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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

10 Fun Things to Do in Sicily, Italy

Tempio di Giunone (Temple de Junon), Agrigento...Image via Wikipedia

By Orson Johnson

Everyone thinks of the Mafia when they think of Sicily. What does one do for fun in the region that was home to the most powerful families of their time?
1. Visit the archaeological sites. Sicily is steeped in ancient history and has several ruins and monuments worth visiting. The Valley of the Temples, which dates back to the Grecian era, can be found in the city of Agrigento. Byzantine-Christian cemeteries from the 4th and 5th centuries are found here too. Visitors to Sicily must also take a look at the Greek amphitheater in Taormina.

2. Stroll along the Vendicari Reserve. Found in the southeast section of Sicily, the Reserve is a long, wild and untouched beach, making it a popular favorite for those seeking solitude or quiet time with a loved one.
3. Visit Caltagirone in July during the St Giacomo festival and participate in the revelry of the processions and other festivities.
4. Take a private tour of Mount Etna and browse through the local craft stores along the way at leisure. The private tour often allows for many photo opportunities as well the option of a traditional Sicilian meal in a mountain village.
5. Visit Forza D'Agro and Savoca, both of which were used as the backdrop for several scenes in "The Godfather."
6. Go scuba diving in the waters off the Aeolian Islands. Among these, one can find the Stromboli island, which has a small active volcano-a beautiful sight to behold on a clear night.
7. Sicily is a mountainous terrain, making it perfect for trekking, running, mountain biking, camping, and extreme sports. Trekkers and hikers are best advised to check weather reports carefully as freak snowstorms have been known to occur, leaving hikers stranded for days.
8. Try each of the bars that cater to a different demographic. Some bars cater to a mostly German crowd, while others serve a more Irish or American clientele. All the bars are likely to be frequented by tourists rather than locals since the local women tend not to visit these venues unaccompanied.
9. Check out the catacombs of the Capuchins. Approximately 8,000 people are buried in the maze of subterranean passages in Palermo. Some of the oldest mummified bodies are as much as 500 years old or more and yet are incredibly well preserved.
10. Visit L'Angolo del Papiro and learn how to turn papyrus (the plant) into paper using the same methods that were used 5,000 years ago. The workshop in Siracusa is located opposite the Greek Theater. Handmade products made with the papyrus are sold to those who take a tour of the premises.
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Sicily villas & Worldwide vacation apartments.

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