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Sicily, otherwise known as the “stone next to the boot,” possesses an immense Greek and Roman heritage. With what feels like eternal sunshine and stunning seaside views, Sicily is a major travel hotspot year round. Exhibiting the region’s rich cultural history, these are the must-visit museums in Sicily.
One of Palermo’s more macabre historical sites, the Capuchin Catacombs originally served as the resting place for Capuchin monks, and later for wealthy citizens. The temperature and humidity of the region helped perserve the bodies after they were treated for burial, so visitors can catch a relatively clear glimpse of their remains. The last bodies buried in the catacombs are from 1920s; most famously Rosalia Lombardo, who was two years old when she died and whose body stayed remarkably intact due to a special embalming procedure.
The International Documentary Center of Mafia and the No Mafia Moviment (CIDMA) opened in 2000 in the village of Corleone. This notorious village has been trying to get rid of its ill-fated reputation for local mob activity. The museum is dedicated to all those who were assassinated by the mafia. The rooms of the museum explain how the mafia worked, complete with some rather brave on-site photographs.
Housed in a Gothic Catalan building, the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia displays some of Sicily’s greatest treasures. Amongst the most famous works in the collection are Triumph of Death, painted by an unknown artist, Messina’s world-famous Virgin Annunciate, alongside sculptures and rich, lacquered works of furniture.
Via Alloro 4 Palermo, Sicily, Italy + 39 091 6230011
Agrigento is known for its rich Greek and Roman heritage, so visitors can’t miss the Archaeological Museum or the Valley of Temples. The temples are dedicated to the gods, from Zeus to Aesculap and Demeter, and you can walk on an agora under the hot Sicilian sun. The most impressive remains are the gargantuan telamoni, or giants, as tall as columns that held up the temples. It has been an UNESCO World heritage site since 1998, and has inspired poets and authors like Goethe, Ariosto, Dumas since the Middle Ages.
Contrada San Nicola, 12, Agrigento, Sicily,Italy +39 360 397 930
Exhibiting a range of priceless historical and modern works of art, Palazzo Bellomo invites you to admire the likes of Messina and Caravaggio. Although Messina’s Annunciation has suffered damages, the details are still exquisite, as is The Burial of St. Lucy, painted by Caravaggio. Medieval and Renaissance sculptures are also in the collection.
Via Capodieci 14–16, Ortigia, Siracusa, Italy +39-0931-69-511