Sicily will get under your skin! It’s highly addictive and now I know that one visit will never be enough for you like me. I guarantee it! Besides the famous monuments from the times of the Greeks and Romans or the amazing buildings of the later Baroque era, Sicily will offer you a beautiful landscape. If you’re a beach lounger, you’ll be in for a treat too. The sea here is a beautiful turquoise blue. The island has always been an important strategic point, inhabited by various conquerors such as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French and Spanish. Maybe I’m a barbarian, but I’m not really into excavations, but here I didn’t mind too much. On the contrary, I was very surprised. This succession of rulers meant many diverse monuments, but not least reflected in the way cities were built. Towns were built on the hill for strategic reasons. From here, there was a good view of the surrounding area. And that was also a wonderful experience for me. ♥


Do you make a first impressions? I don’t. 🙂 If you do, your first impression with Sicily may come as quite a shock. Crumbling stone houses piled on top of each other without any order, scratched plaster and brown shutters. Little greenery and hardly any flowers. Lots of rubbish on the road and the whole atmosphere is completed by cars, motorbikes with horns that can be heard on the roads all the time. You may be filled with mixed feelings. But don’t be fooled. That’s the beauty of Sicily. But if you look at it from the other side and you’re a romantic soul like me, you’ll be completely captivated. ♥ The dilapidated buildings here have such a special charm.


Travelling on Sicilian roads has its own unbridled charm and is only for the hardened. 🙂 And especially in the bigger cities like Palermo and Catania. Here, they play Russian roulette, without any rules, considerations or mercy. It seemed to me that everyone who gets behind the wheel in these larger cities suddenly gets a black eye and instead of logical reactions, a kind of Pavlovian reflex reaction kicks in and everyone tries to be first. “They’re nuts!” I thought to myself. There’s a lot of banging on, and please don’t take it personally. All of a sudden, two cars are driving side by side in one lane, and other cars are trying to squeeze in from the side streets. You could very well have another car coming at you in the opposite direction. If you ever want to get out of this madhouse, you have to accept their game. Forget about good manners, forget about some stupid right-hand preference, there is no such thing as a full line, and go all the way forward. Be like the locals – honk, swear, use gestures and make phone calls. If you think you shouldn’t be going into no-entry zones, onto sidewalks or overtaking from the right, from the left – anything goes. And remember that the coloured lights at traffic lights are just for fun. But beware! The only thing that is not allowed is stopping. Even if the only reason is because you need to look around and get your bearings in this madhouse.


You won’t doubt for a moment that Syracuse belongs on the UNESCO list. Syracuse is a pretty big city and includes the island of Ortigia, which is the old part of the city. I have to admit that I was completely charmed by the historic centre. It really is a magical place. The island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. I just let myself drift through its streets, trying to discover every corner.


The square took my breath away. What caught my attention more, however, was not the baroque cathedral itself, but the strange light that illuminated the monumental building and the entire square. The brilliant hue reflected off the building and impressively transitioned into shades of grey where the sun could not reach. In this pedestrian zone surrounded by old buildings, there is not only the Cathedral, but also the Palazzo Beneventano or the Archbishop’s Palace.


Caravaggio’sThe Funeral of Saint Lucia” is on display in the nearby church dedicated to Saint Lucia. The famous painter made a brief stop in Syracuse in 1608, when he also referred to one of the local caves as the Ear of Dionysus (Orecchio di Dionisio). The name has remained to this day.


When you’re in LA PIAZZA DEL DUOMO square, next to the cathedral is the entrance to the catacombs. Before the Christian burial ground, the underground passages functioned as the city’s well-developed water supply system. Nowadays, tourists go into the dank, dark corridors to admire how the locals once hid here during earthquakes.


This archaeological park collects most of the Greek and Roman monuments in Syracuse. Here you will find a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheatre and the sacrificial site of Hieron II.


Inside the park there are also several caves, the most famous of which is the one called the Ear of Dionysus. It is actually a former quarry that was abandoned and used as a prison. If you look closely at the cave, it really does resemble a giant ear in shape. It’s famous for its great acoustics, and the suspicious Emperor Dionysos is said to have listened to the prisoners inside talking. The natural cave is 65 metres long, 23 metres high and 11 metres wide.


