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The ‘Crossroads of the Mediterranean’ has been conquered by several civilisations over the centuries – tactical location aside, no empire has been able to resist Sicily’s lemon-scented loveliness or sultry climate. Though today’s visitors thankfully come in peace, they’re similarly diverse: the island attracts sun-worshippers, foodies, hikers, history buffs, hipsters and families, all looking for a slice of Sicily to call their own. What’s more, the island is currently especially ripe for exploration thanks to restoration projects in its old cities and a cool new restaurant scene. Throw in regular (and cheap) all-inclusive deals to Sicily, and you have one cracker of a destination – perhaps it’s time you planned your own invasion?
Visit villages and volcanoes
Go on holiday to Sicily and you’ll see forested hills, olive groves, sandy coves and wetland nature reserves, as well as drowsy villages where you can get a feel for how the locals live.
Looking down on them all is Sicily’s unofficial emblem, and one of the world’s most active volcanoes: Mount Etna. Slightly to the north are the Aeolian Islands, home to black-sand beaches and fire-breathing Stromboli.
Explore vibrant cities
Near Etna is Taormina, the island’s most sophisticated town. Elegantly positioned above the Bay of Naxos, it’s a heady mix of five-star hotels, bougainvillea blooms, and a picture-perfect amphitheatre. Capital Palermo, in the northwest, is a rougher diamond but no less worth a visit while on holiday in Sicily.
Other enchanting towns include the toffee-coloured trio of Noto, Ragusa and Modica, beachside Cefalù, and Syracuse, where the sea-surrounded old quarter Ortygia is becoming increasingly trendy.
Feel the history
There are numerous archaeological treasures casually strewn across Sicily. Highlights include Cefalù’s beautiful Norman cathedral, Palermo’s catacombs and the stellar Norman church in Monreale.
However, the headline acts are Sicily’s three Greek temple complexes – lonely hilltop Segesta, seaside Selinunte and Agrigento’s mammoth Valley of the Temples are all astounding.
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