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Sicily

Culture of Sicily. Places to visit - old town, temples, theaters, museums and palaces

SICILIA 2009 The trip around cities of Sicily will be an unforgettable experience, because each of them has its amazing sights. The most important historical monument in Palermo is the Palace of the Normans located on the picturesque square of Independence. A beautiful architectural monument has long remained the seat of kings; now it is open to the public. Vacationers are certainly advised to stroll through the beautifully decorated corridors of the palace and look at the Roger Hall. Several centuries ago, it has been a king’s bedroom with unforgettable panoramic view of the Gulf of Palermo.
The island of Sicily is practically the only place in Italy that has managed to preserve and save the imprints of many ages and epochs. Many years ago Sicily attracted a large number of … Open
Among religious objects, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is worth mentioning. It is the burial place of the kings of Sicily. In addition to the sarcophagus, former rulers kept a priceless collection of jewelry in the cathedral; now it can be evaluated by all comers. According to one of the versions, the cathedral was built on the site of prehistoric places of worship, which makes it even more unusual. No less interesting attraction is the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento - the center of the old town of the same name.
A walk through the valley will appeal to those who are interested in the history of ancient Rome and Greece. Other local attractions include ruins of temples of Jupiter, Juno, Concordia, Demeter, Vulcan and other ancient gods; the age of old buildings is more than two and a half thousand years. Today, archeologists continue to work within the historic district of the city; you could see their valuable findings in the local Archaeological Museum. The museum has a large collection of pottery, old coins and articles of precious metals. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
The main feature of Sicilian cuisine is its versatility. Culinary connoisseurs can easily recognize typical Greek, Spanish and Arabic features; their harmonious combination determines the … Open
The most striking monument of the Middle Ages is the Dome Cathedral, which attracts travelers with a unique harmonious atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Cathedral has preserved perfectly to this day. The main decorations of the interior are beautiful vaulted ceilings. Obligatory part of excursions is the tomb of Archimedes located in Syracuse. The exact date of the construction of large-scale tombs is unknown. According to one version, its age is more than two thousand years. The visit to Teatro Massimo located in Palermo would be an amazing experience. It is situated is the most beautiful building of the late 19th century, which is also of great architectural value.
Teatro Massimo - Palermo Italy There are other interesting places of interest in the capital of Sicily. For example, there is the square Quattro Canti (another name for the Piazza Vigiliena, built at the crossing of the principal streets, Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele). This baroque square was founded at the beginning of the 17th century by decree of the Deputy of Aragon. It was named so, in honor of the fact that fountains with statues of the four seasons are allegorically depicted on four sides of the building. On the niches you can see images of the Aragonese kings. On the upper tiers, you will find images of the holy martyrs, patrons of Palermo. Nearby is situated an equally beautiful square Piazza Pretoria, adorned with the late Renaissance style fountain, Fontana della Vergogna (often called Fontana Pretoria, after the square). The things to see in the square form a harmonious ensemble, being magnificent works of baroque style.
Cultural traditions of Sicily represent a unique phenomenon, which has found expression in the most interesting folk festivals and customs. During the year, the island celebrates a variety … Open
Palazzo Pretorio is also situated here. The building today is occupied by the city hall. Unlike other buildings in the square, it is an excellent example of neo-renaissance, but at the same time, it blends harmoniously into the architectural ensemble. Among the religious landmarks of Palermo, the church Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio stands out. It was built in the Arab-Norman style, but not without a touch of Baroque. The time of construction of the first tourist attraction dates back to the year 1143. During this time, it was expanded more than once, but the original Arab-Norman architectural style was always maintained. Another attraction we must not forget to mention is the Santuario Santa Rosalia. This church is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Rosalia (by the way, her relics are kept here). Bright festivals are held on July 15th in her honor.
Fontana Pretoria You should not overlook the Palazzina Cinese (or Real Casina alla Cinese, as it is called), where the residence of the Neapolitan Bourbons was once located. The palace owes its name to the architectural style Chinoiserie, which was greatly admired by the architect Giuseppe Marvuglia who designed the building. One of the rooms of the palace is occupied by the Museo Etnografico Siciliano Giuseppe Pitrè. Among the exhibits of the museum are official records, photographs, and manuscripts, which tell about the history and culture of Sicily. Another bright attraction of the capital of Sicily is the Palazzo Conte Federico, built in the 17th century. The building attracts people not only with its magnificent appearance and luxurious interior but also with a chic courtyard designed by Giuseppe Marvuglia.
Beautiful beaches, fabulous nature reserves, modern entertainment centers, and numerous shopping centers don’t cease to attract many travelers to Sicily. Beaches of Catania are … Open
