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Things to Do in Sicily, Italy | Guide to Ancient Landmarks, Shopping & Sicilian Food

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Guests of all ages will be delighted about all the things to do in Sicily. Home to ancient architecture that was designed and built by the Romans and Greeks, thought-provoking statues that pay tribute to the great minds of times past, and warm beaches that call upon visitors to relax and stay a while, the island of Sicily is truly a treasure of the Mediterranean Sea. The island is sprinkled with historic temples, outdoor theaters of antiquity, extraordinary shopping opportunities, and plenty of natural recreation activities to keep the heart pumping for hours.

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Things to do in Sicily | Exploring the Island

With a rich history that dates back more than 10,000 years, visitors of all ages and backgrounds will be delighted at all there is to see and do in Sicily. The island offers everything from gourmet restaurants to temples that date back to nearly biblical times. Get your camera out and be ready to take in all of the fun and excitement there is to be had.

Tour Of Sicily Day Tours

A guided tour of the island is the best way to ensure travelers get to see all of the sights they want to see and learn a lot about Sicily at the same time. Sign up for a tour package with Tour Of Sicily Day Tours in Palermo, and embark on a journey around the island privately or as part of a small group. Visitors will get to see the ancient ruins, some of the most iconic neighborhoods, popular landmarks, Mt. Etna and more. Reserve a spot on a day tour, multi-day tour, or a combination tour that also visits other islands off the coast of Italy. Guests are also welcome to sign up for more pointed tours like the cooking or wine-tasting walking tours.

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Things to do in Sicily | Dining

The cuisine found in Sicily is as rich and varied as the people guests will encounter while exploring the region. While visiting, travelers can relax on the beach with a cold and refreshing limoncello in hand or try to find the best pasta alla Norma in town. Be sure to check out some of these popular restaurants while on the island:

Trattoria Casalinga da Nino Mannino

Rustic and charming, Trattoria Casalinga da Nino Mannino is located in the Catania region of the island and doles out traditional family-style Sicilian and Mediterranean food. Trattoria Casalinga da Nino Mannino is a mid-range restaurant where guests will find fresh and local surf and turf menu items. The dining room has a cozy ambiance that makes guests feel as though they are sitting in the home of one of Sicily’s inhabitants and the staff go above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome.

Trattoria Casalinga da Nino Mannino is open each day of the week, except for Tuesdays. Stop in from 12pm-4pm for lunch and from 8pm to 10pm for dinner.

Osteria Antica Marina

A beautiful restaurant where cravings for fresh seafood and local ingredients are satisfied, Osteria Antica Marina, is located in the Catania region of Sicily. Osteria Antica Marina is popular among locals and tourists alike, and the food is served with the upmost attention to the finer details. This restaurant features a minimalist dining room that is both modern and welcoming. The menu items are served up in an artistic manner that celebrates the local food of the region.

Osteria Antica Marina is open every day of the week, except for Wednesdays. Lunch is served from 12pm to 3pm, and dinner is served from 7pm to 11pm.

Antico Caffé Spinnato

Established in 1860, Antico Caffé Spinnato is a staple of the Palermo region of the island. It is an elegant neighborhood gathering spot where locals as well as tourists are welcome to sip on gourmet coffee and indulge on fine pastries and Sicilian cuisine while visiting with others. Antico Caffé Spinnato is a social hotspot where deep conversations are encouraged. Antico Caffé Spinnato is adorned in elegant dark wood and leather furnishings and serves everything from gooey wood-fired pizza to homemade ice cream.

The cafe is open daily from 7am to 1am.

Liolà

Offering the perfect setting for a romantic date night or a cozy family meal, Liolà is a breathtaking pizzeria that immerses guests into the old-world culture of Sicily. At Liolà, enjoy rustic homestyle dishes such as wood-fired pizza, surf and turf pasta dishes, and rich desserts that satisfy any palette. This dining room features an old-style Mediterranean feel which compliments the menu items and fine wines served up here.

Liolà is open each day of the week, except for Mondays, and guests can enjoy lunch between the hours of 1pm-2:30pm and dinner from 7:30pm to 11pm.

