Sicily, regarded as being quite foreign to Italy, is the largest island of the Mediterranean and boasts a unique and fascinating past. Invasions by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs have created a fantastic collision of cultures with notable contributions to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, viniculture, architecture and language. With such a stunning setting, holidays in Sicily make for the perfect luxury getaway.
The landscape of Sicily is of long, wide coastal plains edged by secluded coves with sandy and pebbled beaches, backed by charming inland valleys and high mountains, with Mount Etna forming a stunning backdrop to the eastern coast. This varied terrain alongside the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea offers guests on Sicily holidays plenty of things to do, both inland and on the shore.
The island is dotted with remnants of its past: a classical temple and Greek amphitheatre here, an Arabic old town and Norman cathedral there and mosaic filled churches and ornate piazzas embellished with a Sicilian Baroque style everywhere.
Palermo, the capital, lies on the northern coast, this buzzing city is full of life, energy and a fantastic place to explore and find hidden gems on Sicily holidays. However, on the eastern coast where the most rewarding collection of cities and towns are to be found, amongst them, Messina, Catania, Siracusa and our featured resorts of Taormina, Castelmola and Acireale. With these cities far less travelled than the likes of Rome, Venice and Florence there is plenty to discover on holidays to Sicily.
At Classic Collection Holidays we have a range of exclusive 4 and 5 star hotels for our guests to choose from on your luxury holidays in Sicily.
Sicily's oldest established and most fashionable resort clings to the terraces of a hillside which rises steeply from the Ionian Sea and boosts spectacular views over two bays and Mount Etna in the distance. Located on the shoreline Taormina is a popular destination for beach-lovers and with its fantastic setting it is ideal for those seeking sunshine on Sicily holidays.
The town is a medieval compilation of ochre and pastel coloured churches, palaces and weather-beaten houses, with a cable car to the pebbled beaches below. The Gothic facades of the buildings heavily laden with balconies of bougainvillea, lead onto charming piazzas with delightful fountains and panoramic vistas. Street cafes and craft shops vie for visitors' attention in the main avenue, Corso Umberto, and shaded alleyways proffer an irresistible invitation to discover something new: a wonderful delicatessen, a stylish bar, or a smart boutique. In the evenings, the sounds of crowded restaurants and sophisticated nightlife echo around the piazzas, courtyards and moonlight streetscape.
Carved into a hillside by the Greeks and later refurbished by the Romans, Taormina's Hellenic Theatre boasts probably the most dramatic scenery of any theatre in the world and features excellent acoustics; always evident during the annual summer arts festival. Additional attractions include the Pallazo di Santo Stefano, the crenulated cathedral of the Piazza Duomo and the public gardens dotted with pagoda-style follies.
One of the area's numerous UNESCO World Heritage towns, the inland Baroque town Ragusa Ibla with its centrepiece piazza and Basilica is divided from the new town, Ragusa Superiore, by a deep gorge. To the southwest some 24km lies Marina di Ragusa and in between, the limestone Hyblean plateau with its carob trees and stone walls, lies in the heart of the Val di Noto.
Agrigento & Verdura
Agrigento hails back to the times of the Ancient Greeks providing some of the best archaeological remains whilst Verdura provides a new resort-based hotel from which to explore much of the island.
Mazaro del Vallo
Close to the western most point of Sicily and originally founded by the Phoenicians, Mazaro's centre of Arabian Kasbah is reminiscent of the city's most prosperous times when it was an important commercial harbour and centre of learning.
Sicily has a plentiful supply of fish, vegetables and olive oil which provide the staples of traditional Sicilian cuisine; and ingredients bequeathed by Arab invaders add an exotic flavour that is not commonly found on mainland Italy.
Five course meals are the norm: antipasto (meaning before the meal) is typically an appetizer consisting of a small starter served cold, primo, the first course, usually consisting of pasta; secondo, the main dish, often fish, which is followed by contorno, the vegetable course and finally dolci, the dessert.
Sardines, anchovies, tuna and swordfish are favourites, and pasta sauces are often vegetable and fish based, rather than meat based. Raisins, fennel and pine nuts add an Arabian twist, and marzipan and fresh fruit dominate the dessert menus. Coffee is served in a myriad of different ways; etiquette suggests that cappuccino is a morning-only drink, never to be served after a meal.