The arch of Porta Nuova, which for centuries has been the main entrance to the city, also deserves a tour. You should definitely try the tour with a visit to the underground labyrinths (the most famous catacombs are the Catacombe dei Cappuccini). While in Palermo, you should certainly follow the repertoire of theaters, particularly the places where performances with traditional Sicilian dolls are staged. Such theaters can be found in almost all large cities, including Palermo (Teatro dell'Opera dei Pupi, as well as Teatro dei Pupi Siciliani - Famiglia Argento and Teatro Pupi Enzo Mancuso). Also here is situated the beautiful Teatro Politeama Garibaldi, one of the best places for those who wish to spend their leisure time culturally. You can get to know the character of the locals in one more theater – namely, in Teatro Ditirammu.
acireale Syracuse also boasts of housing a beautiful theater with Sicilian dolls. This is a place with the simple name Teatro dei Pupi. The city also houses the magnificent antique amphitheater Anfiteatro Romano. Previously (precisely in the I-III centuries of our era), one could look at the battles of gladiators here, and today, you can witness outdoor film broadcasts. The amphitheater was discovered in 1839 by the Duke of Serradifalco. The charming farm Azienda Agricola Pupillo is also located in Syracuse. Thanks to a visit to the farm, you get an opportunity to learn more about winemaking in the region, as well as about the traditional way of life of the locals. Among other iconic places of Syracuse are the extraordinarily beautiful fountains of the city, Fonte Aretusa and Fontana di Diana.
1. Going on a trip don’t forget to bring an Italian phrasebook with you, as not all of locals speak foreign languages. It's worth noting that much of the indigenous population speaks … Open
Catania can offer its guests a magnificent theater program, but the most vivid impression for many tourists will be gotten by visiting the cultural center Museo e Teatro dei Pupi Fratelli Napoli. As the name implies, there is a museum here with exhibits in the form of Sicilian dolls, that way you can learn about the story behind the tradition. You should definitely take a stroll along the main square of the city, Piazza Duomo, and admire its main attraction – this is of course the Cattedrale (Duomo) di Sant'Agata which gave the square its name. The cathedral was built in 1094 in the Norman style, which was later mixed with baroque. The magnificent Fontana dell'Elefante which adorns the square also deserves closer attention from tourists.
Aci Castello Sicily Another interesting building in Catania is Palazzo Biscari. The palace was built on the site of an old palazzo destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. The palace was erected right by the city walls, which practically did not suffer from the disaster. This was in 1763. You should definitely appreciate the luxurious Rococo styled interior, striking in its stucco and frescoes by Matteo Desiderato and Sebastiano Lo Monaco. The Porta Garibaldi Arch (or Ferdinandea, as it is also called) is another remarkable attraction. It was built almost at the same time as the Palazzo in 1768 in memory of an important event – the marriage of Ferdinand III of Sicily to Maria Carolina of Austria. Previously, there was a fort here, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1669. It is worth noting a few other magnificent buildings of the city: they are the fountains, Fontana dell'Amenano, and Fontana di Proserpina.
Many travelers associate beach vacations in Sicily with the picturesque coastline of Palermo. Palermo's most popular beach is Mondello covered with amazing white sand making water to look … Open
Taormina is where you will find one of the oldest amphitheaters on the island, talking about Teatro Antico di Taormina. This is the venue for concerts of world stars. It is not known for certain whether the theater is Roman or Greek, but judging from recent data, historians speak of the Roman origin of the building. It is believed that the theater was built in the III century BC. The beauty of the amphitheater was repeatedly admired by famous personalities – for example, Goethe, who visited it in 1787. It is here that the most famous film festival in Sicily is held. Furthermore, it often becomes the object of filming – for example, you can see it in Woody Allen’s movie “The Goddess of Love”. The delightful Quattro Fontane di Taormina also deserves special mention, as does the Porta Messina arch, the main entrance to the ancient city.
Etna The Orologio Astronomico Tower, which adorns the beautiful Duomo di Messina, is the main symbol of the city of Messina. The astronomical clock was built in 1933 in Strasbourg by order of the archbishop Angelo Paino. They are remarkable based on the fact that they are not only the largest astronomical clock in the whole world but are also clocks with the most complex mechanism. The bell tower is an excellent example of baroque style with its allegorical representations of ancient Greek gods. The cathedral was first constructed in 1197 and rebuilt several times, thanks to which more and more new architectural elements were added to the building. The last time a reconstruction happened was in 1947, and today, travelers can see a harmonious eclectic style that combines Norman and Romanesque, Gothic and Neo-Gothic, as well as the Baroque style.
Sicily has more than 3,000 accommodation places and each of them is unique. Many local hotels are real historical attractions, the lovely hotel Villa Athena is among them. This luxurious … Open
The Duomo di Cefalu is a remarkable church situated in Cefalu. This is another example of Norman style in combination with Arabic. The ancient cathedral was built in 1131 and inside contains a beautifully preserved Byzantine mosaic. According to legend, the temple was founded by Roger II himself, who in addition to other duties is the first monarch of the Sicilian kingdom. It is believed that his ship was washed ashore, and to thank God for saving him, he issued a decree that a temple be built at this place. Among other sights of sacred art of Sicily, the Duomo di Monreale Cathedral is worth mentioning. Tourists will be delighted at its magnificent courtyard, the interior with the perfectly preserved Byzantine mosaic, and the exterior with the traditional Arab-Norman style.
Sacrario di Cristo Re Throughout Sicily, you can find medieval fortresses that add special charm to your journey around the island. Consequently, the most famous among them is the fortress Castello di Venere in Erice (located near Trapani). The current castle was built in the 12th century, but before that time there were several religious buildings here in honor of a female deity. At first, it was the Phoenician Astarte, later the ancient Greek Aphrodite, and then the Roman Venus. During the construction of the castle, materials were used from the previous shrine. The fortress itself served as a defensive structure until the 16th century, and during the reign of the Bourbons, it was converted into a prison.