It is certainly the largest building of its kind in Sicily. For the most part, it was carved out of the rock. Its construction is reminiscent of the Colosseum, which confirms the assumption that gladiatorial games were held here.


Dating back to the 5th century, this Greek theatre is one of the greatest theatres in the Greek world. It could seat up to 17,000 people, served as a parliament and even as a venue for public trials. The theatre is still in use today and is used for theatrical performances.


The town also boasts the medieval fortress of Castello Maniace. Part of the fortress runs out to sea and offers impressive views into the distance.


If you would like to discover a place where papyrus is found freely in Europe, you will find it only here. It’s one of the symbols of Syracuse. It grows here spontaneously, which is unique in itself. And it’s in the Arethusa Spring. If you dig into Greek mythology, you’ll find that it was a companion of the goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Papyrus is still made into paper in Syracuse today, and local artisans use it to create uniquely valuable souvenirs.


Syracuse has also been a major scientific centre for Sicily in the past. For example, one of the most important scientists of all time, Archimedes, was born here.

I’m sure you all remember his law from school:

“A body immersed in a liquid (which is at rest) is supercharged by the weight of the liquid displaced by the body.”

This mathematician, physicist, philosopher, inventor and even astronomer introduced concepts already familiar to us such as gravity, various formulas, discovered the pulley and many other revolutionary discoveries for his time.


Perhaps the most widespread architectural style in Sicily is Baroque. This is due to an earthquake that struck the island in the 17th century with such force that many towns were destroyed. At that time, however, Sicily was of considerable interest to wealthy noble and royal families. And so new construction began. Famous architects were called in to design entire towns and individual buildings such as palaces and churches. In the alleys you will find ornate portals, balcony supports, window frames and entire building facades that completely overwhelm you. The city of Noto is just such an example, where “Baroque as far as you can see” applies.


This palace was built as a private aristocratic house for the Nicolaci family and was partly sold to the government of Noto. Today it houses a public library with thousands of volumes, including Spanish and Latin manuscripts. But you have the opportunity to see the palace too.

The Nicolaci were a bourgeois family in the aftermath of the 1693 earthquake that destroyed the ancient city of Noto. Their wealth grew through land ownership. To this day, some members still occupy the palace.

The palatial residence known as Palazzo Nicolaci is the largest palace in Noto. Today’s baroque building has about 90 rooms. What is very nice is that the facade from the outside is decorated with magnificent balconies with curving wrought-iron balustrades, which are adorned with statues of mermaids, sphinxes and winged horses.


Apart from its baroque style, this city is also known as the city of chocolate. This delicacy has been produced here since the time when the local nobility owned colonies rich in cocoa beans.

It seemed to me that the sales lady was proud of the traditional production. She didn’t forget to point out to us that the chocolate is unadulterated, without fat or milk, in short, it is pure chocolate with sugar and various flavours, including chilli.


It is a traditional Sicilian town built on a rock. I was absolutely fascinated by this town! ♥ No wonder it’s on the UNESCO list. It really is very unusual. It’s divided into two parts – Upper Town and Ibla. When the earthquake hit, it destroyed most of the town. So half the people decided to build their houses on the ridge above the town and the other half decided to rebuild the old town instead. I lived in Upper Town. I walked up a flight of stairs to get to the old town. It’s quite a steep descent and climb, so you get quite a workout.

Along the way, however, you will find interesting views and passages to hidden corners. Even if you sweat along the way, you will discover many beautiful buildings decorated in Baroque style. It’s a feast for the eyes and really worth the effort. Of course, look underfoot where you step, but don’t forget to check out the balconies. Here again, these are beautifully decorated.


We chose the cathedral as our destination in the old town. The climb to it was quite dramatic, because all the time we were accompanied by quite strong wind, it was under a cloud and it looked like it was going to rain any minute. But even in this weather you can walk.


When I was looking for sights to see in Ragusa, the blue domed bell tower of the church of Santa Maria dell’ Itria caught my eye. Under the blue dome is an octagonal drum with eight panels decorated with Rococo style flower patterns. The church stands in the old Jewish quarter of the city and was founded in the 14th century by the Knights of Malta.


