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Must Know Basics about Sicily and Special Insider Tips Too

Anita McLachlan - 23rd June 2019

Sicily (Sicilia to the locals) is that island that Italy supposedly kicked into the Mediterranean Sea. Heading off to this beautiful part of the world? This article is designed to give you the fast facts, as well as a few insiders tips brought to you by a Suzie and Elena. Besties who have traveled to Sicily many times and have a few top tips to share just for you.

Let's go!

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, and the largest region in Italy. Rich in ancient history, culture and natural beauty to explore, don't expect to knock it over in a few days!

Give yourself time to explore its beautiful off-shore islands; the Aeolian Islands, the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria and the more isolated and stunning Pelagie, each enchanting in their own way, adding to a unique, unforgettable experience.

Many of Sicily's best sights are dusty ancient landmarks, requiring a hike to reach, with little shade. And virtually nothing in Sicily sits on flat ground — you'll encounter hills, hills, and more hills.

Fun Fact thanks to Studentsville Blog: Sicily in Italian is Sicilia so S-I-C-I-L-I-A. Its name is considered to be an evolution of the word Scilla, a sea-monster that lived with its counterpart Cariddi in the Messina Straight. This dates back to the Greco-Roman era to explaining why it was so difficult to pass the Messina Straight.

Quick Facts:
Size:

  • about 26,000 km2 (to put it in an Aussie size perspective, Tassie is 2.5 times bigger at about 68,000 km2).
  • Population - about 5 million. (Tassie has about 500,000)
  • Distance to mainland - Varies - about 16 km (9.9 miles) (between Capo d'Alì in Sicily and Punta Pellaro in Calabria) to a minimum of approximately 3 km (1.9 miles) between Capo Peloro in Sicily and Torre Cavallo in Calabria.

Weather & Climate:

  • As varied as its geography - mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers with very few cooling breezes.
  • It pays to check out the specific areas you intend to go to, to know what the weather is going to be like there. This site was very useful. Not just stats.
  • Can be unpredictable, so the best bet is to tap into a weather app and check conditions before you head out.
  • Snow in winter in the higher inland areas!
  • Water temps of about 15-28 degrees, winter to summer. Yep, 26 degrees in the water in summer!

Geography:

  • Diverse - rugged mountains and volcanoes down to stunning beaches and coves.
  • Beaches are as varied as its terrain - sandy to rocky and everything in between so you have loads of options.
  • Surf - chasing a wave? You can! North and south depending on the time of year and winds. These guys seem to know their stuff. Their Top Tip: the Mediterranean can change its personality pretty quickly; calm and polished to a booming waves within moments. Check conditions before you head out.

Language:

  • There are over 30 dialects spoken in Italy, a different one for each main region and the Sicilians have 3 of their own!
  • Here are some very practical and useful phrases to get your tongue around before you land. Just get the context right!

Culture:
How much time have you got?!

  • Like its landscape - a rich tapestry of diversity - Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans, to the Arabs. Normans and Spaniards left their mark too. Take you time to learn about it before you go and pick the spots that you find most intriguing and explore!
  • Many of Sicily's best sights are dusty ancient landmarks, requiring a hike to reach, with little shade. And virtually nothing in Sicily sits on flat ground — you'll encounter hills, hills, and more hills.

Food:
Influenced by those who have 'invaded' and called it home over the centuries, Sicilian cuisine is in a class of its own

  • Cannoli, caponata, arancini and parmi's (parmigiana).
  • Granita, brioche, panelle (street food)
  • Sardines and thick as pizza.

and a whole lot more. Dive in and try them all! Italians love their food. To journey it through its food is a must.

Want more Info? These are great sites to check out. Want to add your top tips? Then leave them below. There will be many grateful Holiday Girls happy that you shared!
: The Thinking Traveler
: Rick Steeves' Europe
: Visit Sicily
: Great Food Clues from this blog
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Our Holiday Girl Tips - Gems From Those Who Go There Often.

Suzie & Elena's Tips:
We asked Suzie and Elena for their quick best tips for a holiday in Sicily. Here's what they said.

Elena:
Elena is from Melbourne, is self employed and is a regular traveler to Sicily. She's also great mates with Suzie. On her last trip she went to Syracusa on the island of Ortigia.

Best Thing I Did:
Wander the narrow streets. The markets, Piazza Duomo, the marina and boutiques. Just beautiful.

Glad I Packed My:
Big sunglasses which provided much-needed shade from the Sicilian summer sun. It gets so hot and bright!

Best Place to Eat:
For a special treat, the Ortea Palace hotel. Luxurious and extraordinary experience!

Suzie:
Suzie you may well know as being part of our fabulous Cossie Confidence Crew and popular over on Instagram with her pages Suzie Richetti @suzierichetti. Yep, she's got 2 and does a wonderful job on both!

On her trip to Sicily with her husband The Sicilian last year Suzie says...
I loved going to many UNESCO sites. Greek temples in Agrigento to Moorish Erice and Baroque Ragusa Ibla.

Best Thing I Did:
Drink Marsala in Marsala! Such a stunning town.

Glad I Packed My:
Fedora Hat. It gets very hot sightseeing around this stunning island.

Best Place To Eat:
Local cafes serving Almond Granita with Brioche for breakfast!

I hope that was helpful girls. If you need a hand to pack those swimmers or resortwear pieces for your Sicilian holiday, we'd love to help you. Not sure of what swimsuit is best for you? Then head over here to our Get Swimsuit Help section. It's awesome. You can even book a virtual swimsuit style session with us so we can help you out, the next best thing to being in a fitting room! Then there are different Looks to inspire you - versatile outfits and essentials to help get you packing in a flash!

Thanks Elena and Suzie!
Have a wonderful Sicilian adventure!

Anita
xx