City Guides

Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana’s Guide to Sicily

It’s hard to imagine Sicily’s island charm and characteristic blend of ancient history, culture, scenery, and renaissance until you witness it for yourself. It is a cultural melting pot; 10,000 years of inhabitation met with conquests and empires complimented by ethereal gothic, baroque, and medieval influences manifested in the architectural landscape. The Sicilian community of 5 million sits at the southern tip of the country; the nearest neighbor being northern Africa or the coast situated near the ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot. The Caribbean-like water glistens around the island with white sand beaches while the cobblestone lanes and orange-tree covered countryside charms all manner of visitor.

Immerse yourself in the medieval towns of the east and the archeological parks in the west or consider stopping into the bazaar-like markets in Palermo before discovering nature reserves, rocky coastlines, and hidden ancient shipwrecks. Exuding coastal luxury and European ease, Sicily’s fresh cuisine, street-food, culture, and wine make it a destination that has anything you could ask for out of an Italian sojourn.

Here, iconic duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, whose collections have been inspired by the region decade after decade, break down the ultimate insider’s guide to La Bella Sicilia.

WEATHER

The summer months will be the hottest and driest while the weather will level out to a more manageable temperature by September. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has the classic climate of hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Catania gets the most hours of sunshine out of any city in Europe while the mountainous regions of the island tend to get the highest rainfall. Expect high humidity levels in the summer with air and sea temperatures ranging averages between 23-27°C/73-80°F.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Italy is a year-round tourist destination, with the summers being peak season. The sea begins to heat well enough in May and will maintain a decent temperature until September. For those looking to avoid high humid days and large tourist crowds, head here around late May or in September.

HOW TO GET HERE

The main airport in Sicily is the Catania Airport. Many of the luxury hotels have direct transfers from the airport, which makes transportation seamless. Other options include taking private transportation or taxicabs. There are also airports in Palermo and Trapani.

WHAT TO WEAR

Curated by LEO, sponsored by

EAST & SOUTHEAST SICILY

Situated on the Eastern Tyrrhenian coast, full of Greek history and baroque-influenced medieval towns. Best known cities include Noto, Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Siracusa/Ortigia, Cantania, and Taormina

LAY OF THE LAND

CATANIA
Found at the foot of Mt Etna, Catania is a port city with incredible seafood and beautiful scenery. Locals flock to the Piazza del Duomo (the local square) and the weekday fish market, while visitors are particularly drawn to the Riveria Dei Ciclopi, a beautiful coastline of what used to be a fishing village. Now turned top tourism destination in the area, its history is rooted in mythology due to its place in the famed Odyssey. Catania offers many archeological sites such as the Odeon, Roman thermal baths, an ampitheatre, and the Church of St. Francis, to name a few.

PALERMO
The capital of Sicily, known for its unique blend of ancient culture and influence.

IONIAN SEA
A bay of the Mediterranean Sea that bounds southern Italy and the Greek west coast, connected to the Adriatic Sea. 

SIRACUSA/ORTIGIA
A 2700 year-old UNESCO World Heritage site located on the Ionian coast of Sicily, known for its many ancient ruins. During its prime, it was the largest city in the ancient world. It is culturally significant due to its ancient Roman, Greek and Baroque history and presence of architecture and archeology. Enjoy all the ancient ruins before taking a ride into the city center, Ortigia: an island and the historical city centre of Siracusa, with incredible beaches and fresh cuisine. A must see is the Temple of Apollo—the oldest Doric temple in Western Europe that dates to 6th century BC. Art enthusiasts should visit the church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro to see a painting by Michelangelo Caravaggio, titled The Burial of St Lucia.

TAORMINA
A prosperous town under Greek and Roman rule until it was conquered by the Normans, this small coastal village is perched on a rocky hillside near Mt Etna, and was founded in the 4th century BC. It is home to the famed Teatro Antico, which is still in use today. Take advantage of a walking tour along the lively main street, Corso Umberto 1, and browse the town’s best sites: shops and restaurants; the gothic-style Church of St Agostino—founded after the city survived the plague; the baroque-style Church of San Guiseppe—built in the late 1600s; and the Porta Di Mezzo Watch Tower.

