Sicily

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Sicily - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Aidone and the Goddesses

    A vast archaeological site in a remote location, Morgantina long provided rich pickings for illegal excavators: when Italian detectives raided an 18th-century villa in Enna...

    A vast archaeological site in a remote location, Morgantina long provided rich pickings for illegal excavators: when Italian detectives raided an 18th-century villa in Enna belonging to a Sicilian art dealer, they discovered more than 30,000 ancient artifacts, most of them plundered from Morgantina. In 1986, American archaeologist Malcolm Bell, director of the University of Princeton’s excavations at Morgantina, established that the heads, hands, and feet of 6th-century BC Greek statues of goddesses from a private collection exhibited at the Getty museum outside of Los Angeles also derived from Morgantina. Identified as Demeter and Persephone, the statues were acroliths, with wooden bodies (long rotted away) and marble extremities. Returned to Sicily in 2009 after a lengthy legal battle, they are currently displayed at a small museum in the village of Aidone, beautifully lit and hauntingly "dressed" by Sicilian fashion designer Marella Ferrara. Equally powerful is the so-called Aphrodite Getty, or Venus of Malibu, bought by the Getty in 1987 for $18 million on the basis of provenance documents that were later proved to have been forgeries. Returned to Sicily in 2011, the hefty maturity of her body, revealed by wind-blown drapery, has led most scholars to identify her as the Mother Goddess Demeter. Other objects returned from the Getty include the Eupolmos Silver, a set of ritual dining ware, and a head of Hades, identified as belonging to Morgantina when a student working in the site archives discovered a terra-cotta curl of blue-tinted "hair" and suspected that it belonged to a head on display in the Getty. When the curl was sent to the museum, it was found to be a perfect fit, and in 2016 the head was returned to Sicily.

    Largo Torres, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, 94010, Italy
    0935-87955

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6
  • 2. Area Archeologica di Akrai

    One of Sicily’s best-kept secrets, the archaeological park of Akrai is home to what is said to be Siracusa’s first inland settlement, built to defend...

    One of Sicily’s best-kept secrets, the archaeological park of Akrai is home to what is said to be Siracusa’s first inland settlement, built to defend its overland trading route from other Greek colonies. You can access the site by a steep but steady 20-minute walk or a five-minute drive. Today, the site contains mainly ruins, but it is well worth visiting simply to see the Teatro Greco, originally constructed in the 3rd century BC to seat 600. Around the site, you'll also find two old stone quarries used to build the settlement, then converted into burial chambers as well as a remarkably well-preserved portion of the stone road into the area. On a clear day, you can also see Mount Etna rising majestically in the distance.

    Area Archeologica di Akrai, Palazzolo Arceide, Sicily, 96010, Italy
    0931-876602

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6
  • 3. Bar Vitelli

    Though the bar first opened in 1962—and the building has been around since the 1400s—this little café didn't gain worldwide popularity until Francis Ford Coppola...

    Though the bar first opened in 1962—and the building has been around since the 1400s—this little café didn't gain worldwide popularity until Francis Ford Coppola chose it as the setting of significant scenes in The Godfather. In fact, prior to Coppola, the bar didn't even have an official name. He chose "Bar Vitelli" for his fictional café, had the name painted on the exterior wall, and the name has stuck for decades. Here, Michael Corleone famously asked Apollonia to marry him. And most street scenes where Michael is seen walking up the road were filmed on the building's side. The interior of the café functions as a small museum of the filming that happened in Savoca, with film stills and photos throughout. Outside, small tables sit under fairy lights and an arbor of vines. Be sure to order a lemon granita with a splash of Zibbibo, a sweet dessert wine. And though the rest of Sicily serves granita with brioche, here you'll find lightly sweetened "zuccarata" cookies. 

    Piazza Fossia 7, Savoca, Sicily, 98038, Italy
    334-9227227
  • 4. Barone di Villagrande

    At the oldest winery on Etna, the expansive terrace shaded by oak trees looks out over vineyards and down to the sea. The staff offers...

    At the oldest winery on Etna, the expansive terrace shaded by oak trees looks out over vineyards and down to the sea. The staff offers friendly and informative tours (with excellent English) followed by a tasting of five wines with food pairings or a more formal lunch. Reservations are required. There are also four charming guest rooms overlooking the vineyards for overnight stays.

    Via del Bosco 25, Milo, Sicily, 95010, Italy
    095-7082175

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €25 tour and tasting
  • 5. Basilica di San Paolo

    Locals consider this the most important church in Palazzolo Acreide, rebuilt and repaired after an earthquake ravaged the majority of the region in the 17th...