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Things to do in Sicily | Shopping

Stroll along the streets in Sicily, and you will find an assortment of boutique stores that sell clothing, shoes, and handbags, as well as souvenirs, but the real attractive items to purchase on the island are regional cooking ingredients, fine wines, and handcrafted goods. From street markets to shopping malls, here is a look at some of the best places to do some shopping.

Forum Palermo

A shopping destination for those who want to get their hands on some fine Italian luxury goods, Forum Palermo is an upscale shopping mall located in the heart of downtown Palermo. The mall offers over 120 stores to check out. Visitors will be treated to an excellent assortment of electronics, clothes, accessories, and beauty items while shopping.

Forum Palermo is open from 9am to Midnight daily.

Caltagirone Neighborhood

Experience the essence of old-world Sicily by exploring the famous hilltop neighborhood of Caltagirone; there is no place like it anywhere else on earth. Caltagirone is home to an abundance of artisan owned and operated ceramics shops where visitors can find home decor that fits in with their lifestyle. Each ceramic store located on this seemingly never-ending hill is a new treasure chest that is waiting to be opened. To learn more about the history of pottery in the region, stop by the local ceramics museum, Museo Regionale della Ceramica.

Sicilia Bedda

Sicilia Bedda is a one-stop-shop for food-related gifts and Sicilian souvenirs. This store is packed floor-to-ceiling with marinades and sauces, cookies and candies, pastas, colorful serve-ware, jewelry, home decor, pastries, and more. The store is decked out in colorful furnishings that adds to the shopping excitement.

Sicilia Bedda is located in the region of Trapani and is open from 9am to 12am daily.

Piazza Carlo Alberto Market

Piazza Carlo Alberto Market is located in Carlo Alberto Square (Piazza Carlo Alberto) in Catania and offers and assortment of tantalizing treats and unique gifts sold by local vendors. It is a place where travelers can thrust themselves into the pop culture of the region and find some great treasures to take home. At Piazza Carlo Alberto Market, visitors will find fine Italian leather goods, clothes, accessories, jewelry, Sicilian branded gifts, local fruits and vegetables, jewelry, and an excellent assortment of fresh street food.

Piazza Carlo Alberto Market is open from 8am-2pm Monday-Friday, from 8am-7pm on Saturday, and closed on Sunday.

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Things to do in Sicily | Popular Landmarks

From historic catacombs and ancient temple ruins to natural recreation areas, the landmarks in Sicily are extraordinary. Guests who consider themselves to be history buffs, nature lovers, wine connoisseurs, foodies, punk rockers, or hipsters will all find an amazing assortment of activities to fill an itinerary. Here are some of the most popular attractions located on the island.

Catacombs of the Capuchins (Catacombe dei Cappuccini)

Obscure, yet fascinating, Catacombs of the Capuchins (Catacombe dei Cappuccini) is an indoor burial site of “thousands of well-dressed mummies.” For those who have a flair for the unique, or would like a history lesson of different sorts, this monastery features the remains of prominent figures of times past that are on display for the world to see. Guests will get to observe and learn about socialites, religious figures, politicians, infants, and virgins affiliated with the monastery. Catacombs of the Capuchins (Catacombe dei Cappuccini) is the final resting place for over 8,000 of Sicily’s residents, and visitors are permitted access into the underworld to pay their respects.

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Mt. Etna

An active volcano that cascades up into the sky near the eastern seaboard of Sicily, Mt. Etna is a recreational spot worth exploring. It measures in at just under 11,000 feet and experiences frequent eruptions and lava flows that visitors can check out if they are lucky enough to be in the area during an eruption event. Most areas of the mountain are considered safe for exploring. While visiting, guests can hike the wilderness trails, play in the water at Alcantara River Park, do some bird-watching, or even ski down its slopes. Mt. Etna is open all year for outdoor recreation.

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Valley of the Temples

Encapsulating the true essence of ancient Greek infrastructure and design, Valley of the Temples is a must-see attraction for those who have an appreciation for ancient history, Greek mythology, and breathtaking architecture. Valley of the Temples is located along the southwest coast of Sicily and is home to several ancient ruins that are part of a grand restoration project. This site is home to seven temples that can be explored with a tour guide.

