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Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town

March 06, 2023
2023-03-06
Sicily is the quintessential Italian island. The largest of its kind in the Mediterranean, it's one of the most popular destinations in the country. Perhaps in the entire region too. And what's so great about the island is its treasure trove of different towns, each more unique and fascinating than the next. There's the famous Palermo and Syracuse, for instance, known for their extraordinary beauty. Meanwhile, Ragusa and Messina might not be so popular but there's a lot to explore in these places too. You'd do well to learn more about the different towns in Sicily so that you'd know where to go when you get here.

Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town


Palermo

Let's start this list with the capital city of Sicily, Palermo. Known for its grand architecture, the town is a feast for the eyes. Who wouldn't get enamored with the grandeur of Palazzo dei Normanni? Or get lost in the romance inside Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonio Salinas? Practically every corner is worthy of a post in a travel inspo Instagram account. You yourself will get inspired to go here again after just one trip!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Cefalù

Perhaps the second-most famous town in Sicily is Cefalù, located on the northern coast of the island. A favorite for vacationing families and honeymooning couples, it's a beloved seaside summer destination. Even when it's autumn, Cefalù remains as sunny and warm as ever. In fact, you'd do well to go here during those months, October to November, as there are hardly any tourists at that time. And while you're at it, don't miss the chance to see the famous Christ Pantocrator fresco in the Cefalù Cathedral.
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Syracuse

There are some parts of Syracuse that'll make you feel as if you wandered into Greece without you knowing. Especially if you venture off into the older parts of the city on Ortigia Island. Part of what makes Syracuse among the most beloved towns in Sicily is the lasting influence of Greek culture. Of course, there are ancient ruins and other archeological sites, but even the way locals live here still feels a bit Grecian. You simply have to see it for yourself to better understand it.
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Agrigento

Speaking of ancient Greek ruins, the best ones on the island are definitely at Agrigento. Located on the southwestern coast of Sicily, this town is an archeologist's dream. Home to the Valley of the Temples, you'll find all sorts of fairly well-preserved Greek temples here. There are so many, you'd sooner think you were in Athens, not Sicily. And truth be told, some of the ruins look so majestic and complete that they can almost rival the iconic Acropolis in the Greek capital!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Taormina

Perched atop a rocky hill on the east coast of Sicily, Taormina is a scenic town worth escaping to. Don't worry! Though the path here can get rather steep, it's still reachable via public transport. And once you get here, you can't help but get lost in all the Mediterranean magic. History buffs will go gaga over ruins like Teatro Antico di Taormina, an amphitheater built in the third century BC. While the coastal views are enough to have you take as many pictures and selfies as you can.
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Forza d’Agro

Just 20 minutes away from Taormina is Forza d’Agro, one of the most scenic towns in Italy. Technically, the place is more of a commune located in the bigger metropolitan city of Messina. However, this area just has such a unique and distinct identity that locals and tourists alike have separated altogether. You won't find Forza d'Agro's ruins of a Norman castle in the other parts of Messina. And if you think the place looks familiar even when you haven't been here before, it's probably because Francis Ford Coppola shot some scenes of his iconic film, “The Godfather” (1972) here.
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Messina

Speaking of Messina, here's another town in Sicily you simply have to visit too! As mentioned previously, the city is big enough to have a metropolitan feel. Not only is it the third largest city on the island, but it's even the 13th biggest town in all of Italy. As such, Messina has a lot of hustle and bustle, practically a world away from the quieter and more rural towns in Sicily. And that's not necessarily a bad thing! It's here where you get to see what city life on the island is like. Not to mention enjoy its lively nightlife scene after the sun goes down!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Savoca

In the larger Messina province, there's also Savoca! Just like Forza d'Agro, many scenes of “The Godfather” were shot here. You can even still visit the places that showed up in the film. There's Bar Vitelli, for example, which is where Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) asked for Apollonia's (played by Simonetta Stefanelli) father for her hand in marriage. And the happy couple then said their vows in the beautiful Chiesa di San Nicolò. Any fan of the film or self-professed cinephile has to check these places out when on the island!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Ingo Kuebler


Catania

When you go to Catania now, you almost couldn't believe that this town in Sicily ceased to exist. Since it's so near Mount Etna, a volcanic eruption in 1699 practically obliterated various parts of the city. Fortunately, the town got rebuilt over time, eventually becoming the tourist haven that it is now. There are so many things to see around here, such as the quirky Fontana dell'Elefante on Piazza del Duomo as well as the grand Catania Cathedral. With its elaborate facade and glistening interior, the latter can easily rival those beautiful churches in Lecce!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Ragusa

Do you know what's so fascinating about Ragusa? This Sicilian town on the southeast corner of the island is clearly divided into two. There's “Ragusa Superiore,” which is the more modern part of the city, and “Ragusa Ibla,” its old district. The differences between the two are so stark that you almost can't believe that they make up one town. Still, both are pretty spectacular in their own right. And when you go from one side to another, you'll have to walk along Corso Italia, Ragusa's main thoroughfare. It's a lively hotspot where most of the action happens!
Ultimate Sicily Guide by Town
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Learn all about some of the many towns in Sicily. The island is a treasure trove of great cities and villages, each with its unique qualities that make this island the amazing destination that it is today.



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