This is a guest post:
This island is part of a few Italian regions that enjoy a special, autonomous status. Its history has certainly had its fair share of bloodshed and culture reincarnations, signs of which are found all over the islands. One of the most influential occupations was that of the ancient Greeks, the great Roman Empire, the Islamic occupation, and, last but not least, that of the Spanish, for almost three centuries. They all brought to the island their recipes, architecture, religion, along with their taboos and languages.
The most important and cosmopolitan cities are the capital, Palermo, Catania, Siracusa, Messina and Trapani. In any of these cities you will find street markets and an array of restaurants that offer traditional Sicilian dishes like the Caponata, an eggplant and caper salad, believed to be an Arabian influence on the Sicilian cuisine from the ninth century.
Cannelloni del Padrino is a typical dish that originates from Agrigento and is usually made on special occasions and festivities. And don’t miss Cassata Siciliana, which is a delicious desert. Yummy!
Here are three sightseeing experiences that are highly recommended if you visit Sicily.
The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, will take you back 2500 years to the ancient Greek civilisations. With so many temples and structures standing surrounded by green olive groves, vineyards, almond trees and citrus orchards, it may make you start to believe the mythology of the gods and goddesses. Here three temples stand mostly intact: The Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concord, and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
In mythology, it is believed that the house of the Cyclops (the one-eyed giant) is in Mount Etna. It is the highest point on the island and offers spectacular views of the landscape, which is great for summer trekking and skiing in winter. This outstanding natural beauty of Mount Etna hides one of the most active and largest volcanoes in Europe, which only adds to the excitement.
There is so much to see and enjoy in Sicily, like the many beautiful and pristine beaches all around the island, or the satellite Aeolian Islands which are easily reached by shuttle boats. I have chosen to talk about the Orecchio di Dionisio (the Ear of Dionisio) cave, near Syracuse. It dates back to Roman times and was purposely carved into limestone to store water, but became unusable when an earthquake damaged it and created an ear-shaped entrance on the side. Standing 23 metres tall, it makes a magnificent entrance and once inside almost every whisper echoes and creates a wonderful acoustic sound. Try it!
Ervin Cenmurati is travel advisor in his day job and travel writer in his free time. He has travelled much of Italy and feels passionate about this colourful country, its culture, and fascinating history.