WHERE TO STAY

DIMORA DELLA BALZE

“A beautiful 19th-century estate turned into incredible Sicilian accommodations. The estate is located between Noto and Siracusa and has 11 rooms, each curated with its own theme and story. Stables and a large courtyard surround the estate, while the interior consists of inspired frescos from the Italian renaissance, classical style columns, and incredible stone walls. The hotel has an on-site spa, saltwater pool, fitness area, and private historical tours to Noto, Siracusa, and Ragusa. We highly recommend checking out when one of their cooking lab series are available as it can be a fun, unique experience.”

Dimora Della Balze on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Dimora Della Balze
Dimora Della Balze on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Dimora Della Balze

SS287, 96017 / Noto SR, Italy / 39 327 9064756

HOTEL BORGO PANTANO

“For those longing to relax and embrace the easy-going atmosphere that only Italy can provide, this boutique countryside hotel provides a unique design blend of Sicilian local art with a minimal aesthetic. The rooms have different styles and approaches due to the use of art pieces from local artisans. Relax among the hammocks by the pool, as you inhale the citrus scent coming from the orange trees in the garden. A perfect Sicilian paradise.

Hotel Borgo Pantano on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Borgo Pantano
Hotel Borgo Pantano on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Borgo Pantano

Traversa Fontana Mortella / 13, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy / 39 0931 721993

PRINCIPE DI FITALIA

“This 5-star luxury resort has everything to accommodate families: two outdoor swimming pools, spa/wellness programs for couples, a playground for kids, activity classes and adventure opportunities, a lounge, snack bar, and restaurant all while being in a superb location. Interested in horseback riding classes or trying out some diving/snorkeling? How about a Turkish bath and ice cave in the luxury spa? That is all available to you here.”

Principe Di Fitalia on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Principe di Fitalia
Principe Di Fitalia on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Principe di Fitalia

Via Traversa Tonnara di Terrauzza / 51, 96100, Siracusa (SR), Italy / 39 0931 485064

DONNA CORALY RESORT

“Experience refined luxury in this ancient farmhouse-turned-mansion that is renovated to perfection. This boutique hotel offers six upscale suites with a private garden or patio, in addition to a lush botanical garden, bio-swimming pool and park. The restaurant overlooks the gorgeous courtyard and has a menu of locally-inspired cuisine with fresh vegetables, olive oil, and immense flavor. This is the perfect spot for those that are craving an intimate experience with hints of luxury minimalism.”

Donna Coraly Resort on Leo edit.
Photo Courtesy of Donna Coraly Resort
Donna Coraly Resort on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Donna Coraly Resort

Contrada, Traversa S. Michele / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy / 39 338 6376121

VILLA SANT’ANDREA, A BELMOND HOTEL, TAORMINA MARE

“For those that want to enjoy a cerulean-hued coastal view and a little, or a lot, of romance. This stunning seaside hotel offers a secluded retreat among one of Sicily’s most beautiful private beaches. The building itself was built in 1919 by an aristocratic Sicilian family, so expect gorgeous décor, an incredible view, and a lavish feel in each of the 71 rooms. The hotel has a fine dining restaurant (Ristorante Oliviero), a private beach and bar, infinity swimming pool, boutique, gym, and spa/wellness centre for guests to enjoy.” 

Villa Sant'Andrea, a Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Villa Sant’Andrea
Villa Sant'Andrea, a Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Villa Sant’Andrea

Via Nazionale 137 98039 / Mare, ME, Italy / 39 0185 2353453

GRAND HOTEL TIMEO, A BELMOND HOTEL, TAORMINA

“Easily one of the most luxurious resorts in Sicily, the Grand Hotel Timeo overlooks Mt. Etna and the Ionian coastline. The hotel is equipped with a wellness center and spa, great restaurants, and offers day trips. The hotel also offers many different types of experience opportunities that guests are able to book with the front desk. This all-in-one accommodation is perfect for those that want upscale travel made easy. Leave the day trip planning to the hotel and embrace nothing but Italian wine and ease.”  

Grand Hotel Timeo, a Belmond Hotel, Taormina on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel Timeo
Grand Hotel Timeo, a Belmond Hotel, Taormina on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel Timeo

Via Teatro Greco / 59, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy / 39 0942 6270200

LA PLAGE RESORT

“A great spot for landscape and nature lovers. Find a breathtaking getaway in the heart of the Isola Bella Nature Reserve, a small island in Taormina. Head here to bask in the view of bright turquoise-hued water and admire the charm of an Italian cliffside terrain. La Plage resort hosts a large Beach Club (over 200 chairs) that has both bar and luxury services for pampering. The on-site restaurant, Fusion, has classic Mediterranean cuisine made with local ingredients.” 