    Locals consider this the most important church in Palazzolo Acreide, rebuilt and repaired after an earthquake ravaged the majority of the region in the 17th century. When you enter, usually a volunteer will be available to take you on a brief tour. The main focal points are the relics and the statue of St. Paul paraded through the town's streets between June 26 and June 29 each year. Entry is technically free, but be prepared to make a modest contribution toward the church's upkeep at the end of your tour.

    Piazza San Paolo 4, Palazzolo Arceide, Sicily, 96010, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; donation encouraged after tour
  • 6. Benanti Viticoltori

    At the foot of Monte Serra in Viagrande, this family-run winery is one of the most internationally significant on Etna, distributing some 170,000 bottles worldwide....

    At the foot of Monte Serra in Viagrande, this family-run winery is one of the most internationally significant on Etna, distributing some 170,000 bottles worldwide. And the Benanti family has been instrumental in propagating the viticulture of the volcano. As you arrive at the 19th-century estate for a tasting, you'll easily be seduced by the historic grounds and hills flanked with vines. But their wines, approximately 15 different expressions of Etna, hold the real magic.

    Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 361, Sicily, 95029, Italy
    095-7890928

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tours and tastings from €60
  • 7. C.I.D.M.A.

    Housed, perhaps appropriately, in an ex-orphanage in the center of Corleone, the Centro Internazionale di Documentazione sulla Mafia e del Movimento Antimafia, or C.I.D.M.A., chronicles...

    Housed, perhaps appropriately, in an ex-orphanage in the center of Corleone, the Centro Internazionale di Documentazione sulla Mafia e del Movimento Antimafia, or C.I.D.M.A., chronicles the dark history of the criminal organization that has been identified with Sicily for much of the 20th century. Most of the story is told through a moving exhibition of black-and-white photographs, almost all taken by Letizia Battaglia, who bravely made it her life's work to record the Mafia's activities in Sicily, in particular the arrests of Mafia operatives and the deaths of their victims. One room holds the vast collection of files used in the Maxi-Trial of Mafia suspects that took place between 1986 and 1992, which directly led to the murders of the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who are also remembered here. There is space given to the pentito (informant) Tomasso Buscetta, whose testimony resulted in a slew of arrests, but whose entire family was wiped out by vengeful hitmen. It's a sad and sobering experience to hear about such atrocities, and a visit to the center is best undertaken with a guide, without whose explanations you would miss much essential information. Call ahead to book a guided tour (available in English).

    Via G. Valenti 7, Corleone, Sicily, 90034, Italy
    340-4025601

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, Closed Sun.
  • 8. Calascibetta and the Byzantine Village

    Just a 20-minute drive from Enna, occupying a similarly dramatic crag-top, the town of Calascibetta is built atop a honeycomb of caves, most of them...

    Just a 20-minute drive from Enna, occupying a similarly dramatic crag-top, the town of Calascibetta is built atop a honeycomb of caves, most of them hidden from sight as they form the cellars of simple houses. Look closely, however, and you’ll spot some houses built straight into the rock, and keep an eye open if anyone opens a garage door as there may well be a cave inside. An entire network of these caves has been uncovered—and is evocatively floodlit at night—on Via Carcere. Head up to Piazza San Pietro, where there are the ruins of a Norman tower and panoramic views. Follow signs from Calascibetta to the “Villaggio Bizantino” and you’ll come to a stunning complex of caves overlooking a magnificent valley inhabited (and used as a cemetery) from ancient times until the Byzantine period, when some of the caves were turned into tiny churches. The caves continued to be used by shepherds as shelter for themselves and their flocks until relatively recently. Today, the villaggio is run by volunteers, who will organize guided tours and walks in English, and introduce you to some of the local shepherds and cheesemakers. It's always open Friday and Saturday, but reach out in advance if you want to visit another day. Not far from the villagio (and clearly signposted from Calascibetta), there is another series of caves (not guarded) at Realmese which you can scramble into and explore alone (but be careful as the rock is slippy). From here, a clearly marked track leads back to the village, a walk of just over 3 miles.

    Casa del Maestro, Enna, Sicily, 94010, Italy
    328-3748553

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8
  • 9. Caseari Di Venti

    This husband-and-wife team makes artisanal cheese from the rare breed sheep that graze on their fields, and also grows and collects their own saffron to...

