Sports & nature
The undisputed ruler of this ancient and beautiful land is undoubtedly the sea, that can be enjoyed in so many different ways: relaxing on one of the many coastal beaches, exploring the wonderful seabeds, or windsurfing and kitesurfing with the waves and the wind.
Here, the power of the sea, together with that of the wind, allows for the opportunity to feel the thrill of “running” or even “flying” over the crystal-clear waters of the coasts of San Vito lo Capo, Mondello, Cefalù, Marina di Ragusa, Taormina, the Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria, Lampedusa, and Ustica, just some of the many places where one can practice these sports year-round.
Trekking lovers can go on a guided excursion along the routes of Sicily's natural parks, while those who prefer other means can choose to explore these wonderful places on a horse’s back or riding a mountain bike.
It should be mentioned that in recent years Sicily has even become an important destination for lovers of golf. Several new courses have made their home on the island, which is host to the by-now famous Sicily Open.
The Belpaese has always been considered one of the most sought-after destinations for thermal cures, a form of natural medicine existing in Italy since the Roman ages. Sicily is a region of water and volcanoes and it offers a wide range of treatments for those who wish to unwind from stress and daily life by "spa-ing". In thermal spas and wellness centers one can find various regenerating, therapeutic and, without a doubt, beauty treatments. The most renowned spas are Sciacca, with its famous Stufe di San Calogero, caves where the high concentration of steam reaches a temperature of about 40° C, or the Thermae of Acireale, where underground seawater mixes with sulphur water from Etna.
For enthusiasts of cultural tourism, Sicily is a source of knowledge, history, art and culture. It is here, this island with its mild climate and enchanting surroundings that famous writers such as Salvatore Quasimodo, Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Leonardo Sciascia, and Tomasi di Lampedusa found their inspiration to write great works including The Leopard and The House by the Medlar Tree. Today, anyone who travels here can still plunge into everything the island has to offer. Embarking on a journey of “spaces” where these legendary writers lived, one can better understand the social, political and historical conditions that became the setting of their novels.
Those wanting to travel even further back in time will be content to see the Greek Temples of Selinunte and Syracuse, as well as those of Agrigento and of Imera. Not to be forgotten is the Greco-Roman theatre of Taormina and the cathedrals left by the Normans, especially the Martorana, San Giovanni degli Eremiti and San Cataldo Churches.
If it's customs and traditions you're looking for, a visit to Acireale is practically obligatory; there one can see the Opera of Marionettes and the story of Orlando Furioso.
There is plenty of choice for those who enjoy festivals and cultural events, too. Countless events take place every year in the amazing scenery of Taormina’s Ancient Theater, including the well-known Cinema Festival, an award ceremony for the best films.
The warmth and joie de vivre of the Sicilians can be seen during the celebration of Carnival, the happiest and most colourful festival of the year. Acireale Carnival is defined as "The most beautiful Carnival in Sicily", for the creativity and originality of its allegorical papier-mâché or flowered floats that parade along the streets with their cheerful and colorful masks.
Many festivals are dedicated to the Patron Saints of Sicily as well, mixing faith, folklore and tradition into a display of the Sicilians’ profound religious devotion. The Festival of Saint Rosalia in Palermo and the Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania are just a few of the many events that take place every year throughout the region.