La Plage Resort on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of La Plage Resort
La Plage Resort on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of La Plage Resort

Via Nazionale, 107 / A, 98039 Isola Bella, Taormina ME, Italy / 39 0942 626095

GRAND HOTEL ATLANTIS BAY

“From your private terrace, you can see the olive trees and cliff landscape in the near distance. Trust us when we say this is a dreamy view and the foundation of the perfect romantic Italian getaway. From the light and airy ambiance, the exposed beams and stone walls, this hotel defines luxurious Italian living. This is definitely somewhere we advise you to take someone special. The Ippocampo Restaurant on location is available when you are craving a dreamy Italian inspired dinner or refreshing breakfast with a waterfront view. For fun and enjoyment, the Dioniso Bar prepares unique, locally-inspired cocktails or a classic glass of local wine. The pool, beach bar, and spa are available for guests to relax in the way that suits them best before going out and exploring all the area of Taormina has to offer.”

Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay
Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay

Via Nazionale, 161, 98030 / Taormina ME, Italy / 39 0942 618011

LANDMARKS

BASILICA DI SAN SALVATORE, NOTO

“This church and monastery was designed in the 1700s and then rebuilt after the 1693 Sicilian earthquake. Its aesthetic is a classic baroque style of architecture—decorative, detailed, and theatrical.” 

Basilica Di San Salvatore, Noto on LEO edit.

Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 128 / 96017 Noto SR, Italy

DUOMO DI NOTO

“A stunning Roman Catholic cathedral with vast history, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra. Originally, the cathedral was built in the early 18th century with full completion in 1776; however, it suffered a collapse in 1996 due to timely wilting of its structure post earthquake an in 1990. The cathedral you see today is a reconstructed version that first opened in 2007. It is characterized by a gorgeous pale yellow limestone exterior and has four saint statues in the front. The interior was destroyed during the collapse and now is painted white.”

Duomo Di Noto on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia
Duomo Di Noto on Leo edit.

Cathedral, Piazza del Municipio / 96017 Noto SR, Italy

PALAZZO NICOLACI DI VILLADORATA

“A palace that is a former home to one of the wealthiest Sicilian families in the 18th century. It boasts a unique interior with 90 fresco-decorated rooms. The palace is a preservationist’s dream: guests are able to figuratively time travel as they enjoy the distinctive baroque furnishings, and wonder at the many mythological creatures found in the frescos. Currently, the palace hosts the public library that has Latin and Spanish manuscripts.”

Palazzo Nicolaci Di Villadorata on LEO edit.
Palazzo Nicolaci Di Villadorata on LEO edit.

Via Corrado Nicolaci, 20 / 96017 Noto SR, Italy

CIRCOLO DI CONVERSAZIONE


“A medieval gentlemen’s club where aristocrats mingle. Beautiful textured red walls, medieval chandeliers, and highly decorative antique mirrors define the interior. It has a ballroom, library, and fascinating ceiling art.”

Circolo Di Conversazione

Alloro, 5 / 97100 Ragusa RG, Italy / 39 0932 229099

TEATRO DONNAFUGATA

“A beautiful and intimate antique local theatre which mimics the look of a large Italian opera house in smaller form. This theatre was originally built as part of a noble family’s home (the Arezzo family). You are able to view the theatre during one of its year-round performances or via a walking tour.”

Teatro Donnafugata on LEO edit.

Via Pietro Novelli, 5 / 97100 Ragusa RG, Italy

DUOMO DI SIRACUSA

“A cathedral built in the 7th century over the Doric-style temple of Athena. It is a blend of ancient Greek and Roman history, making it a particularly significant landmark. After the earthquake in 1693, the cathedral was rebuilt with baroque influence.”

Duomo Di Siracusa on LEO edit.

Piazza Duomo, 5 / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

FONTE ARETUSA

“A natural fountain that is referenced in many ancient literary works and mythology. Greek mythology believes that the ancient nymph Arethusa, with the help of Goddess Artemis, turned into the fountain after escaping Arcadia. Now, visitors are able to enjoy the site and bask in mythological wonder.” 

Fonte Aretusa on LEO edit.

Largo Aretusa / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

CASTELLO MANIANCE

“A stunning stonewalled castle that is located at the far point of Ortigia; constructed by the Emperor Frederick II between the years of 1232 and 1240. Its blend of baroque and 13th-century architecture makes it a must-see when in the area. The castle is also a military fort: it was a cannon site during the Napoleonic wars.”