If you go to Agrigento, you must visit the Valley of the Temples, which is located in the neighbourhood of the town. There are very nice well-kept olive and almond groves. The Greeks used to build their temples here on the rocky hillside so that their silhouettes could be seen from a distance when looking out to sea. The Greek colony was built here by settlers who came from the Greek island of Rhodes. It will come as no surprise to learn that Agrigento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s biggest rival was Syracuse.

The archaeological area located at Agrigento is truly unique. It is a kind of the richest grouping of preserved Greek temples in the world. This vast archaeological park consists of 8 temples and, of course, more excavations that were built here between 510 and 430 BC.


The Temple of Hercules is the oldest temple in Agrigento. Only eight majestic columns remain. Yet you can see the remnants of this once magnificent structure from afar, towering over the valley.


This temple is the most impressive monument of the whole complex and one of the best preserved ancient sanctuaries in the world. It has survived to this day thanks to its conversion into a Christian church in the 6th century. Unfortunately, therefore, none of the original ancient interior decoration has survived.

Near the temple there is a statue of Ikarus. The bronze statue has been lying there since 2011 and was part of an exhibition of sculptures by Polish artist Igor Mitoraj. At the time, the sculptures were intended to increase public interest in archaeology. I think it succeeded, because almost all postcards from the Valley of the Temples are with the torso of Icarus. The way the sculpture is displayed on the ground really increases interest. Especially with the children who climb on it.


The temple stands on top of a hill and is dedicated to the traditional patron saint of motherhood and childbirth. A colonnade of columns has been preserved from the temple. It was destroyed by a fire set by the Carthaginians. It was later rebuilt by the Romans. A monumental sacrificial altar was also discovered on the site, on which up to 100 oxen could be sacrificed at once.


This temple was never completed. Partly due to the earthquake or the Carthaginians. However, its interesting feature was that, in addition to the columns, the roof was also supported by huge stone figures called telamones. A copy of one of them, called il Gigante, can be seen inside the archaeological museum. Another giant that once stood here lies on the ground near the temple. It measures 7.75 metres. The giants were not made in one piece, but were composed of stone blocks and then plastered and painted by sculptors.


The shrine stands near the Temple of Zeus. Only four columns have survived to the present day.


The garden is called a natural paradise on earth. The oasis is really very peaceful and you can rest in the shade, relax and recharge your batteries. You will be surrounded by the scent of orange trees, almond trees and olive trees.


Don’t miss a visit to the archaeological museum, which is located a little further away from the whole archaeological area. So when you buy your ticket, you have to decide whether you want to get a ticket just for the site or if you want to visit the museum as well. I think it’s quite a necessity because the museum contains everything that has been found here, but more importantly it puts all the ruins and temples into context for you.


Did you also play the game “The town of Palermo is sleeping” when you were kids? The player’s (Citizen’s) job is to tactically identify the Killers while protecting themselves. I always wanted to be a Detective. He is secretly appointed by the Mayor, knows the name of the killers and subtly helps the Citizens of Palermo. Mostly, though, I was a killer. 🙂

Palermo is a typical southern Mediterranean town that is noisy, busy, loud and lively. It’s a fascinating place that’s made not only for seeing all sorts of sights and attractions, but also for wandering aimlessly through the streets to soak up the unforgettable atmosphere.

Earlier, the local newspapers were filled with news of bloody murders. Fortunately, those are now a thing of the past. If you are interested in this past, you can find more in my article “FOLLOWING THE MAFIA IN SICILY“. Today, Palermo is a relatively safe place to live. At least, I’ve come to find it pretty cool. On the other hand, I’ve encountered some very friendly people here.


The people in Sicily are very friendly and easy-going. They love food. The local street markets offer real delicacies and have an atmosphere reminiscent of African or Arabic markets.

The streets of old Palermo are lined with the local market. Vendors stand by their shops, loudly touting their wares. Naturally, this attracts passers-by to buy. I enjoyed that very much. The smell of vegetables and spices mixes beautifully here. It felt like we were not even in Europe, but rather in the bazaars of the Middle East.


It is a historical jewel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside you can admire the royal tombs. The greatest rulers of Sicily have a place here. But you should focus on the patron saint, St. Rosalia. This Christian saint lived in Sicily in the 12th century and is venerated as a protector against contagious diseases. Her ashes are kept in a silver reliquary. According to legend, when the ashes were brought to the city, it rid them of a plague epidemic.

