The stunning island of Sicily is one of our newest destinations for summer 2017, and it’s certainly one of the most charming too. With its beautiful beaches, ancient architecture and picturesque piazzas, what’s not to fall in love with? It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, but is it somewhere you’ve ever thought of visiting? As it’s a new destination for us, you might not know too much about it. So I’ve been doing a bit of research (partly for myself!) and have come up with 16 things you probably didn’t know about Sicily.
1) It’s the largest island in the Mediterranean, spanning 10,000m² and taking about three and a half hours to drive from east to west.
2) It’s home to the tallest active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna; standing at 10,890 feet. (Should I mention it’s also one of the most active in the world? No? Let’s brush over that…)
3) The island has many different types of beach, from rocky to sandy; six of which have been awarded Blue Flag status.
4) Sicily boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the most recent of which is Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Cefalù and Monreale, listed in 2015.
5) Despite what you might think, The Godfather wasn’t actually filmed in Corleone. The majority was filmed in and around Taormina.
6) It’s more than acceptable to eat ice cream for breakfast. It’s something that the locals do and, don’t forget, you’re on holiday!
7) In Sicily, you’ll find the most amazing pistachios you’ve ever tasted. And, while we’re on the subject, it’d be a crime not to taste them in either ice cream or a mouth-watering cannolo.
8) If you love nature, you’ll be excited to hear that you’ll find the world’s largest and oldest chestnut tree on the island. The Hundred Horse Chestnut is aged between 2,000 and 4,000 years.
9) The island’s fascinating Greek ruins rival even those found in Greece! Some of the best-preserved ones can be found in and around Syracuse, Taormina and Agrigento.
10) Sicily knows how to do sardines. And one of the most popular dishes to sample them in is Palermo’s iconic ‘pasta con le sarde’. Delicious.
11) There are loads of great things to do in Sicily, including island hopping and visiting the impressive Valley of the Temples.
12) It’s considered to be a year-round destination, thanks to its Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters.
13) The capital city of Palermo has been named ‘the Culture Capital of Italy’ for 2018.
14) Palermo has also been given the title of ‘the European Capital of Street Food’, so make sure you head there to experience incredible foods to tantalise your taste buds.
15) While in Sicily, you can visit the largest theatre and opera house in all of Italy; Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele.
16) There are only one and a half miles separating Sicily from Italy’s mainland.