Castello Maniance on LEO edit.

Castello Maniace, 51 / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

GIUDECCA DISTRICT

“The original Jewish quarter until their expulsion in 1492. It is a historical area that had a synagogue (now the church of San Giovanni Battista) and is known for its ritual mikvah (baths). The baths are a hidden underground experience that provide a glimpse into the largest and oldest Jewish baths in Europe, dating back to 6th century BC.”

Giudecca District on LEO edit.

Via della Giudecca / Siracusa

PORTA DI MEZZO WATCH TOWER

“The 12th-century landmark that separates the Hellenistic and Classical parts of Taormina. The French troops of Louis XIV eventually destroyed it in the late 1600s before it was rebuilt. It is believed that the foundation of the clock is built on ruins of defensive walls in 4th century BC.”

Porta Di Mezzo Watch Tower on LEO edit.

Located at the intersection of Corso Umberto and Via Don Giovanni Bosco, Taormina

MT. ETNA

“Europe’s largest volcano; currently showing signs of major volcanic activity since Feb. 2021. It is under strict watch due to its levels of activity and it most recently erupted in June 2021. Not all of Etna’s eruptions are dangerous, though. Many of the eruptions have a flow that will cool before reaching any centre of inhabitation; however, it is still wise not to get near an eruption without a guide. The volcano is also home to vineyards and known for producing red wine since ancient times. “

Mt. Etna on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Blueplace/Getty Images

Mt Etna / 95031 Adrano / Province of Catania, Italy

ARCHEOLOGY SITES

PARCHO ARCHEOLOGICO DELLA NEAPOLIS

“A famous archeological site in Siracusa. It features ancient Greek Church, theatre, and artifacts.” 

Parcho Archelogico Della Neapolis on LEO edit.

Via del Teatro Greco / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy / 39 0931 4508258

TEATRO GRECO

“Overlooking the city, the Greek Theatre is from 5th century BC and is one of the largest ancient theatres in the world. It is said to be the venue of ancient Greek tragedies and works of famed Greek playwright, Aeschylus. Located inside the archeological park. “

Teatro Greco on LEO edit.

Via Luigi Bernabo Brea / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

ORECCHIO DI DIONISIO

“This is a limestone cave, which literally translates to “The Ear of Dionysius,” located inside the archeological park. Italian painter, Michelangelo Caravaggio, coined the name in 1608 because it resembles the shape of an ear and due to the echo effect inside the cave.” 

Orecchio Di Dionisio on LEO edit.

Via Ettore Romagnoli / 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy / 39 0931 1756232

TEATRO ANTICO DI TAORMINA

“An amphitheatre from the early Roman Empire; made for gladiators and is the third largest amphitheatre in Italy, next to the Colosseum of course. It was built between the 4th and 5th century BC. “

Teatro Antico Di Taormina on LEO edit.

Via Luigi Bernabò Brea, 14 /96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

ARA DI LERONE ALTAR OF HIERON

“The Altar of Hieron dates back to the Hellenistic period (the in-between time after Alexander the Great’s death and the beginning of the Roman Empire). Built by King Hiero II for the purpose of sacrifices, it is one of the largest ancient alters and one of the most popular sites to visit in the Archeological Park.” 

Ara Di Lerone Altar of Hieron on LEO edit.

Via Luigi Bernabò Brea, 14 /96100 Siracusa SR, Italy

FOR THE BEST GRANITA

CAFÉ SICILIA

“This is the spot to try the best granita in Sicily. Granita, a frozen dessert made from sugar, water, and flavor, is similar to a sorbet but is known for having a different texture. This family-owned shop is the picture-perfect destination for coffee, a brioche, and for enjoying an authentic Italian café experience.”

Café Sicilia on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Panian/Netflix

Corso Vittorio Emanuele 125 / 96017, Noto, Sicily Italy / 39 0931 835013WHE

DAY TRIPS

NOTO

“Noto is an UNESCO world heritage city found at the foot of the Iblean Mountains, particularly famous for its stunning baroque architecture and ancient charm. Current day Noto is the result of reconstruction due to the city being destroyed during a famous earthquake in 1693. See the Basilica i San Salvatore, the Duomo di Noto and Palazzo Nicolaci di illadorata as some of the main sites.”

Noto on LEO edit.

