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The Magic of Sicily

Magic, Pure Magic. Particularly if you live only 90minutes away and come from one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Malta with 1,160 inhabitants per sq km is not quite the same as Sicily with just 200 inhabitants per sq km. Talk of wide open spaces, yes, but with an excellent road network system, that has all the advantages without any of the disadvantages.

Blessed with a Mediterranean climate but with mountain ranges to escape to in the hot summer months is just one aspect of the diversity that is Sicily. There is something mystical about mountains and the Madonie, Nebrodi , Peloritani and Iblea Mountain ranges are no exception. Think of the magic that of enjoying an uplifting mountain walk in the cool summer evening only a few minutes from an exquisite beach to bask in the sun next morning . Think of skiing on the slopes of Mount Etna in the winter and sailing from Naxos beach only 35 minutes later. Little wonder the Greeks colonized Sicily at the height of their empire and called it Magna Grecia. 

The Greek monuments of antiquity bear witness to those far off days but the magic of the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento in the evening light is here to stay. As is Selenunte and the magnificence of that lonely temple in Segesta. Old habits die hard; the Teatro Greco in Siracusa and Palazzolo Arciede are still to this very day known for their summer performances of Greek Tragedy.

Sicily turned a national tragedy into a national treasure. The 1693 earthquake devastated Southwestern Sicily, from the ashes was born Sicilian Baroque and today’s baroque towns of Noto, Catania, Modica , Ragusa, Vittoria, Comiso  and Chiaramonte Gulfi , one magnificent building after another, a treat even if architecture is not your forte. Not too different from mainland baroque but different enough to reflect the tranquility of the island, with Rosario Garliardi’s San Giorgio in Modica and Ragusa Ibla standing in testimony. 

From Palermo, the capital, citta delle belle arte, to Noto, capitale del barocco, to Taormina, the playground of the Mediterranean and Agrigento, the finest Greek monuments of antiquity outside the Acropolis in Athens; the Magic of Sicily indeed. 

Sicily is a historically a granary and history has the habit of being  selective, in this case all that remains of this historical fact is an excellent  cuisine with regional difference adding  to the variety. The countryside is blessed with orange groves and fruit trees and the tastiest of vegetables to compliment the pesce del nostro mare in the coastal areas le carni in the countryside. The quality is superb the price just magic; eating out is a way of life that is reflected in the price. Sicilians take great pride in their cuisine and regional diversity is an expression of minor cultural differences which while not easily apparent to the outsider are something the locals guard with great pride and enthusiasm.

The magic of Sicily beckons and it’s only 90 minutes away from home. Only 90 minutes away by Jean De La Valette, the state of the art Virtu Ferries high-speed ferry. The Virtu Ferries schedule provides for several round trips per week, you’ll find the one to suit your need, the one to open the way to the largest and most divers island in the Mediterranean, with the highest and most active volcano in Europe.