Sicily’s port at the Strait of Messina is a short trip south from the most popular destinations in Italy, making Sicily the perfect weekend getaway. Many ships leave those ports daily en route to the island. When travelers arrive, they’ll find several cozy hotels on the coast. Fred Rodio, a traveler who began his trip to Sicily by enjoying a beautiful sunrise, comments, “I wasn’t sure what to expect in Sicily, but from the first morning there, I knew that I would not be disappointed.”

Sicilian Smiles

The food, shops, and historic destinations in Sicily are all brought to life by the Sicilian people. Sicily has a friendly and inviting atmosphere, which makes interacting with the locals easy. Although travelers might not speak the same language, the smiles and handshakes they exchange in the streets and back roads of the provinces are worth a whole conversation.

Local Foods

Sicilian food is rich in flavor and tradition, and the locals are eager to share their food and talents in their personalized dining nooks and shops. Rodio spent one of his mornings browsing small shops along the streets of Catania and eating lunch at a family-owned restaurant. The restaurant served a tasty rendition of eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms, beef, and peppers. Rodio says, “I really enjoyed the restaurant where we ate lunch. The flavors were distinct, and the yummy meal made me ask for more.”

Ancient Greek Theatre in Taormina

Partway between the cities of Messina and Catania lies the popular tourist destination Taormina. There, tourists can visit the city’s ancient Greek theatre and meander through little shops that line the streets. The blue and turquoise waters, which wrap around the green coastlines, provide a breathtaking backdrop for the theatre’s ruins. Rodio’s daughter Reana explains, “I loved seeing the beautiful water that hugged the coast of the island. It made the island different from what we had seen in Italy.”

Catania’s Volcano

Catania, another enchanting Sicilian city, is the gateway to Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Many travelers take buses up the volcano and wander around the volcanic paths and rocks. Because of the height of the volcano, Mount Etna is often covered in snow, and the heat from the volcanic activity causes steam to rise across its snow-capped peaks, a favorite scene to capture for amateur photographers. At the volcano’s base, tourists can visit little shops that sell jewelry and other souvenirs made out of rocks from the volcano.

A weekend on the island of Sicily leaves visitors with a lasting impression. Sicily is an island that offers a sense of serenity and wonder for travelers who have a love for natural beauty and rich cultural experiences.

—Sky Nuttall

Travelers can enjoy a beautiful view through the pillars of the Greek theater in Taormina.

Boats leave the mainland ports of Italy en route to Messina.

The Temple of Juno Lacinia is part of the Valley of the Temples.

A welcoming sign encouraging visitors to stop in for some authentic food before departing Mt. Etna.