BEACHES AND SEA RESORTS
the largest of the Mediterranean Islands, comprises a number of
satellite minor archipelagoes; along its triangular perimeter is
an endless number of splendid sea resorts and spots, some of which,
as Taormina and Cefalù, renowned across the world. Mondello,
San Vito lo Capo are but other few names. Along a roughly 1,000
km-long coastline combine tremendous and varied sea landscapes and
colours, archaeological and historical sites, a precious geographical
diversity, unspoilt sea-beds, all of what have contributed to make
Sicily a cradle of tourism. Most of the resorts are today well-provided
with accommodation and tourism facilities.
fairly famous for the awesome Temples Valley, also boasts a noted
shoreline running from Sciacca to Licata and bathed by the African
Sea – what has enriched the natural and cultural heritage
of this area. The Pelagians Islands, standing among tourists’
most favorite destinations, are also part of this province.
is a major resort, with both historical and naturalistic resources:
its sand beaches and the thermal baths have made it well-known.
Tourists can also enjoy sites of historical and artistic interest
such as the Porta San Salvatore, the old gate to the city, the fourteenth
century Chiesa di Santa Margherita, the Norman Cathedral and others.
Sea has played a decisive role in the growth of the city, its shore
being a major stopping point in the Mediterranean trade routes.
The discovery of corals reefs in its waters around the late 1800s
even increased its economic importance. The sea has not lost its
importance today, Sciacca economy still largely relying on fishing,
summer tourism and the shipbuilding. Numerous bathing sites and
beaches are most renowned, notably Stazzone, the Tonnara, Foggia
and San Marco.
Pelagian archipelago, above mentioned, composed of Lampedusa, Linosa
and Lampione islands, is a major destination of summer tourists
who may enjoy a range of attractions and opportunities spanning
uncontaminated environments and beaches, breathtaking landscapes
and views, crystal-like waters, boating and scuba diving tours.
Lampedusa is by far the most famous island in the Archipelago and
one of the best summer resorts in all Italy. Closer to the African
coast than Sicily’s, it represents a fascinating bridge between
diverse cultures and environments.
on Agrigento’s coastline, stand Porto Empedocle and Licata,
two cities of oldest traditions. The former has been an outstanding
port since ancient times, while the latter is especially noted for
its agricultural outputs.
near the ancient city of Selinunte, is a site of historical importance.
Remnants of ancient Roman vessels wrecked sometime between the second
and the first centuries BC were recovered offshore. A 16th century
tower overlooking the African sea is also worth-seeing.
with its splendid natural bay, the small and charming island of
Ortygia, its historical and artistic heritage – the Greek
Theatre and Dionisius’ Ear being but a few names – is
one of the most beautiful Italian cities. Its shoreline is enclosed
by the Augusta’s small peninsula at north and Capo Passero,
the southernmost of Sicily’s headlands. Bathed by the Ionian
Sea, the area saw many foreign dominations.
small island of Ortygia, connected to the mainland by two bridges,
is the heart of the old city. There stand three of the city’s
most attractive monuments, namely the Duomo – a former Greek
temple that Christians turned into a cathedral – the Palazzo
Beneventano and the Fonte Aretusea. The city’s main coastal
resorts, Lido Arenella, Ognina and Fontane Bianche, and the neighbouring
Brucoli, are most crowded in summer.
Noto bay covers the southern stretch of the coast, from the Maddalena
peninsula to Capo Passero. With its characteristic high cliffs and
caves – eroded by the sea waters –, uncontaminated sea-beds
and stone quarries, this is also very attractive. Particularly worth-seeing
are the lovely fishing villages of Marzamemi, founded by the Arabs
and grown around a grand tuna fishery, and the neighboring Portopalo
di Capo Passero, its smallest island lying few hundreds meters off
the headland. The tuna fishery – of Greek-Roman origin –,
some ancient catacombs, a number of finest sand beaches and bathing
spots, a praised local cuisine, the picturesque Capo Passero island
with a massive fortress rising at its centre, make this coastal
strip absolutely amazing.
few kilometres inland, has renowned environmental resources. The
town was built on the site of an extinct undeground volcano. Its
coast alternates high cliffs and fine sand beaches. The area has
been settled since Antiquity, its promontory being a major stopping
point for the Mediterranean routes.
shoreline, bathed by the Ionian Sea, is as much impressive as other
Sicilian provinces’. The city shore stretches out along nine
kilometres of sandy beaches with such environmental riches as the
Simeto river’s mouth, a noted protected area for several species
of birds. The site known as Le Ciminiere facing the sea, once a
sulphur refinery, has been now converted to venue for most cultural
and social events.
of the city are other lovely sea towns and villages. Aci Castello
is especially renowned for an enchanting Norman castle, sitting
atop a cliff dominating the sea. Built in 1076, it belonged to Roger
of Loria, and, later, Fredrick II of Aragon. Today, the castle houses
the Town Museum. Acitrezza – now a protected area –,
few kilometres north, is another much picturesque fishing village
with dramatic sea views. Well-known are its faraglioni, huge rocks
rising out of the sea, that legend claims to have been hurled by
the cyclop Polyphemus against Ulysses’ vessels. Acitrezza
is also noted for providing the setting for Giovanni Verga’s
celebrated novel I Malavoglia. Other fishing and tourism resorts
along the Catanian shore are worth a mention, namely Santa Maria
la Scala, Santa Tecla, Stazzo and Pozzillo.
a tourist point of view, Trapani is certainly one of the richest
and better endowed provinces in Sicily. Along its coastline are
numerous well-known summer attractions. Bathed by two seas, it boasts
both sea and historical wonders with remnants from past ages and
dominations. Tourism – along with the salt industry –
is today a major resource also thanks to the many accommodation
and entertainment facilities grown across the entire province.