    This husband-and-wife team makes artisanal cheese from the rare breed sheep that graze on their fields, and also grows and collects their own saffron to make a distinctive local cheese, Piacentino Ennese, flavored with saffron and studded with black peppercorns. If you want to watch the whole cheese-making process, you will need to book several days ahead and be prepared to rise well before dawn. Otherwise, give them a ring and pop by for a morning bowl of hot ricotta curds with fresh bread. Groups of nine or more can book a lunch or an aperitif.

    Contrada Tresaudo, Enna, Sicily, 94010, Italy
    338-8454255

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From €10
  • 10. Castello di Caccamo

    A visit to this fantastic castle, the biggest in Sicily and one of the grandest in all of Italy, is like stepping into the Middle...

    A visit to this fantastic castle, the biggest in Sicily and one of the grandest in all of Italy, is like stepping into the Middle Ages, complete with a well-stocked medieval armory, creepy dungeon prison, and elegant upper-level rooms decorated with detailed woodwork carving and majolica ceramic floors. The castle was the property of the Chiaramontes, once a powerful Sicilian aristocratic family. The views of the Rosamina lake and valley below are beyond spectacular.

    Corso Umberto I, Caccamo, Sicily, 90012, Italy
    091-8149252

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4
  • 11. Castello Normanno

    In all of Sicily there may be no spot more scenic than atop Castello Normanno, reached by a set of steep staircases rising out of...

    In all of Sicily there may be no spot more scenic than atop Castello Normanno, reached by a set of steep staircases rising out of the town center. From here you can gaze upon two coastlines, smoking Mt. Etna, and the town spilling down the mountainside. The area was fortified by the Byzantines in the 9th century and was later rebuilt by the Normans, but all that stands today are the remains of the 16th-century castle walls. Come during daylight hours to take full advantage of the vista.

    Castello Normanno, Castelmola, Sicily, Italy
  • 12. Cattedrale di San Nicolò

    Noto's domed cathedral (divine in more ways than one) is an undisputed highlight of the extraordinary Baroque architecture for which the town is world-famous. Climb...

    Noto's domed cathedral (divine in more ways than one) is an undisputed highlight of the extraordinary Baroque architecture for which the town is world-famous. Climb the monumental staircase to get a glimpse of the interior—restored over a 10-year period after the dome collapsed in 1996—which is simple compared to the magnificent exterior, but still worth a look.

    Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Noto, Sicily, 96017, Italy
    0931-835286
  • 13. Chiesa di San Giorgio

    This lovely Baroque church in Modica Alta, dating from after the 1693 earthquake, is reached by climbing 250 steps that crisscross in a monumental staircase...

    This lovely Baroque church in Modica Alta, dating from after the 1693 earthquake, is reached by climbing 250 steps that crisscross in a monumental staircase leading up to the main doors. It's worth the effort for the amazing views over the old town.

    Corso San Giorgio, Modica, Sicily, 97015, Italy
    0932-941279

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 14. Crateri Silvestri

    For a walk on the moonlike surface of Etna, visit the Silvestri craters on the southern side of the volcano, near Nicolosi. Located at an...

    For a walk on the moonlike surface of Etna, visit the Silvestri craters on the southern side of the volcano, near Nicolosi. Located at an altitude of roughly 6,200 feet, these five extinct craters formed during the 1892 eruption. Just a few meters away, across from Rifugio Sapienza, you'll find the Funivia dell'Etna (€30 round-trip), a cable car that carries you 8,000 feet up to Monte Montagnola, where you can hike further with a guide or go skiing in winter. 

    Crateri Silvestri, Nicolosi, Sicily, 95030, Italy
  • 15. Cyclops Islands

    Also known as the faraglioni, these ancient volcanic islets are so dramatically stunning they have inspired writers throughout the centuries. Homer set Odysseus's battle with...

    Also known as the faraglioni, these ancient volcanic islets are so dramatically stunning they have inspired writers throughout the centuries. Homer set Odysseus's battle with the cyclops here in The Odyssey, contending that the angered and freshly blinded cyclops Polyphemus hurled giant hunks of rock from Etna to the sea to destroy Odysseus and his ship. Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga set his most famous novel, I Malavoglia, on the island of Lachea, the largest of the isles. Today the area is a protected marine preserve. You can kayak or swim the waters or take a short boat taxi to Lachea to visit the Lachea Island Museum of Sea Studies, which highlights the flora and fauna of the area in a tiny museum perched near the top.

    Faraglioni, Aci Trezza, Sicily, 95021, Italy
  • 16. Daemone Cantine e Vigne

    Located in the rolling hills just below Tindari, this local winery offers the chance to sample the best locally produced wines. You can also go...

