Unlike much of Europe, in Sicily summer doesn’t stop once you get to the end of August. Far from it. Holiday in Sicily in September and you can expect warm sunshine, blue skies and blissfully quiet beaches. Aside from the obvious benefit of a significant drop in rental prices across the island, find out Sicily’s other main attractions in autumn.
The 18th Sagra dell’Arancina takes place from 5-8 September 2019 in Ficarazzi on the east coast, in honour of the island’s iconic ‘arancina’. Alongside the classic ‘arancini’ fillings of butter, aubergine and ‘ragù’, expect to find a range of more unusual flavours, including pistachio, mushroom, octopus, pesto and Nutella, oozing out of the centre of the mouth-watering ball of rice.
Local villas include Villa Cocuzzolo (sleeps 6), a 3-bedroom villa with pool situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna.
Opera magic in Palermo
If you enjoy opera, Palermo’s landmark opera house, the Teatro Massimo, is the place to be in September when it stages two great classics, La Traviata (13-27 September 2019) and The Barber of Seville (20-28 September 2019). Spend the day exploring the city’s art, architecture and magnificent historic centre, or wandering through its markets.
Stay at 4-bedroom Casa Turi, a restored farmhouse with pool and stunning outdoor kitchen.
Sherbeth Festival, Catania
Slurping your way through every available ice-cream flavour in just one week in Sicily is always a challenge so when you have the opportunity to sample several at once, our advice is to go for it! The annual Sherbeth Festival (26-29 September), now in its 11th year, showcases gelato created by some of the world’s leading ice-cream masters. In between tastings, learn the secrets of ice-cream making from the kings of the industry at workshops and food demonstrations. The Festival takes place at the historic Villa Bellini, Catania’s oldest public garden, in the historic city centre.
Experience authentic Sicily at Terrazza sul Mare, a 2-bedroom villa perched above the tiny fishing port of Pozzillo, close to Acireale.
Autumn leaves in the Nebrodi
Get ready for a blaze of colour in the Nebrodi mountains in north-east Sicily, the island’s largest national park and one of the least known areas of Sicily. Visit in autumn and you’ll find splashes of reds, golds and coppery yellows as the leaves turn in the beech forests that carpet the park’s upper slopes, and, lower down the mountains, on the cork trees and holm oaks. During the autumn months, the smell of roasted chestnuts fills the air in sleepy medieval villages where wine and food festivals celebrate freshly-harvested hazelnuts, grapes, mushrooms and prickly pears.
Wish Sicily has a selection of properties in and around the Nebrodi Mountains, including Villa Olmo, a spacious rural retreat set amidst spectacular landscapes and just a few minutes from the atmospheric village of Castel di Lucio.
Bird-watching in Sicily
Visit the Vendicari nature reserve on the island’s south east tip in autumn to watch cranes, herons, storks and flamingos on their route from northern France to the African coast. Leave plenty of time to explore the nature reserve, a heady mixture of sandy beaches, lagoons and rocky coastlines. Prickly juniper bushes, broom, thyme and rosemary carpet the ground and picture-postcard bays, such as Calamosche beach, will tempt you down to the sea.
For the ultimate beach experience, stay at Casa Ulisse, a 3-bedroom villa hovering on the edge of a sandy beach to the south of Ispica.