A holiday in Sicily is a really enriching experience if you decide to see more than just the beach.
This little Mediterranean island is famous throughout the world, beyond all proportion to its economic or political importance.
No other part of Europe is associated with so many clichés, yet at the same time makes us so curious.
If you ask why, the answer is usually "The Godfather" movies.
Films have to make money, though, so movies try to be entertaining rather than factual. To redress the balance, we want to tell you a few stories about the Mafia which have really happened, along with some other interesting facts about Sicily:
Spending a winter holiday in Sicily is still a real insider secret. Lots of fascinating things to do in Sicily are much more enjoyable in winter, and some can only be done in winter. Gradually, more and more people are realising Sicily is a cheaper alternative to Thailand for some winter warmth.
The weather is surely the most appealing aspect of Sicilian holidays, but it's important to clear away some clichés. It's not always blue sky and blazing sunshine – otherwise the place would look like a desert! In reality Sicily is the greenest island in the Mediterranean.
The Mafia has lost a lot of its power in Sicily these days. Violence has not been seen in the streets for a long time. Did you know that nowadays the murder rate in Finland is almost twice as high as in Sicily?
The history of Sicily was dominated by the comings and goings of foreign rulers. Sicilians love to tell visitors about their history, and point out aspects of their culture brought by various invaders. It may come as a surprise, then, to read our overview and learn there have only been two invasions in the last 700 years!
Everyone associates Italy with fashion. Even those who have no idea which shape of shoe heel is "in" this season usually enjoy buying a fashion accessory as a souvenir of their holiday in Italy.
The image to the left shows a version of the traditional Sicilian flat cap called a coppola. The chain of shops called Coppola Storta have converted the coppola – which had become a symbol associated with the Mafia – into a symbol of the anti-Mafia movement.
Italian is the most beautiful language in the world. Unfortunately, many of us simply do not have the time to learn a new language. Fortunately, this is not absolutely necessary for a holiday in Sicily. We show you how to relax without speaking a single word during your Italian vacation – but also, if you like, how to grab the opportunity with both hands and to start learning Italian.
In Sicily, there is a ceramic tradition that goes back many centuries. Four Sicilian cities today even produce works under a certificate of traditional authenticity. Here we present the artist Mirella Pipia from Bagheria whose work represents a modern take on traditional Sicilian ceramics.
Hard to believe, but true: the first sportive automobile race in the world was launched on May 6, 1906, in Sicily - the Targa Florio. Today the Targa Florio is an old-time car convention which draws people equally into the natural and cultural treasures of western Sicily.