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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Palermo Uncovered - Things to See & Do in Palermo, Sicily

Politeama theatre.
Politeama theatre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Michelle Elkins
Like the country itself, the people of Sicily burst with colour, passion and vitality, welcoming visitors to their spectacular island with a warmth that is infectious. As the capital of Sicily, Palermo concentrates all this wonderful enthusiasm and provides a getaway for holiday-makers that is unforgettable. Although parts of it are still crumbling, much work has been done to restore the grandeur of this amazing city which is rich in medieval ancestry and the sights, sounds and flavours of the Mediterranean.

Palermo Airport, also known as Punta Raisi Airport or Falcone-Borsellino Airport is located 32km northwest of the centre. For those not organising car hire at Palermo Airport, onward transportation comes in the form of trains, buses, taxis or a Palermo Airport Transfer, which is well worth the few minutes it takes to book in advance. Direct flights to Palermo from the UK go from Stansted Airport and are provided by the low cost airline, Ryanair.  

While the Piazza Pretoria equates the central point of Palermo, where the famous Pretoria Fountain complete with nude figurines takes centre stage, the Quattro Canti is at the original heart of the city. This ancient square is where the main roads of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda diverge and divided the town into quarters. It is here that one of the most impressive structures in Palermo lies, at least internally, the Palazzo dei Normanni, which is now where the Sicilian parliament resides. This Arab-Norman palace has been rebuilt significantly from the outside but inside is made spectacular by the unbelievable mosaics which cover the walls and ceiling of the Cappella Palatina and the old Royal Apartments.

Other places of interest to visit are the Museo Archeologico Regionale with its Greek and Roman artifacts, the Galleria Regionale within the Gothic-styled Palazzo Abatellis which exhibits a host of masterpieces, and for music lovers there is the Teatro Massimo. Finally finished in 1897, after 22 years of construction, it is the largest opera house in Italy.

For a truly spine-tingling treat however, the Capuchin Catacombs offer something a little more macabre. Situated under the monastery of the same name, it is home to over 8000 mummified cadavers which line the walls in a state of lifelike suspension. The effect is due to the special preservative used to freeze the corpses, although some have fared better then others. Some of the bodies date back to the 16th century, but the last person to be buried there was a 2-year-old called Rosalia Lombaro in 1920 who the locals have nicknamed "Sleeping Beauty". It is open daily between 9am-12 noon and 3pm-5pm.

After all that sight-seeing, a leisurely trip to the beach may well be in order and on the north coast of Sicily the choice is fantastic. The chance to wade in mesmerising, warm blue waters and lay out on soft, golden sands in the glorious Sicily weather is guaranteed along the north coast.. Travel west 12.2km, a journey of around 25 minutes in a Palermo hire car, and you come to the riviera-type resort of Mondello. This pretty seaside location is full of beautiful grand villas, many in the art deco style, and swaying palm trees sat cocooned between the gentle, lulling sea and the majestic mountains of Cape Gallo and Mount Pellegrini. The town has plenty of quaint cafes to find refreshment in or for something altogether swankier, there is a beach club with a restaurant located at the end of a pier which treats diners to some spectacular views. To get back to nature, the Capo Gallo National Park provides some fantastic walks with its rocky, lush green beauty and is just a further 20 minute drive north.   

Travel in the other direction, 67km or 55 minutes east from Palermo by car and Cefalù offers the perfect place for a day trip. More classically Italian in spirit, Cefalù boasts a colourful beach and a plethora of traditional eateries, while the town´s Norman and medieval heritage is still very much in evidence in its narrow winding streets and architectural remnants. The Palermo-Messina trains also stop along this route and buses regularly stop here.

It would be impossible to come to Sicily though and not visit one of nature´s biggest attractions. Although Mount Etna is over a 3 hour drive from Palermo, roughly 250km, the chance to see the most active volcano in the world is unmissable. The south side of the mountain is free for all to climb but to get to the very top and stare into the eye of the volcano, a guide is necessary. Here the scenery changes from vines and wooded areas to a spartan wasteland of craters and hardened black lava, dotted with snow for much of the year. The result is akin to the conditions on Mars which is why scientists frequently use the area to test robots before they are sent there.

Although it can be done in a day, it is advisable to stop off in nearby Catania for the night and take the opportunity to visit some of the unusual black sandy beaches, a direct result of the resident volcano. Also on the list should be Siracusa, approximately 66km and an hour´s drive south. The town itself and the nearby Necropolis of Pantalica are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites, and have some amazing examples of ancient Greek and Roman archaeology.