    Located in the rolling hills just below Tindari, this local winery offers the chance to sample the best locally produced wines. You can also go on a tour of the historic wine press and enjoy a light meal. Wine tastings require a minimum of four people per booking.

    Contrada Ronzino, Sicily, 98066, Italy
    371-4947668

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tour and tasting €30, Closed Sun.
  • 17. Donnafugata Winery

    A respected Sicilian wine producer, the 160-year-old Donnafugata Winery is open for tastings and tours of its cantina (wine cellar); reservations are required and can...

    A respected Sicilian wine producer, the 160-year-old Donnafugata Winery is open for tastings and tours of its cantina (wine cellar); reservations are required and can be made online or by phone. It's an interesting look at the wine-making process in Sicily, and it ends with a sampling of several whites and reds, an optional food pairing, and a chance to buy a bottle. Don't miss the delicious, full-bodied red Mille e Una Notte, and the famous Ben Ryè Passito di Pantelleria, a sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes.

    Via Sebastiano Lipari 18, Marsala, Sicily, 91025, Italy
    0923-724245

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from €24, Closed Sun.
  • 18. Duomo

    Monreale's splendid cathedral is lavishly executed with mosaics depicting events from the Old and New Testaments. It's a glorious fusion of Eastern and Western influences,...

    Monreale's splendid cathedral is lavishly executed with mosaics depicting events from the Old and New Testaments. It's a glorious fusion of Eastern and Western influences, widely regarded as the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily. After the Norman conquest of Sicily, the new princes showcased their ambitions through monumental building projects. William II (1154–89) built the church complex with a cloister and palace between 1174 and 1185, employing Byzantine craftsmen. The major attraction is the 68,220 square feet of glittering gold mosaics decorating the cathedral interior. Christ Pantocrator dominates the apse area; the nave contains narratives of the Creation; and scenes from the life of Christ adorn the walls of the aisles and the transept. The painted wooden ceiling dates from 1816–37 while the roof commands a great view (a reward for climbing 172 stairs). The wood and metal organ, the only one in Europe with six keyboards and 10,000 pipes, was restored after lightning damage in 2015, and played by Mick Jagger on a private visit in 2021. Bonnano Pisano's bronze doors, completed in 1186, depict 42 biblical scenes and are considered among the most important medieval artifacts still in existence. Barisano da Trani's 42 panels on the north door, dating from 1179, present saints and evangelists.

    Piazza del Duomo, Monreale, Sicily, 90046, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4; €10 with Cloister
  • 19. Duomo

    Ortygia

    Siracusa's Duomo is an archive of more than 2,000 years of island history, and has creatively incorporated ruins through the many time periods it has...

    Siracusa's Duomo is an archive of more than 2,000 years of island history, and has creatively incorporated ruins through the many time periods it has survived, starting with the bottommost, where excavations have unearthed remnants of Sicily's distant past, when the Siculi inhabitants worshipped their deities here. During the 5th century BC (the same time Agrigento's Temple of Concord was built), the Greeks erected a temple to Athena over it, and in the 7th century, Siracusa's first Christian cathedral was built on top of the Greek structure. The massive columns of the original Greek temple were incorporated into the present structure and are clearly visible, embedded in the exterior wall along Via Minerva. The Greek columns were also used to dramatic advantage inside, where on one side they form chapels connected by elegant wrought-iron gates. The Baroque facade, added in the 18th century, displays a harmonious rhythm of concaves and convexes. In front, the sun-kissed stone piazza is encircled by pink and white oleanders and elegant buildings ornamented with filigree grillwork, and is typically filled with frolicking children and street musicians. Check with the tourist office for guided tours of its underground tunnels, which are located to the right when you stand facing the cathedral.

    Piazza del Duomo, Siracusa, Sicily, 96100, Italy
    0931-65328

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2
  • 20. Emanuela Bonomo

    The island’s first female winemaker, Emanuela Bonomo not only makes a fantastic passito dessert wine, but also had the vision to see that Pantelleria’s traditional...

    The island’s first female winemaker, Emanuela Bonomo not only makes a fantastic passito dessert wine, but also had the vision to see that Pantelleria’s traditional gastronomic preserves made of capers, olives, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and oil that many islanders took for granted could find an international market. Her beautifully packaged preserves, pestos, and condiments inspired many islanders to revisit their own family’s traditions. Book ahead for a tour of the vineyard that includes visiting the Bonomo’s caper fields on Monte Gibele.

    Via Ziton di Rekale 43, Sicily, Italy
    0923-916489

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from €15

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