The island of Sicily is practically the only place in Italy that has managed to preserve and save the imprints of many ages and epochs. Many years ago Sicily attracted a large number of … Open
In the surrounding area of Taormina, you can discover the beautiful Castello de Castelmola. Built on a hill, the castle opens up a view of the entire coast of the Ionian Sea with the coast of Calabria and the Strait of Messina, which prevented the enemy from getting close to the fortress unnoticed. A stunning panorama can be seen here today, the main reason many travelers come to the ruins of the castle. Not far from Palermo is situated another tourist fortification, Castello di Caccamo. The fortress is one of the few well-preserved and largest buildings of Sicily. The location on the hill also contributed to the important strategic position of the castle. A significant historical event took place here in 1160 when the uprising of William I of Sicily was nipped in the bud.
"O Cannuni" - Mazzarino Among other castles that are of interest to tourists, it is worth mentioning the Castello di Lombardia built in 1076 in Enna (near Caltanissetta), the castle of the turn of the 11th-12th centuries Castello di Carini (located near Palermo), and also the citadel Castello di Punta Troja erected by Saracens in the 9th century, which serves as an ornament of the island Marettimo. Unique to Sicily is the Il Castello Incantato in Sciacca. The castle is an incredible combination of natural and man-made sights. Among the olive and almond trees, magnificent sculptures are engraved in the rock by Filipo Bentivegna. Important artifacts are the estate of the IV century BC, Villa Romana del Casale, with one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world, as well as the incredibly beautiful garden Villa Margherita Giardini Ipogei – a real Eden of Sicily.
The main feature of Sicilian cuisine is its versatility. Culinary connoisseurs can easily recognize typical Greek, Spanish and Arabic features; their harmonious combination determines the … Open
You can find out how the island developed during the period of Byzantine and then Arab rule, by visiting the Villaggio Bizantino di Vallone Canalotto. Tourists can behold a beautiful panorama of Byzantine churches and houses carved into the rock – a real treasure for lovers of history and archeology. Among the palaces of Sicily that are of interest are two located in Noto: Palazzo Nicolaci and Palazzo Castelluccio. They are stunning examples of Sicilian architecture and amaze visitors immediately with their appearance – although their interior is equally attractive. Another monument of ancient Greece is located in Segesta near Trapani. We are talking about Parco Archeologico Segesta, where a theater, a temple, and fortress walls of the ancient city are located.
Palermo cattedrale A special attraction of Caltagirone is the staircase Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte. This is because the city is the Sicilian capital of ceramics, and its streets are lined with beautiful tiles, which you can look at for a long time. Locals joke that it is easier to find a pottery shop or a studio in their city where you can learn the handicraft, than a restaurant or cafe. This goes to show the number of such shops and studios there are in the city as well as the importance of the craft to the people. It is worth stating too that the charming staircase was erected in 1608, and during the colorful flower festival (which takes place in May-June) the staircase is beautifully outlined by plants. You should certainly visit the fishing villages of Sicily with their special color, which incredibly fascinates everyone who decides to visit the island. Among these villages, Aci Trezza and Marzamemi stand out in a special way.
Cultural traditions of Sicily represent a unique phenomenon, which has found expression in the most interesting folk festivals and customs. During the year, the island celebrates a variety … Open
The Grotta Mangiapane, which is a museum of Sicilian existence, is a must-see point when visiting Trapani. The fact is that cavemen lived in the grotto in the distant past, and at the beginning of the 19th century, several families took a fancy to the cave. Consequently, their descendants lived here on subsistence farming until World War II. After the war, most families left, with the exception of one family. So the village gradually fell into poor shape. However, in 1982, the Sicilian authorities decided to make an open-air museum with a demonstration of rural life. It is particularly interesting to visit the village in early January and before Christmas – at this time there is a reconstruction of the events of the 19th century.
SICILIA 2009 Another remarkable cave is Necropoli di Pantalica, which is famous for its tranquility and extraordinary scenic views, which is facilitated by the location of the grotto in the territory of the beautiful park Ingresso Pantalica lato Sortino. This is the largest of the ancient graves with more than five thousand graves of cavemen who lived here in the XIII-VII centuries BC. The necropolis is divided into several burial grounds. Archaeologists found artifacts belonging to different nations here: Sicules, Mycenaeans, so they find it difficult to say exactly who the tombs belonged to. In addition to the graves, there are chapels of the Byzantine era, which are decorated with beautiful and well-preserved frescoes.
Beautiful beaches, fabulous nature reserves, modern entertainment centers, and numerous shopping centers don’t cease to attract many travelers to Sicily. Beaches of Catania are … Open
Those who like “ghost towns” will be pleased with the mention of such a place in Sicily as the commune Poggioreale (Poggioreale Antica). Locals simply refer to it as “Fantasma”, so as not to confuse it with the eponymous city in which people who survived the 1968 earthquake live. As for the “ghost town”, it was founded in 1642 and survived many cataclysms – including plague, the earthquake of 1693, cholera, and an uprising. Nevertheless, it did not survive one thing, the catastrophe of 1968. Estimated on a scale of one to ten, it will score six. It claimed the lives of 236 people, leaving a population of seven thousand people homeless for a while. Today, silent witnesses from those times are houses, churches, workshops, shops, and stables. They have all been abandoned and deserted, and their serenity is only occasionally disturbed by tourists in search of an atmospheric place to pass time.
