Italy - Sicily

As Italy's largest region, Sicily is an island of breathtaking natural beauty and of striking contrasts. From the snow-topped peak of Mount Etna, to the wonderful stretches of coastline, this sun-blessed island has been luring visitors for centuries. The invading Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans have all left their marks, resulting in a fascinating blend of classical temples, cathedrals and ancient ruins all waiting to be discovered.

Insider Tip

Take time to enjoy the magical view from Piazza IX Aprile in Taormina.

Sicilian cuisine is made up of a mixture of different cultural traditions, with elements from Greek and Arab cuisines still used. The cuscus alla trapanese is a traditional North Africa speciality, made with grains of couscous and seafood, whilst the pasta con le sarde is one of the most famous Sicilian dishes, using fresh sardines and wild fennel. The signature pasta dish, pasta alla norma, recalls the Norman past, and is a delicious tomato-based sauce, with aubergines and grated salted ricotta.

When it comes to seet snacks and desserts, Sicily excels. Try the cassata, made from sponge cake filled with ricotta, sugar, chocolate and candied fruit. Also not to be missed are the deliciosuly sweet cannoli, brandy snap, sweet ricotta filled rolls which are sold in confectioner's shops all over the island. The lemon-flavoured granite ices are perfect for cooling off on a hot day, whilst the torricini, almond nougat, is well worth sampling. There are many wonderful preserves on offer, made from the citrus fruits grown on the island, which, as well as the fragrant honey, all make welcome gifts.

In Taormina, the Via Corso Umberto 1 is home to a range of stylish boutiques, souvenir and antique shops, whilst the narrow streets of medieval Cefalu reveal many shops speciailisting in Sicilian handicrafts. Ceramics in particular are worthy of note; the elaborately decorated 19th century tiles in light blues and greens can be used as a decorative addition to any room, whilst the many terracotta pieces available are still made by local craftsman and make interesting souvenirs.

Mount Etna

Arriving at 1900 Mt Etna South station. Visit of the Silvestri's Craters. Lunch not included. Return to hotels approx 4pm.

Adults from £38.

Syracuse

One day excursion with a visit to the Archaelogical Area with the Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre, Alter of Hieron II and Paradise's Latomies with the "Dionysius Ear". After follows a visit of the Ortigia Island with the Arethusa's fountain, the Temple of Apollo and the Cathedral. Lunch not included. Returns approx. 5pm.

Adults from £51.

Godfather Tour

Discover the Sicilian landscapes with its typical middle age villages and its welcoming inhabitants. Visit the location of the film. Half day, returns aprrox 2pm.

Adults from £35.

Sicilian Wine Experience

The Sicilian village of Castiglione offers a glimpse of Sicilian life where a traditional lunch in a family-run restaurant will also be served (included), with a vist of a winery. Half day tour, returns approc. 2pm

Adults from £57.

Lapari & Vulcano

From Milazzo by boat to the island of Lapari, with free time for visiting the old town. By boat, there is a visit of the "Faraglioni" rocks, and the pumice stone quarry. Arriving at the next island of Vulcano with a chance to swim in the warm sulpherous sea water, enjoying the beach and have lunch (not included). Full day tour, returns approx. 8pm.

Adults from £75.

Panarea & Stromboli

From Milazzo by boat to the island of Panarea. Free time for visiting a local village, the beach and for lunch (not included). By boat to Stromboli where you will stop until sunset. A light dinner will be served on board (included). Finally visit the "Sciara del Fuoco" by night for admiring the volcano's activity from the sea. Full day tour, returns approx. 6pm.

Adults from £98.