Just returned from a weekend trip to Sicily! We flew into Palermo and left promptly the next morning for Siracusa, a smaller city on the southeastern side of Sicily. Siracusa is known for its wealth of Greek history and architecture, as well as being the birthplace of Archimedes. We were able to walk the entire city, visiting the Greek and Roman amphitheaters, the church and catacombs of San Giovanni, and the Temple of Apollo. We also walked the old city, located on Ortigia Island and visited the Castello Maniace, built during the high medieval period.
We sampled the famous arancini and gelato of Sicily. Arancini are deep fried balls of rice with various fillings inside. Delicious! However, my favorite food was the Sicilian pizza we had in Siracusa. Doubled crusted and filled with cheese, tomato, basil and oregano.
From Siracusa we left for Mt Etna and Taormina. Mt Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world today and is the tallest active volcano on the European continent. We went to about 1910 m and hiked around the craters. We had a very informative Sicilian guide who took us through a lava cave. Mt Etna was definitely a highpoint in this trip.
From Mt Etna we traveled to the small village of Zafferana where we visited a small organic farm where they produce honey and wine along with the famous Etna Fire…70% alcohol. The coastal town of Taormina was next, some beautiful views of the coast as well as the famous Greek amphitheater built in the shadow of Mt Etna around seventh century BC. For me Taormina was the most charming city we visited, narrow winding streets and majestic views of both Mt Etna and the coast far below. While we were there, a wedding was taking place in the town’s duomo, serving as a reminder that Taormina is not just a tourist destination, but also home to about 11,000 people. It started to rain towards evening and so we were unable to walk around Isola Bella, the small island off the coast near Taormina known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea. So we just took in the view from our dry bus. Besides, how much more could we fit into the weekend?
Enjoy the pictures!!