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Roman Theatre of Catania

For those who have an appreciation for history and the arts, Roman Theatre of Catania delivers! This grand outdoor performing arts venue was constructed in the time period of 300 B.C. and allows visitors to step back in time and appreciate simpler times and breathtaking architecture. Only a portion of the original theater is visible today, but guests are welcome to descend the stairs and walk in the footsteps of peasants and nobility alike. Guests can check out a portion of the stadium seating as well as the orchestra pit at the base of the structure.

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Piazza del Duomo

Perhaps one of the most visited landmarks on the entire island, Piazza del Duomo is an amazing sight worth seeing. It is considered to be the heart and soul of the region and features a massive town square with Elephant Fountain (Fontana dell’Elefante) taking center stage. This historical landmark is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors are invited to explore the grounds, as well as the nearby cathedral and museums that make up the complex. Be sure to bring a camera to capture all of the majesty this unique place has to offer.

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Things to do in Sicily | Entertainment

Looking to be entertained the Sicilian way? This island features many of the celebrated entertainment venues found in other metropolitan regions of the globe … the difference being that guests will get to relax in centuries-old theaters, watch performances that are inspired by ancient Greek and Roman folklore, and learn more about the extensive Mediterranean culture found only in Sicily. Here are the hottest entertainment attractions located on the island.

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Massimo Theater (Teatro Massimo)

Known as one of the largest opera houses in all of Europe, Teatro Massimo in Palermo has an imposing presence that is ornate and stunning. Designed with Greek influence, this theater is prestigious and hosts some of the most iconic voices in show business. The interior of this building boasts historic paintings that charm and wow guests as well as furnishings that allow visitors to nestle in and enjoy the show. Events on program throughout the year include ballet, opera, and musicals. Check out the Teatro Massimo website to see the complete performance schedule.

Things to do in Sicily-Italy-Opera Dei Pupi Teatro Argento

Opera Dei Pupi Teatro Argento

For those who consider puppet shows to be a lost art, head over to Opera Dei Pupi Teatro Argento in Palermo and be ready to take in an amazing performance spearheaded by professional puppeteers. Opera Dei Pupi Teatro Argento has been around since the 19th century and is family owned and operated. Upon entering the theater, guests of all ages will be serenaded to the sweet sound of opera music while watching the puppets take center stage. The theater puts on a varied assortment of acts for guests, and each puppet is designed with the utmost attention to the details. Check out the theater’s website to get the complete performance lineup.

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Monk Jazz Club

Located in the Catania neighborhood, Monk Jazz Club is a fun music venue where visitors can let down their hair and enjoy classic and contemporary jazz hits performed by Italian musicians. Monk Jazz Club is a non-profit organization that supports up and coming musicians in finding their way on the jazz circuit. Stop by for a show in the comfortable low-lit theater.

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Things to do in Sicily-Italy-Carnevale

Things to do in Sicily | Annual events

Sicilians know how to throw a party and share their rich heritage and culture with visitors to the island. If your travel plans are flexible, schedule your visit to Sicily when one of these fun annual events are in full swing.

  • Carnevale – An annual event that takes place at the end of January/beginning of February where residents dress up in ornate masks and take to the streets to celebrate. Visitors can watch the parades and join in on the festivities.
  • Almond Blossom Festival – In celebration of all the almond trees that are in full bloom during the month of February, guests can enjoy puppet shows, folk dancing, and almond-inspired food.
  • The Dance of the Devils – Celebrated on Easter Sunday in the Prizzi region, The Dance of Devils – Happening in mid-April, this is an annual festival where locals dress up as the devils as a reminder of good and evil that inhabit the planet.
  • The Feast of Santa Rosalia – Join residents for a week in the middle of July to celebrate the beloved Saint Rosalia with outdoor theatrical performances, music, folk dancing, and more.
  • Ferragosto (Assumption Day) – A Catholic holiday in the region that celebrates the Assumption of Mary, Ferragosto is a host of festivities such as bonfires, dancing, and lots of food the night before. The entire island practically shuts down in celebration of this holiday. Ferragosto (Assumption Day) happens in August.
  • Chocolate Festival – Need we say more? Occurring every year in December, Chocolate Festival unites chocolate lovers and artisan chocolate artists together for a sweet celebration that kicks off the Christmas season.

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