RAGUSA IBLA

“The lower old medieval town in the city of Ragusa. About 80 minutes out from the hotel Dimora della Balze, this town is bustling with charm with its many baroque-style buildings, archeological museum, churches, and medieval lanes. Be sure to visit Duomo, a Michelin-star graded restaurant in the heart of old Ibla. Opt for a tasting menu to get the full experience.”

Ragusa Ibla on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Slow Images/Getty Images

MODICA

“Gentlemen, be sure to head here with your spouse—or bring her home treats! Similar to Ibla, Modica is another picturesque medieval town. It is a particularly popular spot due to its Chocolate Museum and vast history of chocolate making. The chocolate recipe here dates back to the Aztecs and the making process was originally learnt from when Spanish conquistadors brought it to the area in the 15th century. Modica is surrounded by the Hyblaean Mountains and is home to many cathedrals.”

Modica on LEO edit.

VENDICARI

“A nature reserve found in the south of Noto. It is a combination of sandy beaches, clear salt-water, lagoons, and rocky coastlines. You may encounter birds migrating by, depending on when you visit. For example, guests may see storks and flamingos during the fall and ducks, mallards, seagulls in the winter. The area also has some ancient remains to visit such as a 15th-century tower (Torre Sveva) and the tuna fishery (Tonnara). “

Vendicari on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Visit Sicily

Contrada Vendicari / 96017 Noto SR, Italy / 39 0931 468879

MARZAMEMI

“A small and charismatic seaside village known for its expertise in fishing. Marzamemi specializes in producing fish such as canned tuna, anchovies, dried tuna, smoked swordfish, and seafood condiments. Head here to try amazing seafood and enjoy lively restaurants, boutiques, bars, and coastal views. Film aficionados should head here in July; the town hosts an International Film Festival during this time.”

Marzamemi on LEO edit.

WEST SICILY

Known for beautiful turquoise-water and white sand beaches, bazaar-inspired markets, rocky coastlines, and archeology. Best known areas include Palermo, Mondello, Monreale, Segesta and Erice, Egadi Islands, Mozia, Selinute, Agrigento, and Sciaccia.

LAY OF THE LAND

PALERMO
“Sicily’s incomparable capital! Thousands of years of history are weaved throughout Palermo—dating back to influences from ancient empires such as the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Spanish, Greek, French, German, and, of course, Romans. The city is home to many sites, such as the Cathedral dedicated to Virgin Mary, the Museum Diocesano, and Orto Botanico. Stroll along the main street of Palermo, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, and you’ll find the iconic city gates, Porta Nuova and Porta Felice. Nearby is Quattro Canti, a central square, where you will see a celebrated fountain in Piazza Pretoria. These sites offer a wealth of ethnic influence and antiquity that define Palermo’s role as a cross-cultural destination throughout history. Palermo is also the capital of street food so be sure to grab bread, panelle (chickpea fritters), sfincione (Sicilian style pizza), and arancini (rice balls) to enjoy all the pleasures Sicily has to offer. Top your taste buds off with brioche, delicious pastries, and, of course, gelato to get the full cuisine experience. Palermo is one of the warmest European cities due to its warm nights—an evening dessert and gelato outing is more than necessary! Our orders.”

TYRRHENNIAN SEA
A sea that intersects where Eurasian and African plates meet. The area has an important cultural history, as it was an ancient source of international trade, allowing ships to travel to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

WHERE TO STAY

VILLA IGIEA, A ROCCO FORTE HOTEL

“Glamour meets antiquity at this stunning seaside sanctuary. Villa Igiea Hotel is home to 78 rooms, 22 suites, Carrara marble detail, and features top artisanship in all its furnishings. The hotel has a large wellness centre with an outdoor pool, gym, treatment rooms, and beauty corner. For dining, there are three options onsite: Florio restaurant, Igiea Terraza Bar, and the Alicetta Pool Bar.”

Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Villa Igiea
Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Villa Igiea

Salita Belmonte 43, 90142 / Palermo PA, Italy / 39 091 6312111

DIMORA CALA DEL POZZO

“Upscale living meets rural Italian charm in this boutique hotel on the island of Favignana. With its modern farmhouse design, it has eight distinctive rooms, each with their own unique features. The Euphorbia room has a private terrace overlooking the sea whereas other rooms may have a lush botanical view of the gardens. The hotel has an organic farm, the Terre Del Favonio Farm, where they harvest olives, wheat, and pasta as well as having free-range hens, bees, and many herb varieties. Guests can expect delicious Italian homemade cakes, sweets, bread, coffee, tea and organic local products as breakfast options. Surrounded by an incredible coastline and azure colored sea, this hotel takes pride in offering Sicilian hospitality in a luxe countryside environment.”

