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The enchanting land where Archimedes taught and Saint Paul preached was a Greek colony, a Roman province, an Arab emirate and a Norman kingdom. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese and Jews made this unique island their own, leaving behind an eclectic history that you can still touch today. And Sicily will touch you. Sicily is Europe, Africa and Asia on one island. Greek tyrants, Arab emirs, Norman knights, Byzantine bishops and Holy Roman Emperors made it the place it is. Experience their eternal legacy in Phoenician settlements, Punic cities, Greek temples, Roman amphitheatres, Norman-Arab castles and Aragonese churches. Thirty centuries of history expressed in the Classical, the Romanesque, the Gothic, the Baroque...
Sikania to its most ancient peoples, our island was Sikelia, Plato's utopian society, to the ancient Greeks. Later, the sonnet was created at the Court of Frederick II, and the Sicilian language claimed its place in the literature of Dante and Boccaccio. Sunny Sicily is Punic Palermo, towering Taormina, ancient Agrigento, splendid Siracusa, and medieval Monreale and Cefalù.
And God created Sicily. The place where the mountains meet the sea. Sicilia,the island in the sun, is home to Heavenly beaches, majestic mountains and Europe's greatest natural wonder, Mount Etna. Sicily's coasts are gold with orange and lemon orchards. Each scenic region offers something different. In northeastern Sicily's Nebrodi Mountains you'll find unexpectedly lush forests. In the central regions you'll encounter rugged land and rolling hills. Dignified vineyards, ancient olive groves, hardy almond orchards and endless wheat fields complete the picture. Summer is amber land under a sky of blue. Winter finds palm trees dusted with snow in a surreal symphony. Spring is a rainbow of wild flowers set against greenest fields...
If you could choose just one place to visit where you could witness everything from the culture of Hellenic antiquity to the glories of the Middle Ages and the wonders of the Renaissance, shaped by a dozen civilizations, Sicily would be that place. And this website would be a good starting point.
Is Sicily Italy? Yes, our island is Italian. And French and Spanish and Greek, with a few German and Arab nuances in its cultural mix. It is the world's island. A place where time and tradition have been forged by peoples and faiths from the north and south, from the east and west. Beauty in diversity: Europe, Africa and Asia in one magical moment...
Bedda, the Sicilian word for "beautiful," is the way we Sicilians describe this place.
You won't be the first guest to enjoy Sicilian hospitality. Cicero, Saint Louis, Richard Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine have already tested the waters for you. Yes, our island has been extending hospitality to first-time visitors for three thousand years. You can be one of them.
We like to think that if the internet existed in Cicero's time he would have visited this site before coming to the island. You won't need papyrus or a Roman courier, just a touchscreen (we're tablet-friendly), keyboard or mouse. We'll take care of the rest.
A world unto itself, this island, in all its complexities, is a land like no other.
In Sicily tourism (a word we don't like too much) isn't just sightseeing. It's an entire culture.
Come visit our sunny island. We've been expecting you for three thousand years!
Things to see and do, scenery, cities, shopping, history, culture, nature, beaches, hotels, maps, restaurants, travel planning, arts, fashion, food and wine, weather, and an online magazine with real information you won't find on any other site, written for thinking people. Find it here.
Come to Sicily...
Featuring descriptions of places you'll want to visit, indexed by both city and things to see and do, along with some useful travel faqs, history (with sections on customs, culture, the Sicilian language, life, genealogy and much more), and even a good book page, this publication offers timely, useful travel information, provided by a qualified staff based in Sicily - not just travel writers or tour guides but insightful archeologists and widely-published historians who really know the people and place, presenting facts and details you won't find anyplace else. Viewed eight thousand times each day, our pages present varied (even controversial) points of view. The real Sicily, not the generic "tourism" version presented by other sites. Most online destination guides list their descriptions by locality. With Best of Sicily, you can search for a city, town or historical site by locality but also by the kind of thing to see. In Sicily archeology alone makes for an adventure, but it's just part of this island's historic heritage.
