With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about romance, wedding proposals and starry-eyed adventures. Sicily’s winning combination of dreamy coastal views and atmospheric villages certainly beats a bunch of roses – here is the low down on the most romantic places and things to do on a Sicily holiday.
Stay in Stromboli
Best remembered for the passionate affair between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman, which began during the filming of Stromboli, Land of God, Stromboli remains to this day a popular haunt for romantic interludes and celebrity holidays. Stay at Villa Stromboli, a traditional Aeolian style luxury villa strewn with courtyards and porticos, where you can chill out on your sunlounger and gaze out over the sea and the smoking Stromboli volcano. Cool down in sparkling clear seas and unwind on the terrace with an early evening aperitivo for a private viewing of the volcano’s ‘fireworks’ display.
Romantic views in Taormina
Taormina is another Sicilian town firmly embedded on the glitterati trail. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor visited the town in the Sixties and it remains one of Sicily’s most glamorous towns, much-loved for its winding streets, cove-like beaches and spectacular views. With a romantic clifftop setting overlooking the Ionian Sea and smouldering Mount Etna as a backdrop, you could do far worse than choose the town’s Greek amphitheatre for a classic proposal.
Any connection to the goddess of love has got to be a good thing when it comes to romance but Erice in western Sicily offers far more to its visitors than a mere link to a Roman goddess. Two castles, Venus Castle, which is said to have been built on the site of the ancient Temple of Venus, and Pepoli Castle, dominate this fabulously preserved medieval town which, on a clear day offers breathtaking views as far as the Egadi Islands. Wander amongst the town’s sixty churches and linger over a pastry or two at one of the town’s many pasticcerie.
Chocolate in Modica
If you plan to give chocolate as a sign of your love, make sure it is the real thing. The chocolate in Modica was first discovered by the Aztecs in Mexico and brought to Sicily during the 15th and 16th centuries by the Spanish. The top spot in town is the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto where chilli, ginger, orange and nutmeg spice up the grainy dark chocolate. Add an extra touch of romance by checking into a luxury villa in Sicily such as the Hortus Suites where bedrooms feature fireplaces and lava-stone baths and a private spa offers the ultimate relaxation space.
Sail into the sunset
Explore Sicily from the sea on a private cruise or sailing trip. Mini-cruises to the Egadi Islands in the west let you swim and snorkel in some of the islands’ more inaccessible bays or, if you are staying in a villa in the north east of Sicily, a full-day cruise to the Aeolian Islands will make stops at glitzy Panarea and Salina’s Pollara bay.