The square in front of the cathedral is also very nice, decorated with tall palm trees and nicely landscaped hedges.


In the Palatine Chapel, you will discover shining golden mosaics, inlaid marble floors and Arabic carved wooden ceilings resembling stalactites, the so-called MUKARNY. The entire interior is decorated with mosaics illustrating biblical stories from the Old and New Testaments. It is a truly breathtaking sight.


I really enjoyed the side streets off the main promenade. They’re slowly falling apart and basically nobody cares. Even if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll come across street art.

Palermo, steerart


This church is really beautiful and is one of the most important medieval churches of Palermo. It has amazingly sumptuous mosaics that decorate its interior and make it unmistakable. It is said that most young people in Palermo would like to have their wedding here, but the dates are booked months in advance. The whole place is pleasing to the eye and I don’t blame them.


The Church of San Cataldo is an example of Palermo’s typical Arab-Norman style. It is very nice inside. The ceiling has three characteristic red, convex domes (cuboles) and merlons in the Arabic style.

This ancient building even served as a post office in the 18th century. There are also elements of Arabic architecture. On the door, the observant visitor will notice a small Jerusalem cross – the kind pilgrims used to carry to the Holy Land.



This famous fountain is also known by the unflattering name of “fountain of shame“. Why? Because there are several naked statues made of white marble. The Sicilians were so bothered by the nudity that in the past the fountain was even dismantled into 644 pieces by morality advocates to be reassembled. Around the fountain you will find beautiful buildings. It is flanked on one side by the palace with the town hall and on the other by the 16th century Baroque church of the Chiesa di Santa Caterina.


You can visit this small village of Sant’ Elia on your way from Palermo to Cefalu. The shores of this beautiful place are washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The picturesque village is divided into several sections. The most visited part is Sant’Elia, where there is an admirable bay with a crystal-coloured sea.


The town is beautifully situated by the sea under a mountain, which is said to resemble the head of a horse or a donkey. Hence the name cefalu. It didn’t look like that to me. There are a lot of tourists here because Cafalú is on the list of tourist destinations.

I enjoyed just strolling through the streets of the town, peeking into shop windows and browsing the terraces. The romantic narrow cobblestone streets are a perfect invitation. Walking through them, you will feel the true “nostalgic” Italy. The main street of the old town is the narrow but elegant Corso Ruggero. It’s lined with bars, souvenir shops and luxury boutiques. And while the streets of Cephalonia were crowded, surprisingly, that doesn’t detract from the city’s beauty.

Perhaps all of the alleys lead you to the stairs that lead down to the old harbour. There is a nice sandy beach that stretches under the entire old town. For me, it’s the biggest magnet in all of Cefalù. The beach is sandwiched by the old town, and in turn by the massive cliffs with the steep walls of the Rocca di Cefalù.

Don’t forget to check out the old Arab laundry, where ice water flows continuously from the mountains.


And while you’re in Sicily, you have to go see Etna. You can easily go around the volcano. Just the drive to it looks like you’re going to the centre of the earth. You’ll pass towns built out of lava, but you’ll also find incredibly fertile landscapes where the land is separated by walls. Don’t forget that it’s cold and windy at the top, so dress warmly.


This sensual town is said to be the most beautiful and lively town on the island. They say that anyone who hasn’t been to Taormina is like someone who hasn’t been to Sicily. I really liked the town too, but I have to admit that after we’d toured Sicily, I probably liked it the least. Why? There were too many tourists for my taste, unnecessarily overpriced, but on the other hand you can find very nice views here.

Piazza IX. Aprile is a place where many people gather to enjoy the magnificent views.

The Piazza IX observation deck is one of the places to stop for a while. Aprile. In addition to the stunning views of the coastline with its famous beach and the Isola Bella peninsula, you can also take a look at the Chiesa Sant’Agostino on the terrace.

The streets here are very nicely decorated. You’ll find nice boutiques selling jewellery made from Etna stone. So you can maybe make yourself happy like I did.