We're not a travel agency (although we promote several 'co-branded' tours), but you can find a flight, book your hotel and reserve a car through this site. Plan your entire visit (with a great links page), or just find out more about the place and its people. There's something here for almost everybody interested in something Sicilian. Every day, we're Sicily's international point of reference for thousands of the Web's most discerning readers: Travelers, teachers, students (for whom we have a special page), journalists, food and wine aficionados, culture vultures, adventurous trekkers and virtual tourists. Informed readers, not just "visitors."
Beyond the web, Best of Sicily sponsors the publication of more hard-copy books about Sicily in English than any other Sicily destination guide.
This site is for you. Just real, practical information. On our Sicilian history pages, with their links to hundreds of articles, you won't find just a lifeless narrative account of the 'who' and 'what' of ancient, medieval and modern Sicilian history, you'll understand the 'how' and the 'why' that makes a very special place come to life.
But no clichés and no platitudes. Whether we're presenting practical sightseeing advice or realistic information about travel safety, that's one thing that has always separated us from the herd of self-interested travel sites published by hotel chains, travel agencies and public travel bureaux.
The Peoples of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy. The most important history of Sicily
published in the last 50 years is about much more than an island in the sun, and it's the first "major" Sicilian history written in
English by Sicilian historians based here in Sicily. Enter a singular world of Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans and Jews. Can the eclectic medieval experience of the world's most conquered island be a lesson
for our times?
Featuring original articles about people, places, art and design, theatre, cinema, dance, delicious cuisine and Sicilian culture (and even a goddess or two), Best of Sicily Magazine is the first online magazine published entirely in Sicily in English.
Every month, the magazine presents insightful, original articles by Sicily's best authors on the life and soul of the place called Sicilia. And articles on a few "honorary" Sicilians like Aeschylus, Abdullah al Idrisi, Goethe, Wagner, D.H. Lawrence, Emilio Segré and Danilo Dolci. Uncensored, unbiased and uninhibited, it's the real Sicily and real Sicilians. Over 400 original articles you can expect from a real publication like this one, not just items taken from "news feeds," anonymous blogs or Wikipedia entries (that any visitor can edit). Our articles on things like the Crusades in Sicily, for example, are written with a uniquely Sicilian focus you simply won't find anyplace else.
With more "unique" foreign (non-Italian) readers around the world than any Sicilian newspaper or hard-copy magazine (over 2 million in 2011 and some 14 million since 2003), this site has a little of everything. Hundreds of articles about people, wildlife, nature, art, out of the way places, esoteric history. And vital social issues dealing with the life of real Sicilians in today's Sicily - things like education, the women's movement, the workplace and environmental conservation. Things that make Sicily a living, breathing place, not just a "tourist destination." The undiscovered, living place, full of complexities and real people. And its own Sicilian identity rooted in a distinctive heritage.
There are some great Sicilian writers, but this site is the most widely read English-language, non-fiction publication about Sicily. And, of course, it's free. (No hard-copy Sicilian newspaper or publication has ever enjoyed so many readers internationally, not even Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's bestselling novel, The Leopard.) The truest colours of this very special place, polished but never varnished, in a multicultural mosaic beyond "Sicilian tourism." We thank you, the Web's most sophisticated readers, for making us the world's favorite Sicilian website!
All text and images on this site (indexed under domain name bestofsicily.com) Copyright 1999-2014. Unauthorized re-publication is prohibited. All material on this website is original or used by permission. Edited entirely in Palermo (Italy), this is an independent Italian publication which is not affiliated with (i.e. the property of) any travel agency, tour operator, hotel chain or reservation service, resort, organisation, advertising agency, publishing house, media conglomerate, political association, public administrative agency or government travel bureau. Paid advertising is accepted. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the editors. See our Links Guide for our linking policy, and visit our Site Description page for additional editorial information. Last updated: Thursday, December 11th, 2014
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