Browsing CategoryHistory & culture

le case di tindari - wishsicily

Some of Sicily’s most evocative land and seascapes first found their way on to our TV screens via the popular detective Montalbano series. Written by native Sicilian, Andrea Camilleri, who died earlier this year, the televised novels and short stories are a wonderful snapshot of the island, not least through the fictional detective’s love of great food! There’s no doubt that exploring a destination through its literature is a great way to get a feel for a place before you arrive. So if you enjoy reading, set aside some time as the evenings draw in to curl up with a…

Cefalu, Italy - September 19, 2014: View at a parking with people and cars passing by the coast road during a warm summer evening near the old town of Cefalu, Sicily.

If you’ve missed out on a summer holiday, a quick September getaway may be just what you need to get through the winter. Pack your bags for a 4 or 5 day break in Sicily and combine a few days of sunshine with some fascinating city sightseeing. These are our top 5 picks. Catania An east coast stay means there are plenty of towns to choose from. From your base at Terrazza sul Mare, start with the least well-known, Acireale, where fine baroque buildings line the streets of the old town and spectacular views of Mount Etna are on tap…

san giorgio ragusa sicily

If you want to really get under Sicily’s skin, there’s no better way than being around for one of the big patron saints’ celebrations. Visit Ragusa Ibla during the 3-day festivities for the much-revered San Giorgio and you’ll experience one of the most colourful, atmospheric events anywhere in Sicily. The town of Ragusa Ibla is extraordinary even without a festa.  Lively and crammed with fascinating sights, this is one of south east Sicily’s finest Unesco-listed towns. At the heart of the town stands the magnificent baroque Basilica di San Giorgio, its portal depicting a carving of San Giorgio on horseback,…

SICILIAN-FLAG

Take a holiday in Sicily and you quickly realise that the island’s history stretches far back before the Greeks and Romans to a tangled web of myths and legends which are intrinsically linked to the island’s culture and geography. The history of Sicily has it that its distinctive triangular shape, symbolised by the Trinacria, was formed by three nymphs who, having gathered the best things from all around the world – earth, fruit, stones – flung them into the clear blue sea which lit up like a rainbow and subsequently gave rise to the three peaks from which the island…

food in sicily

No celebration in Sicily, religious or otherwise, is without its special food and this is particularly the case at Easter. Despite the saying ‘Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi’ (‘Christmas with family, Easter with whoever you want’), Easter is traditionally a time to be with family and friends – a fabulous gastronomic experience that is shaped, as with all the best Sicilian celebrations, by the many myths and traditions embedded in the island’s culture. Lunch on Easter Sunday is a long lingering affair and the best advice is to go hungry! Lamb, with Sicilian Easter bread, is on…

Infiorata di Noto

With its broad mix of invaders and fascinating history, it is not surprising that Sicily’s cultural calendar is peppered with colourful events and celebrations. From re-enactments of Norman conquests to the decoration of streets with floral carpets, the Mediterranean’s largest island provides its visitors with plenty of spectacular events throughout the year.   Palio dei Normanni at Piazza Armerina The otherwise sleepy town of Piazza Armerina springs into action between 12-14 August (weather is usually good) each year with the medieval pageant of the Palio dei Normanni. Re-enacting the key historical moment of the conquest of Sicily in 1061 by…

catania-sicily

Festivals are all part of the fun of a villa holiday in Sicily and regardless of where and when you visit, there is a good chance of stumbling on local celebrations. With every town claiming a patron saint, religious festivals can be very spectacular affairs involving processions, fireworks and, not surprisingly, plenty of delicious food. In addition, many of the small towns and villages hold local sagre, dedicated to celebrating their most famous agricultural produce. These are just a few to whet your appetite.   Cannolo Festival in Piana degli Albanesi If you are staying in a holiday villa near…

Festa di Santa Rosalia, Palermo (Sicily)

Easter is probably the most exciting time to holiday in Sicily in terms of religious festivals, but the Sicilian calendar is also punctuated by celebratory events throughout the year, held to commemorate and pay tribute to the patron saints of individual towns and villages.  These three festivals will give you a taste of celebrating, Sicilian style.   Festa di Sant’Agata, Catania (Italy) The Festa di Sant’Agata leads the way when it comes to religious devotion in Sicily. Attracting up to a million people over a three-day period, the first of two annual festivals takes place between 3-5 February, commemorating the…

Sicilian-carnival

If you thought you had to wait till summer for a villa holiday in Sicily, think again. Carnival celebrations mean party time right across the island and although traditions vary slightly from one town to another, you’ll find a party-going atmosphere wherever you go. Unsurprisingly (this is Sicily!), traditional food has a leading role with some serious eating taking place before Lent fasting. Think macaroni, cavateddi (pasta) with meat sauce and pork rind, and chiacchere, strips of sweet pastry dough fried and sprinkled with sugar. These are some of the top carnivals in February, so snap up a holiday home…