Michelle Elkins is a regular contributor to the Sicily Airport Guide, which provides the best rates on []Palermo Airport car hire and information on everything from []Palermo Airport transfers to Palermo Weather.

Article Source: [,-Sicily&id=2092727] Palermo Uncovered - Things to See & Do in Palermo, Sicily
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The Best Beaches in Sicily: Top 5 Shores on the Island

wildlife sanctuary "Zingaro", prov. ...
wildlife sanctuary "Zingaro", prov. Trapani, reg. Sicily, Italy: Tonnara del Uzzo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : Realmonte : La falaise de « Scala d...
Français : Realmonte : La falaise de « Scala dei Turchi », mélange d'argile et de calcaire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy Polsk...
English: San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy Polski: San Vito Lo Capo, Sycylia, Włochy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Giorgia Di Mattei

If you are thinking about going for a trip to South Italy, maybe you would like to know where to find stunning beaches to relax and sunbathe far from the city noises and routine. Before going, discover the 5 best beaches in Sicily you shouldn't miss for any reason.

Are you much more into sandy shores? Or do you prefer rocky beaches? Check the detailed list we've prepared for you and find out your ideal beach in Sicily!

Sandy beaches in Sicily

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top 3 Best Places to Stay in Sicily: Where to Book Your Accommodation

Top 3 Best Places to Stay in Sicily: Where to Book Your Accommodation
By Giorgia Di Mattei
The good weather, the stunning seascapes and the warm people make Sicily the perfect destination for pleasant and relaxing holidays. All around the island, there are a lot of heavenly spots, but with this little guide you'll be sure to choose among the best places to stay in Sicily.
Opt for the place that better matches with your ideal holiday and enjoy your stay!
1. Surrounded by nature in Cefal�
Nature lovers get ready to have a trip around the best landscapes ever. If you want to enjoy the wonders of both the sea and the mountain, one of the best places to stay in Sicily is Cefal�.
This small seaside village is at about 10 miles from the park of Madonie where you can go trekking or birdwatching, among the lush paths of the reserve. Have a bath among the stacks in the bay of Cefal�, just below the promontory of the Rocca, or enjoy the naturist beach enclosed in the gorges of Tiberio, near San Mauro Castelverde.
2. Enjoy art in Syracuse
If you are interested in history and art, the best places to stay in Sicily are those in the surroundings of Syracuse. The whole area has a lot of Greek archaeological sites and many examples of Baroque buildings. Have a walk around the ancient amphitheatre in Syracuse and visit the Cathedral in Noto, inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, and take a picture to the famous 'Orecchio di Dioniso' (Dionysus's ear) in Ortigia.
If you love chocolate, do not miss Modica, near the southernmost point in the island. You will enjoy art while trying some of the finest chocolate in Italy.
3. A tasty trip to Palermo
Sicily is really famous also for its tasty culinary art. You can have really delightful food experience all around the island, but probably one of the best places to stay in Sicily where you can try several kinds of street food is Palermo. Taste panelle, crocch�, stigghiola, milza and arancine, and don't forget to have also a sweet cannolo with ricotta cheese and chocolate before leaving.
Let the charm of food street attract you or choose one of the several food and wine tours organized by many associations that work for the promotion of local products and traditional cuisine. Try to spend a day in a real Sicilian atmosphere, surrounded by warm people during one of the several festivals.
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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Must See in Rome - The Roman Forum

Roman Forum
Roman Forum (Photo credit: StefanoRomeTours)
By Eric Simon

It is said that Rome wasn't built in a day. The magnificent structures as well as the ruins speak volumes of its glorious history. It has the richest and the fullest history evidenced by anyone so far. It is colorful and the most appealing of all travel destinations. This is one place where the past and the present go hand in hand. Here you can try to follow the tourist's path or try and go off the track, if you are brave enough to. Either way, Rome is going to amaze and surprise you. This is one city which has plenty to offer, but its beauty has been blurred by the passing time.

5 Top Historical Monuments in Rome

Though in ruins, the Flavian Amphitheatre, now...
Though in ruins, the Flavian Amphitheatre, now known as the Colosseum, still stands today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Preety Gupta

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. It is home to several historical monuments some of which can be seen for free while others require cards and passes. Most of these ancient monuments are located in the city's historic centre and so there are several places that you can visit in a single day. Even if you don't have time for an in-depth look, you will find walking past them an incredible experience. Over the past few years, some of these monuments have been renovated to make them more user-friendly. Here are just some of the historical monuments that you may wish to see while in Rome.