Dimora Cala Del Pozzo on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Dimora Cala Del Pozzo
Dimora Cala Del Pozzo on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Dimora Cala Del Pozzo

C.da Pozzo Vecchio / 91023 Favignana TP, Italy / 39 0923 921535

VERDURA RESORT

“The perfect resort to do-it-all amongst the Mediterranean coastline. The Verdura Resort has over 230 hectares of countryside accompanied by eco-architecture, fine dining, and opportunities for golf, spa, watersports, and children’s entertainment. Relax at the 60-metre infinity pool and private beach while enjoying gelato from the pool bar menu or opt for one of the culinary class experiences they have to offer. With endless options for activity, experience, learning, and wellness, this is a wonderful luxury getaway for the whole family. The resort is also particularly great for offering varied day trips.” (See more under Day Trips below.)

Verdura Resort on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Verdura Resort
Verdura Resort on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Verdura Resort

S.S. 115, Km 131 / 92019 Sciacca AG, Italy / 39 0925 998001

LANDMARKS

PALAZZO DEI NORMANNI

“This palace, home to many Kings of Sicily, is the prime example of the unique architecture of the area. The oldest royal building in Europe, this palace is a blend between Byzantine, Norman, and Arab architectural design. One of the most famous sites in the palace is the Palatine Chapel that is covered in mosaics with hints of Islamic architecture at the ceiling. The Chapel blends each architectural style, which is why the design is so unique. The overall interior is regal with beautiful mosaics while the exterior exudes the kind of frill that one would associate with an ancient king.”

Palazzo Del Normanni on LEO edit.

Piazza Indipendenza, 1 / 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

CATTEDRALE DI PALERMO

“A breathtaking cathedral that marries Norman, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture into one building. It is formally dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and its history is carved into its design features. In the interior, guests will find a Latin cross, a crypt that is home to many tombs and sarcophagi from Roman, Byzantine, and Norman times, while an exterior column has an inscription from the Qur’an. The cathedral is also home to many ancient treasures, such as the gold tiara of Constance of Aragon, along with many other types of 16th and 18th-century jewels and objects.”

Cattedrale Di Palermo on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Ryan Sandorff

Via Vittorio Emanuele / 90134 Palermo PA, Italy/ 39 091 334373

MERCATO DEL CAPO

“A bustling and lively market in Palermo. Stroll the streets for local Sicilian food, delectable spices, and admire the many fish options offered throughout the market. Visitors will find many butchers in the market with fish, lobsters, and even giant octopus. This bazaar-like market is colourful and vibrant, making it a wonderful mid-day stop for a bite. “

Mercato Del Capo on LEO edit.

Via Cappuccinelle / 90138 Palermo PA, Italy

MUSEO DIOCESANO

?A museum in Palermo dedicated to religious art and located near the cathedral. It is home to many ancient art pieces and relics from the Norman and Swabian era, Archaic age, as well as the Byzantine and medieval eras.”

Museo Diocesano on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Museo Diocesano

Via Matteo Bonello, 2 / 90134 Palermo PA, Italy

ORTO BOTANICO DI PALERMO

“A beautiful botanical garden and research center in Palermo. It is home to an aquarium, greenhouses, an herbarium, and gene bank. It covers approximately 30 acres on red soil and features 12,000 different species.”

Orto Botanico Di Palermo on LEO edit.

Via Lincoln, 2 / 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

SANTA MARIA DEL’AMMIRAGLIO/LA MARTORANA

“George of Antioch, a Green Orthodox admiral in the 12th century, built this famous church, which is celebrated for having many influences of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, in addition to baroque marble and fresco details. It was designated a world heritage site in 2015.”

Santa Maria Del'Ammiraglio / La Martorana on LEO edit.

Piazza Bellini, 3 / 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

AGOSTINO PEPOLI REGIONAL MUSEUM

“A local museum that features archeology, local history, and art. It is divided up into five sections: paintings, industrial art, renaissance sculpture, marble/stone works, and collectibles from the Risorgimento.”

Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum on LEO edit.

