Little Hotels in Sicily
Reasons to visit Sicily
Sicily has been a stopping-off point for many great civilisations, and they have all left their architectural mark on the island. First came the Greeks, and their classical temples and amphitheatres still stand in many quarters. Then came the Romans, who layered on more architectural masterpieces. Perhaps more unexpected are the Normans, who built castles and churches, and founded the kingdom of Sicily. More recently Baroque architecture thrived on Sicily and there are great examples of these elaborate buildings in every town and city. Beyond architecture, the countryside of Sicily is beautiful and surprisingly verdant.
Like any island, Sicily has a close association with the sea. There are beaches in abundance but also mile after mile of craggy, rocky, breathtaking coastline. Small fishing villages abound, each one that unique Italian village atmosphere.
The Mediterranean climate endows the coastal regions of Sicily with mild, occasionally wet winters and hot, dry summers. The Scirocco wind from Africa can sometimes raise mid-summer temperatures to 40°C though sea breezes and the Mistral wind blowing from the north-west will have a cooling effect to moderate the summer temperatures most of the time. In the mountainous interior of the island temperatures are hot in summer but cold in winter. It is common to see snow lying on distant mountains while basking in pleasantly warm temperatures near the coast.
Mount Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano are all active volcanoes that add an extra dimension to attractions of a visit to Sicily. It is not just the smoke, ash and occasional lava that characterise the volcanic nature of Sicily and its offshore islands. The volcanic origins also provide the fertile soil that grows figs, citrus fruits, capers and herbs, and ancient rocks have been sculpted by the intervening millennia into fabulous scenery with basaltic canyons, lakes and waterfalls of pure fresh water tumbling off the mountains. Most times, visitors are able to climb to the top of the volcanoes and experience the elemental forces of nature beneath their feet, though care should always be taken to follow local guidance.