Teatro Massimo - Palermo Italy Podzhooreale is the most famous “ghost town” of Sicily – you can find several more places of this kind on the island. The reason for their decline has always been one catastrophe or another. Other “ghost towns” include Cunziria and Borgo Baccarato (relatively close to Caltagirone), as well as Gioiosa Vecchia (not far from Barcellona-Pozzo di Gotto). In addition to the catacombs of Palermo, there are several other places on the island that are shrouded in mystery. Among them, only the Abbazia di Thélema (Cefalu), which was founded by Aleister Crowley in 1920, is worth mentioning. The monastery owes its name to the satire “Gargantua and Pantagruel” by Francois Rabelais, where an abbey with this name was described as a place where monks indulge in pleasure and act on their own impulses, and not afraid of punishment – some sort of “anti-monastery”. This was the basis of the doctrine of Ordo Templi Orientis.
1. Going on a trip don’t forget to bring an Italian phrasebook with you, as not all of locals speak foreign languages. It's worth noting that much of the indigenous population speaks … Open
The museums of Sicily are equally remarkable. In addition to the archaeological, historical, and ethnographic museums (which can be found in almost every major city), as well as the already mentioned “living history parks”, there are several unique cultural sites here. Many tourists consider Museo della Mafia in Salemi to be the most interesting museum. Here with a share of Sicilian humor, guests are told about the history of the organization for which the island is so famous. Thanks to the enlightening information, you can find out what is not told in the history books. The “No Mafia Memorial” was dedicated to the Mafia and its activities after the Second World War. The museum which is located in the capital of Sicily is one of those places thanks to which you can discover this topic for yourself from another side.
Fontana Pretoria The Museo Leonardo da Vinci e Archimede is an interesting museum in Syracuse, where a collection of outstanding projects by Leonardo da Vinci and Archimedes is collected. This place is especially loved by young tourists. The museum “Volcano House” in Nicolosi, and also the Museo Vulcanologico in Pantelleria will introduce you to the most important attraction of Sicily, which several times became the cause of cataclysms – this is, of course, about the Mount Etna (stratovolcano). There are two interesting miniatures which you should try not to miss: the first is called Sicilia in Miniatura and is located near Giarre, at the foot of Mount Etna, and the second is called Kontiland, and you can find it near Taormina. Two more fascinating places are worth highlighting: the beautiful old pharmacy Antica Farmacia Cartia in Scicli, as well as the Museo Medico Tommaso Campailla in Modica, which tells visitors about the history of healing on the island.
Many travelers associate beach vacations in Sicily with the picturesque coastline of Palermo. Palermo's most popular beach is Mondello covered with amazing white sand making water to look … Open
In addition to the museum in Catania which is dedicated to Sicilian dolls (Museo e Teatro dei Pupi Fratelli Napoli), there are several other similar cultural places of interest on the island. Among them is the Museo Opera dei Pupi in Acireale, as well as the Museo dei Pupi in Syracuse and Partinico. The cultural center Museo Internazionale delle Marionette Antonio Pasqualino in Palermo is famous for its collection of puppets assembled from different countries, while the Museo del Giocattolo in Sciacca has an attractive exposition of toys. Another intriguing place is the cultural center located in Caltagirone, where the collection of Christmas compositions “presepe” is assembled. This is about the Museo dei Presepi Tradizionali. The Museo Degli Archi Di Pasqua is yet another museum that deserves a visit. It is located in the vicinity of Agrigento and has among its collection, stunning sculptures made from a variety of materials (laurel, bamboo, wheat) especially for Easter.
acireale Sicily is also famous for its ceramics. You can get acquainted with the traditional industry in Caltagirone, the capital of Sicilian ceramics, and more specifically in Museo Regionale della Ceramica. Other similar museums include the Civico delle Ceramiche in Santo Stefano di Camastra, the Herborarium in Catania, and the Ceramiche Dell'Artigianato Siciliano Managò located in Taormina. Lovers of cars and motorcycles will be interested in visiting several museums like Museo MOGAM in Catania, Museo del Motorismo Siciliano in Termini Imerese, and Piccolo Museo Della Moto in Castroreale. Those who want to get acquainted with the history of traditional Sicilian transport should visit the following museums: Museo del Carretto Siciliano Gullotti (Bronte), Museo del Carretto Siciliano (Acireale).
Sicily has more than 3,000 accommodation places and each of them is unique. Many local hotels are real historical attractions, the lovely hotel Villa Athena is among them. This luxurious … Open
The city of Trapani is occupied by its cultural center, the Museum of Illusions, thanks to which you can make great photos. For film fans, the Museo del Cinema located in Catania will be an interesting place to drop by, while for lovers of zoology, the same can be said for the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale in Comiso. The magnificent collections of traditional Sicilian costumes are showcased in cultural tourist attractions such as the Mostra Permanente delle Uniformi Storiche (Acireale) and Museo del Costume (Scicli), as well as the Museo Del Costume E Della Moda Siciliana (Mirto). Among the unique ethnographic museums, the Museo Annalisa Buccellato Etno-Antropologico in Castellammare del Golfo, the Casa della Musica e Della Liuteria Medievale in Randazzo, and the Museo del Vino e della Civilta 'Contadina in the capital of the island, are outstanding.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion, activities or city discovery tours over Sicily and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Sicily and surroundings