VILLAS-IN-SICILY-WITH-SEAVIEW

Dear holidaymaker, The days are well and truly hotting up here in Sicily: air temperatures are rising daily and sea temperatures are creeping up to the balmy mid-20’s. Meanwhile, market stalls are packed with seasonal summer fruits and vegetables such as glistening red cherries, deep purple glossy aubergines and the first of the crop of velvety apricots. To celebrate the start of summer, we’re offering some great deals on a selection of villas, including several that have been recently added to our collection. Take a look at our selection below or visit the special offers section on our website for…

Holiday in Sicily

A May or June holiday in Sicily brings with it warm sunshine, a series of charming food and wine sagre in the smaller villages and several impressive events and festivals.   Flower festival in Noto (12-15 May) While masses of wild flowers blanket the Madonie and Nebrodi mountains in the north of the island, the baroque town of Noto in Sicily’s south east presents a very different floral display. During the colourful Infiorata di Noto flower festival (12-15 May), the palazzo-lined Corrado Nicolaci, is transformed into a flowered carpet of petal-filled mosaic-style pictures.   Once you have admired the display and…

Carneval-in-sicily-acireale

While the carnivals of Venice and Viareggio may be more famous, Sicily’s carnivals can be equally spectacular and are more likely to be accompanied by better weather. Our top carnivals are in Acireale, Sciacca, and, just outside Palermo, at Termini Imerese and Mezzojuso.  Visit during the February celebrations and combine your stay in Sicily with visiting some of the island’s top attractions, minus the crowds and the heat of the summer sun.   Acireale carnival: With concerts, parades through the town’s baroque historic centre and processions of allegorical and floral floats, Acireale is one of Sicily’s most colourful and impressive…

Villa Arte Mare Blu

Christmas in Sicily is a festive occasion, packed full of traditions and customs that make it a very special time. Cool temperatures means that the focus shifts away from the beach and swimming and into the heart of the local village or town where locals keep the Christmas spirit alive and kicking.   Christmas Presepi Many homes and the vast majority of churches in Sicily display a presepe (nativity scene). In some cases, these are ‘Presepi viventi’ – living nativity scenes where locals dress up and re-enact the Nativity between Christmas Day and Epiphany with the privilege of representing baby…

Noto Sicily Guide Tourist Old Town Duomo

One of the most beautiful Baroque towns in Sicily is located near Syracuse in the southeast of the island. Noto was completely raised by an earthquake in 1693 and then rebuilt near the old location. It was rebuilt by brilliant architects looking to impose their Baroque ideals. This incredible town is the perfect place to see a masterpiece with the backdrop of the stunning Sicilian coastline. It is truly like stepping back in time, because every building is a wonderful example of the Baroque style. Here is a guide to the magical town of Noto, Sicily. What to see One…

Villa La Belsia

Fill in some of the gaps in your kids’ education with a visit to Sicily where you can squeeze in a session on the Greeks, Romans and Normans, or a volcano-themed geography lesson, without so much as a mention of books or homework. Sicily’s extraordinary past and its hugely varied land and seascapes make it a fascinating island for all ages. If you have not booked anything yet, there are weeks available right up to early September at a selection of Wish Sicily villas.   Escape the crowds and head for the heartland of Sicily Head inland for peace and…

Cefalu overlook - Sicily

Many are the things to do and places to see in Sicily. But here is a list of the cities in Sicily that you cannot miss.   Palermo Sicily’s largest city and capital is a place of many wonders. It’s phenomenal history can be observed through the architecture of basilicas, government buildings and piazzas. Full of restaurants and nightlife, Palermo will keep you busy day and night!   Catania Sicily’s second largest city hosts the active volcano Mt. Etna that has influenced the history and atmosphere of this city. Hike to its top, and you will be stunned by the…

Landscape Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, is Sicily’s most prominent archaeological park. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and still today remains one of the main historical attractions for both tourists and locals. The site features eight Greek temples built during the 6th and 5th century BC: the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius. Valley of the Temples, Sicily, Short History The Valley of the Temples sits on the ancient…

trinacria sicilian symbol

The Sicily symbol and emblem of its flag is unique and mystifying. The head surrounded by three legs can be seen everywhere on the enchanting island, from beautiful ceramics to little souvenir trinkets. It is the certified logo of Sicily and has a rich mythical story behind how it came to be. The Meaning of the Symbol The symbol of Sicily known as the Trinacria or Triseklion is said to be derived from a myth about three nymphs. They are said to have danced all around the world gathering the best fruit, stones and soil, they then threw all of…