone is nestled in the natural landscape of central Sicily. This is the cradle of the ancient tradition of ceramic working. Here dozens of master artisans pass down this artistic heritage, dating back to the old times. Still today this place is the center of an exuberant ceramic tradition, characterized by a bold design, strong color palettes inspired by the land that hosts the town. Wandering around the small hamlet stop at Ceramiche Verus and Nicola Tomaselli’s workshops to explore the world of traditional clay working or discover a more creative and modern approach at Crita Ceramiche and Alessandro Iudici’s shops. The distinctive Caltagirone style is also fully visible into Ninefifty and Studio Le Nid tiles.

Where to Stay

Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina - Carved into the Taormina hills, overlooking Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea, Grand Hotel Timeo is an authentic icon of Sicilian charm.

Tenuta Borgia, Pantelleria - Located in the Sicilian countryside, on the small volcanic island of Pantelleria, Tenuta Borgia is a stunning retreat designed to be in harmony with the surrounding nature.

Susafa, Polizzi Generosa - Immersed in a spectacular nature reserve in the heart of Sicily, surrounded by the peaks of the Madonie mountains, Susafa is a charming eco-retreat of outstanding beauty.

San Domenico Palace, Taormina - Perched on a rocky promontory high above the Ionian Sea, San Domenico Palace is the setting of The White Lotus, Emmy®-winning series.

Villa Sant'Andrea, Taomina Mare - Reflected in the glittering waters of the Ionian Sea, Villa Sant’Andrea is a timeless jewel set in the wild Sicilian nature.

Villa Igiea, Palermo - Nestled at the base of Mount Pellegrino in the vibrant city of Palermo, Villa Igiea is a coral-hued Art Nouveau palazzo with a unique aristocratic charm.

Seven Rooms Villadorata, Noto - In the Sicilian baroque gem of Noto, in the province of Syracuse, find a romantic hotel housed in the private apartments of the late Prince.

Zash Hotel, Riposto - In eastern Sicily, amidst citrus groves with a sublime view on Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea, lies Zash: a country hideaway, a former winery and a Mediterranean garden all rolled into one.

Iuta Glamping & Farm, Bochini - Unfolding through stories of love and devotion to nature, Iuta Glamping & Farm is your gateway to a land of tranquillity and wonder.

Dimora delle Balze, Noto - The perfect location for a magical getaway, immersed in the Mediterranean scent of Sicilian countryside, Dimora delle Balze is a nineteenth century estate in which time does not seem to have passed.

Principe di Salina, Malfa - On the stunning island of Salina in the Aeolian archipelago, Hotel Principe di Salina is a jewel of the Sicilian territory, and a luxurious retreat where to explore local culture and Southern Italy’s traditions.

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