Sicily is an island parts of which are closer to Africa than Italy. It is therefore unique in Europe having had every major Mediterranean civilisation play a part in its history. This has left Sicily with a unique culture with influences from the Orient as well as its Arab rulers that superseded the Romans and who in turn lost power to the Normans of Northern Europe. Sicily has also been ruled by the German Hoenstaffen and The Spanish. This has created a fascinating island with some of the biggest Greek Temple and a Amphitheater ruins, the best Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale, The best Byzantine mosaics in the Palatine Chapel at Palermo and Monreale, amazing Norman hill top towns like Erice, the incredible Baroque cities of the south all backed by Europe's most active volcano. There is so much to see in Sicily that will surprise and delight and this photo gallery is dedicated to the wonderful sights of Sicily READ MORE ABOUT SICILY........
East of Palermo lies the coastal town of Bagheria where the 18th century Sicilian noble families built great Baroque Villas to escape to from Palermo in the heat fo the summer. Villa Palagonia is a fine Baroque Villa in Bagheria but bizarrely its perimeter walls are topped by deformed charactures of local men. This is a story of adultery and a most unusual revenge....(READ MORE)
Noto was struck by a devestating earthquake in 1693 and was rebuilt as a model Baroque town. In 1966 the roof of the Cathedral collapsed and has now been renovated making Noto the most complete Baroque town in Sicily and a worth UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palermo is the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. It is a wonderful mix of Medieval Norman, Arab, Byzantine and the Baroque. Although run down in places it is a wonderful city to explore and its back street markets are a joy to wander through.
Syracuse is one of the most famous Greek cities of the Ancient World. The main town of Sicily until it was superseded by Palermo Syracuse was an important trading city and the home of Archimedes who lived, thought and died there prematurely at the hand of a Roman soldier.
The Palatine Chapel of the Norman Palace Palermo (Cappella Palatina) is probably the ,most beautiful medieval Byzantine chapel ever built. It is a blend of Byzantine and Arabesque that was bulit by the enlightened Norman King of Sicily Roger II in 1132 and should not be missed when visiting Palermo.
Around 1160 a huge mud slide in the Morgantina hills near Piazza Armerina in central Sicily buried an abandoned Roman Villa and its associated buildings. This accident of nature preserved the largest collection of Roman mosaics intact. But this was not an ordinary Roman Villa this was probably the Villa of Emperor Maxentius so the quality of the craftsmanship is of the best
One of the biggest known Doric Temples from Greca Magna is at Selinunte archaeological Site in Sicily. Selinunte is a vast site with buggies ferrying visitors around. Temple F has been partially rebuilt and sita on a headland looking out to sea.
The best preserved Temples of Greca Magna are at Agrigento in Sicily. The Concordia temple is only missing its old wooden roof and apart from some alterations to use it as a church it is the same as the day it was built 2500 years ago.
One of the most dramatically situated Greek Ampitheatres is at Toarmina in Sicily. It is the second biggest Greek Theatre on Sicily but its view over the bay, 250m below, and the smoking volcano cones of Etna in the distance are stunning.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. Mount Etna dominates most of Italy and its smoking volcano cones add a unique backdrop to the Island
The Byzantine mosaics of Monreale are on a vast scale. They are not as fine ast the Palatine Chapel Mosaics but they fill the huge Basilica of Monreale creating a stunning show of Byzantine religiuos art
Perched 750m (2460 ft) above the sea below the view from Erice across sicily is spectacular. The Medieval hill town is full of charm with cobbled streets a Norman and a Saracen Castle.
Cefalu is a picturesque and popular tourist destination with a fine sweeping bay and beach. Cefalu Cathedral is one of three great Norman Cathedrals on Sicily with fine and important Byzantine mosaics
Running between Trapani and Masala on the west coast of Sicily are some of the oldest salt producing marshes in Europe. With some of the cleanest sea water in the Mediterranean evaporated by the Sicilian sun Trapani cannot help but make fine salt that is sold to discerning chefs the world over.
Scopello is a beautiful coastal village in the west of Sicily. Its picturesque Tonnara del Scopello is a collection of fisherman’s houses and Tuna processing buildings that were used in the film "Oceans Twelve" and much admire by novelist Gavin Maxwell. This froms the southern end of Zingaro Nature Park which stretches along the coast to San Vito lo Capo. The only way to access Zingaro’s little bays and Crystal clear sea is by foot or by boat.
Ragusa Ibla is one of the most beautiful hill towns in Sicily. Narrow medieval streets lead up through the town to the splanded Sicilian Baroque Chruch that is typical of the style of southern Sicilian Baroque. Ragusa Ibla is surronded on three sides by a deep gorge making its position very defensable.
Modica is a very Sicilian city. Situated in the south of Sicily Modica has been called a city of churches most of which are wonderful examples of Sicilian Baroque.
Acording to its UNESCO World Heritage listing, Sicili has classic examples of Sicilian Baroque which represent the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe. This is true of all of the towns of the Val da Noto that were detroyed by an eathquake in 1693. The whole of south east Sicily is a Baroque entusiasts dream come true.