Via Conte Agostino Pepoli, 180 / 91100 Trapani TP, Italy

ARCHEOLOGY SITES

AGRIGENTO/ VALLI DEI TEMPLI

“Agreigento is a hilltop city that is a giant archeological site and features the famous Valley of the Temples—an UNESCO protected Greek site that includes seven Doric-style temples dedicated to Concordia, Hera Lacinia, Asclepius, Heracles, Dioscuri, Hephaestus, and the Olympeion field. Located on the outskirts of the city is the Regional Archeological Museum where guests can visit to view more artifacts and cultural findings from the area.”

Agrigento / Valli Dei Templi on LEO edit.

SEGESTA/ SELINUNTE

“Located on the slopes of Mt Barbaro, Segesta is an ancient classical city and archeological park that is now home to extremely well-preserved Greek ruins. The history of the area is rooted in trade relations in Hellenistic and Roman times. Visitors come to admire the 5th century Doric style temple as well as the ancient (2nd-3rd) century theatre. The Segesta Theatre is approximately 63 metres in diameter and built by rock and limestone. Here, you will also find the Sanctuary of Mango. Inside the sanctuary features many sacred buildings with inscriptions, columns, and pottery collections dating back to 5th century BC. Selinunte is just as impressive and has remains of three temples.”

Segesta / Selinunte on LEO edit.

BEACHES

MONDELLO BEACH

“Soak in all the seaside views Sicily has to offer! Mondello is an alluring white sand beach with textbook bright cerulean waters. Visitors will experience a striking mix between a tropical ambiance and romantic Italian flair. The beach is only 10km from Palermo, making it the perfect pit-stop post city. The beach can get very crowded with locals and travellers in the heart of summer season, so plan your visit accordingly.”

Mondello Beach on LEO edit.

SAN VITA LO CAPO BEACH

“Tucked into the northwest corner of Sicily, near the Zingaro Nature Reserve, is San Vito Lo Capo: a small commune known for one of the island’s most tranquil beaches overlooking Mount Monaco. The town center hosts a 15th century fortress, Santuario di San Vito, which features architecture that is heavily Arab-Norman influenced.””

San Vita Lo Capo Beach on LEO edit.

MOZIA/ SAN PANTALEO

“Mozia (Motya) is a small ancient city on the island of San Pantaleo with trade history dating back 2700 years to the Carthaginians. There is an abundance of archeology ruins here to explore in addition to a museum. The museum features a well-known Greek marble statue that is called the Youth of Mozia, as well as many ancient artefacts. The area is also a beautiful place to solo explore due to its beauty and unusual ambiance. The island and area, in general, is also famously known for its wine production—specifically Marsala wine.”

Mozia / San Pantaleo on LEO edit.

DAY TRIPS

TRAPANI

“Trapani is a city and municipality in Sicily that is a port city for fishing as well as travel to the Egadi Islands. The area is known for importing salt, coral, Marsala wine, and marble. The city aesthetic is baroque style, as its ancient roots are not preserved. It is full of churches (most notably the Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio) and is particularly famous for its Easter processions. One of the best sites to visit is the museum, Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum, that focuses on art, local history, and archeology.” 

Trapani on LEO edit.

MONREALE

“A small town in the general metropolitan area of Palermo; known for its abundance of olive, orange, and almond trees. Monreale also has a beautiful 12th-century cathedral that blends Arab, Norman, and Byzantine designs.”

Monreale on LEO edit.

ERICE

“A small medieval town in the Trapani region in southern Italy. It is a quant and welcoming little village, famed for having almond pastries. When visiting, be sure to also try the marzipan. The main landmark to see here is The Castle di Venere, built by the Normans. The castle includes a 12th century Norman fortress, Fortezza Di Venere, that is built on a Roman temple. Additionally, the Duomo dell’Assunta is another beautiful site to visit. It is a classic example of Gothic architecture with signature limestone dating back to the 15th century.”

Erice on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Visit Sicily

CEFALU

“Cefalu is a picturesque medieval village on the northern coast of the island. Its antique ambiance and original architecture attract a flock of international tourists to visit each year. The city is easy to spot from far: there is a 270-metre landmark rock in its background. The rock, also known as the ‘promontory of Hercules by the ancient Phoenicians, is home to the Temple of Diana. Other spots to visit include a beautiful Norman cathedral as well as a medieval washhouse and the Mandralisca Museum. The baroque and medieval influences make this the perfect seaside destination to include on your itinerary. However, do not forget to try the ‘pasta taianu’ while you visit! It is pasta in a pan layered with meat, pine nuts, raison, fried eggplant, and pecorino cheese. That alone should inspire you to visit!”