Sicily - guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Reference information
Map of all palaces
Public palaces near Sicily
♥   Palace 'Palazzo dei Normanni' Palermo, 56.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas near Sicily
♥   Chiesa San Nicola di Bari, Termini Imerese, 28.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Cattedrale di S. Maria La Nova, Caltanissetta, 36.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilica Cattedrale della Trasfigurazione, Cefalù, 38.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Cattedrale di S. Gerlando, Agrigento, 51.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilica dell’Immacolata, Agrigento, 51.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilica Cattedrale di S. Nicola di Bari, Nicosia, 52.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore, Nicosia, 52.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Car rental on OrangeSmile.com Rentals in Sicily

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The creation of the so-called travel bubble is good news for hotels in Langkawi as the country’s tourism is suffering just like most destinations worldwide. Tourists arriving on the island do not need to spend precious days of their vacation at a hotel, waiting for the quarantine period to end. They are free to move everywhere but are required to stay at least three days in Langkawi. All tourists intending to visit the island should also take an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test no longer than 72 hours before their arrival. Read this

05.12.2021

Photogallery of cultural heritage of Sicily

Landmarks of culture on Sicily map: art-galleries, monuments, palaces, etc

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Excursions over cultural sights of neighbours of Sicily

Culture guide to Sicily. Which fascinating sights to visit once you are in Sicily: temples, churches, museums, theaters and castles. Recommendations (with addresses, phone numbers and links) on the places 'must visit' in Sicily. Plan your own city excursion by using this page info!
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