Discovering the most hidden and intimate part of Sicily, a journey between known sites and secret places
Sicily is an island that has undergone profound change in recent decades, despite its infinite capacity to remain static. Its territory has been exploited to the full in some parts resulting in areas of extreme urbanisation where little of the original character or beauty of the place remains. In spite of this, Sicily remains a place which exerts a magnetic attraction on its inhabitants and on the numerous foreigners who have decided to make their home on the island. Likely because the varied nature on the island is almost unique of its kind and the fact that the island contains everything a traveller could possibly desire for an entire lifetime of travel. In Sicily it is possible to find traces of cultures that are thousands of years old, the result of century upon century of domination by foreign powers, at times enlightening and at times upsetting, which have left their mark on the culture and traditions of the island's inhabitants, on their physical features, their religious festivals, rites and beliefs which makes it such a fascinating experience to get to know the Sicilian people up close, particularly those who continue to live in the countryside where these characteristics have been preserved to a greater extent over time. However, if you know how and where to look, you can also find traces in the island's architecture which, fortunately, has been relatively well preserved, often in a casual but occasionally in a more formal or serious way. From Greek temples to Roman villas, cave paintings to Phoenician towers, Baroque palaces to Art-Deco villas, Roman mosaics to those of the Byzantine period, not to mention churches, cathedrals, mosques, castles and fortified farmhouses. You will need to cover hundreds of kilometres to find them but, as you do, you will have an opportunity also to discover the natural beauty of the island, at times upset by human intervention, but at others assisted by the penetrating morning light or by a beautiful sunset. You will be delighted by the vision in front of you: the blue and gold of sand dunes and the Mediterranean sea, the black and white of snow against the volcanic rock of Etna, the green and gold of wheat fields and vines, the green of the ancient olive trees and of thorny cactus plants, the brown and dark red of the earth and parched fields. In Sicily, the traveller needs to be careful and aware, capable of capturing the best of everything and of enjoying it with all the senses: vision and smell but also taste thanks to the wonderful Sicilian cuisine which, it has been said, is unrivalled in the world, equal to the cuisine of an entire nation, and more, absorbing the numerous gastronomic secrets of the various peoples that have conquered it, leaving some intact and modifying others over centuries, in many cases, we would say, for the better. But be careful to select with caution who has today inherited this wonderful craftsmanship and, in order to assist you in this task, we recommend that you arm yourselves with various guide books and guides to food and wine well in advance of the start of your journey. To learn more you may also consult the areas of our website dedicated to providing you with additional information on beaches and coasts, towns and tourist destinations, Sicily's islands, food and wine, history and culture and areas where nature is protected.