Cefalu on LEO edit.

LO ZINGARO NATURE RESERVE

“West of Palermo, you will find limestone cliffs, a whimsical coastline, and a rugged landscape that is part of the Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve. Created in 1981, this nature reserve is a beautiful park with turquoise water, coves, and beaches. This can be a great place to bird watch – the area attracts a large bird population including eagles, owls sea birds, partridges, and falcons.”

Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve on LEO edit.

91010 San Vito Lo Capo / Province of Trapani, Italy

SCIACCIA

“In the province of Agrigento also lies a small town called Sciaccia. It is about a 20 minute drive from the Vendura Resort. This small, quaint town is known for fishing, its natural thermal spa’s, as well as its annual carnival and local ceramics/crafts. We recommend visiting a café on Piazza Angelo Scandaliato and soak in the stunning views of the sea. Visit here to catch the Mardi Grais parade and relax at a much-needed spa after.”

Sciaccia on LEO edit.

SCOPELLO

“Here lies a tiny village with a dramatic coastline, quaint little cafes, and steep cliffs. Its Arabic origin is noticeable here as many restaurants serve couscous. Scopello is a romantic mid-day stop where guests will smell the fragrance from eucalyptus trees in the air and shop for treasures found in the cobble-paved lanes.”

Scopello on LEO edit.

EGADI ISLANDS

“This is the largest protected marine area in Europe and consists of the islands of Favignana, Levanzo, and Marretimo as well as the islets of Maraone and Formica. The posidonia (seagrass) is unique to the Mediterranean Sea and creates an underwater ecosystem that is a habitat to many species of fish, birds, sea turtles, and the rare Monk seal.”

Egadi Islands on LEO edit.

FAVIGNANA 

The largest island in the archipelago is home to a small village. The island is full of baroque style buildings and is famous for its tuna fishing history. The Tonnara (netted fence used to catch tuna) is found here and now converted to a museum. The island’s beautiful coastline and sparkly blue waters have caves, creeks, and inlets that invite an enticing snorkeling experience. On land, the island has incredible beaches and groves to visit. Cala Rossa, a beach defined by only rock and sea, is stunning but not as suitable for children to visit. It can be difficult to access. Nearby to Cala Rossa, you will find Grotte del Bue Marino after climbing enough rocks to dive in! Cala Azzurra is another similar beach, where it is advised to prepare for rocks as well. Lido Burrone is the best beach on the island for families and children. It is easy to access, the water is a gorgeous shade of blue and, importantly, it is not too deep. The Scalo Cavallo is the rocky area of the coast that has water deep enough for snorkeling.

LEVANZO

This is the smallest of the three islands, but just as stunning as the rest. The port is defined by white houses in its surroundings, scents of thyme, and the overall tranquil scene it emanates. It is famous for the Grotta del Genovese – a cave that is full of rock art that suggests inhabitation by Palaeolithic and Neolithic hunters. The east of the island is a small beach called Cala Fredda and next to it is Cala Minnola, a scenic cove next to an aromatic pine forest. Underwater archeology is also prominent here due to remains of an ancient Roman shipwreck. The other side of the island includes the beach, Cala Tramontana, which is typically quieter.

MARETTIMO

The third island in the archipelago, about an hour from Trapani, that is full of 500 indigenous plant species and animals such as donkeys, horses, rabbit, falcons, and goats. It is referred to in Greek mythological as the ‘sacred island’ with some speculation that it could be Odysseus’ homeland. The terrain is high and rocky and the ambiance is incredibly peaceful. It is the least busy of all the islands, even in tourism season. Adventure enthusiasts can take diving opportunities here as there are approximately 400 caves below and above water.

PRIVATE EXCURSIONS FROM VERDURA RESORT

The resort offers an extensive array of day trips, from full day excursions to three-hour jaunts—including visits to archeological museum and UNESCO site Valley of the Temple, as well as Kolymsetra Park, Piazza Armerina, the Turkish Steps, wine tasting at Tasca L’Almerita, the Greek ruins in Selinunte, the famed Salt Route, Marsala Tasting, cheese tours in the Sicani Mountains region, and of course to Palermo and Monreale.

Editor’s Note: Some of the activities, hotels, and restaurants listed on our website may be currently closed due to Covid health restrictions. We urge you to check before visiting and to exercise caution and follow CDC guidelines if traveling or visiting any of our recommendations.

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