How do you choose between two of Italy’s largest and most scenic islands? They both have beaches, ancient ruins and scrumptious food which makes it almost impossible to make a decision. We have come up with 6 reasons why you should visit Sicily over Sardinia.
If you have a sweet tooth Sicily is the place for you. Drawing from Arab and Spanish traditions the pastries and cakes from Sicily are distinct from anywhere else in Italy. Rich ricotta is sweetened and scented with orange and stuffed into cannoli and deep fried sfinci. Fluorescent red candied cherries top cassata, with its layers of sponge cake, almond paste and sugary icing. Frutta di Martorana are painstakingly hand decorated to look like fruits and vegetables from sugar and almond dough.
Sicily has two active volcanos and a few more inactive ones too! In the winter you can ski on the slopes of Mount Etna or visit wineries and taste the incredible wines that the ashy terrain creates. Stromboli, one of the Aeolian islands, erupts almost continuously, and the best way to catch a natural fireworks show is with a sunset cruise. Take a odorous mud bath or swim in a sea warmed by fumaroles kind of mini volcanos under the water on the island of Vulcano. You can take an easy hike a few hundred feet up the slopes to the crater at the top of the inactive Fossa di Vulcano.
In the 1600s the southeastern corner of Sicily suffered a cataclysmic earthquake that left very little buildings standing. The survivors got right to work resurrecting their cities and created eight towns which are now UNESCO World Heritage sights and remarkable examples of the particular style of architecture known as Sicilian Baroque. Collectively called the Val de Noto the individual towns of Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli are each worth a visit.
What could be better than starting your day with a sweet fluffy roll stuffed with a scoop of cold and creamy gelato. Nothing. Not one thing. Ask for a brioche (brioscia in Sicilian dialect) con gelato. If you want to intensify your coffee intake order a coffee granita, a slushy treat made with sweetened strong coffee.
Did you know that some of the best preserved Greek temples and theaters outside of Greece are found in Sicily? Dating back to the 7th and 8th century BC there are more than a dozen of these archeological wonders scattered all over the island. The Temple of Athena in the town of Syracuse is the oldest Doric temple in the world and the theater in Taormina is still used today for film festivals and concerts. The temples in Agrigento are particularly lovely in the late winter and early spring when the almond trees are in blossom.
Sicily is an island with its own islands! If you want to really get away from it all sail to Allicudi or Fillicudi which are the most western and least visited islands of the Aeolian archipelago. The nightlife in Panarea is legendary. Fine dining and wines estates are what you will find on the elegant island of Salina. The three Egadi Islands off the western coast on Trapani are the perfect getaway to do little more than sunbathe and take sleepy strolls to gelato shops.