Bam Bar is a cute little café-bar in the historic centre of Taormina, just a few steps from the famous Corso Umberto, and the right place to sit down, relax and refresh after a two-hour walk. I unfortunately didn’t do that because it was totally packed. And why did I want to go there so badly? Well, because the second season of White Lotus – Series 2 was being filmed here 🙂


A must-see in Taormina is the remains of the ancient Greek theatre Teatro Greco, which has been reconstructed and is still in popular use today. It has great acoustics and amazing views of the city or surrounding countryside. The theatre has been slightly converted into a Roman amphitheatre to host popular gladiator fights. It seated up to nearly 20,000 spectators. At the time, the building was the second largest of its type in Sicily, after the one in Syracuse.


Catania is a city where you might fly in like me. It’s kind of the gateway to Sicily. So there’s an international airport just outside the city and Europe’s largest volcano just around the corner. So I thought it would smack of a tourist mega-hurricane. But Catania really isn’t. A lot of people just think of Catania as a transfer station.


This square will be a focal point for you, as you will find many monuments here. I wasn’t as fascinated by the city as other Sicilian cities. Perhaps the ubiquitous grey of the houses added to that.
The Fontana dell’Elefante, with its black lava elephant and Egyptian obelisk, can be found in the centre of Piazza del Duomo. You may wonder why Catania has something that looks more like the Middle East than Europe. The explanation is simple. The Muslims who lived in Catania called the city Balad-el-fil, which translates to City of the Elephant.


There is, however, a truly beautiful Baroque cathedral that you won’t want to miss in the Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Agatha, the patron saint of the city.
Legend has it that Agatha was able to stop the flow of flowing lava with her veil. They thanked Agatha for this feat by throwing her to the lions. As the saying goes, “For goodness sake, to the beggar.”


Every alley in Catania is unique! Some of the alleys reminded me more of Cuba. But even here you can find street art, which I try to discover in every city.


Locals like to go to restaurants for dinner, which is considered a social event. And what makes Sicilian cuisine special? It’s in its simplicity. No mixing of flavours, no unpredictable combinations, a few tried and tested ingredients and that’s it. Its charm lies above all in the freshness of the food. I think there’s still a concept of seasonal ingredients. I found the menu in the restaurants to be pretty much the same, of course the restaurants differed because of the skill of the chefs.

The most famous Sicilian speciality is probably the ARANCINI, which you can get in bars all over the island. These are fried rice balls or lobsters stuffed with meat ragout or ham and mozzarella.

Another must-try specialty is the sweet CANNOLI. These are delicate tubes. The dough is made with plain flour, pork fat, sugar and red wine. The tubes are filled with sweet ricotta, which is a wonderful sheep’s curd that you can eat both sweet and salty.

What do I enjoy most about tasting local food? I’m convinced that some things should only be eaten in their place of origin. And that’s because sometimes no matter what you do, you’ll never get the local flavour. I think freshness is also important.

What can be a big surprise for most tourists? Most restaurants don’t open until after 7pm. During the day, you can refresh yourself in the local bars. Well, even the lunch menu seems to me to be related to the Sicilian way of life. The siesta starts at 1pm and lasts two to three hours. So if you want to relax like the locals, the best time is between one and four, which is the time of the siesta, which is holy.


Ceramics can be found on almost every corner in Sicily. Majolica, which is Italian pottery decorated with a tin glaze in dazzling colours, is widespread on the island. This method of decorating pottery was brought to Sicily in the Middle Ages by Arabs from North Africa. Majolica then spread from the island to the whole of Italy. However, Sicilian pottery is never the same – it varies in style, colour and motifs.

The ceramics are decorated mostly with deep blue or green colours, delicate shades of yellow and here and there a red detail. As a souvenir, you can buy painted tiles, various figures or utilitarian ceramics such as colourful vases, cups or plates. However, I was attracted by the famous Sicilian heads. An ancient story tells of a Sicilian maid who cut off the head of her Moorish lover who lied to her, yet had a wife at home. She then used his head as a pot for her basil.

The symbol of Sicily is the Trinacria, which depicts a female head with wings and three legs. The legs folded into a triangle symbolise the triangular shape of the island and the three provinces into which the island was divided in the past. This symbol can be found on various signs with the names of shops and bars. You can take these heads home in the form of pottery.

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