Vito Lo Capo is the province’s main sea resort; with its beautiful
sea, beaches and warm climate, it draws thousands of tourists every
year. The ancient city of Mazara del Vallo, thanks to its strategic
location in the middle of the Mediterranean trade routes, a fishing
fleet among the largest in the Mediterranean and fertile hinterland
has long been one of the most powerful and prosperous cities in
Sicily. The archaeological and naturalistic sites of Segesta, Erice,
the Zingaro Nature Reserve – combining unique sea, flora and
fauna – the Monte Cofano, and many others make Trapani a most
demanded tourism destination.
gulf of Castellammare bathed by crystal-like waters, alternates
rocky (to the west) and sandy tracts (to the east). Its mountainside
is also very appreciated by tourists. Scopello, an ancient fishing
village, is one of its most frequented spots thanks to unspoilt
beaches and sea-floors. Worth-noting is a tuna-fishery restored
by the Arabs. This construction is no longer active today, this
fishing technique having largely declined. Calabianca, Punta del
Grottaro and the so-called Guidaloca, all with a fine shore and
crystal blue sea, are some other interesting names in the bay.
del Golfo was the former port of Erice and Segesta, two important
cities founded by the mysterious Elymians. Its harbour was fundamental
for the agriculture exports. Its lovely fortress, overlooking the
sea, was originally built by the Arabs and since enlarged by Normans
is the second city in the province after the capital. It derives
its name from the Arab occupation when it was an outstanding port.
The city, worldwide famous for its omonymous wine, has fine monuments,
such as the Duomo, dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury and housing
the Tapestry and the Archaeologic museums, and incredible sea environments.
Following one of the city main streets visitors are enraptured by
unique vistas spanning the Capo Boeo, the off shore Egadi Islands,
the Stagnone Lagoon with its tiny islands.
province comprises the well-known island of Pantelleria and the
a volcanic island with jagged coasts, caves, cliffs and crystal
blue sea is crowded in summer. It alternates a variety of colours:
the black typical of volcanic lands, the green of the mediterranean
bush and the blue of the sea. Tourists can enjoy some archaeological
sites like the acropolises of S. Marco and Santa Teresa, byzantine
tombs, a sanctuary and several other monuments. Numerous beaches
or sea spots are available like those known as Bue Marino, Campobello,
and the rocky Cala Cinque Denti.
Egadi archipelago, with the three major islands of Favignana, Levanzo
and Marettimo – this, at one time linked to Sicilian mainland
– combines wonderful, uncontaminated environments and spectacular
colours. Like Pantelleria, these also boast an historical importance,
their waters and sea-beds conserving remains from the Punic and
coastline, stretching in the northwestern tip of Sicily has so much
to offer to tourists in historical, cultural and naturalistic riches.
A countless number of sea and tourism resorts can be found there,
each one retaining its own distinctive traits, scents and colours.
is the most known of Palermo’s summer resorts. At one time
the retreat of King Ferdinand of Bourbon, the village is protected
by the Pellegrino and the Gallo Mounts that rise behind the bay.
The beautiful sandy beach bordered by rocky cliffs and caves is
crowded with tourists in the summer. Nearby lie the remains of an
ancient tuna-fishery, while those of a mysterious town stand in
the oldest side of the town.
neighboring Cinisi grew up on a feudal estate situated at the eastern
end of the Castellammare Bay, in the valley of the Furi river. Liked
by both locals and tourists this area has old origins that date
back to the 15th century, when a number of towers were erected serving
to protect the local tuna-fisheries. These are named Torre dell’Orsa,
Torre Pozzillo and Torre Molinazzo. The town Chiesa Madre dedicated
to Santa Fara and a shrine dedicated to the Madonna del Furi are
the most attractive buildings in town.
Imerese, on the Tyrrhenian coast, was named after the thermal baths
there located. According to tradition their springs were created
by the nymphs who needed water to refresh Hercules after one of
his celebrated labours. The town harbour has been very important
for the city’s economy.
dating from the 18th century, is among Palermo’s finest sea
resorts. All the area, rich in caves and bathing spots, is now protected
by enviromental laws. A number of ancient military outposts and
monuments, like the 18th century Mother Church and the Town Museum
are worth a visit. Boating, diving and biking tours of the coast
are highly recommended. Near the harbour is the wonderful beach
Punta Raisi and Capo Gallo, in front of the Island of Women is the
lovely Capaci, rich in naturalistic as well as architectural –
such as the 18th century baroque Mother Church – archaeological,
scientific and historical attractions – various necropolises
were discovered at the area. The place is well provided with restaurants
and tourism facilities.
Isola delle Femmine (Island of Women), nearly a kilometre offshore,
is a lovely place of oldest origins. It is easily reachable from
Sferracavallo, a small fishing village nearby. On the small islet
are nice beaches and two interesting watch towers dating from the
16th century. Ancient relics have been recovered from the sea-beds
around it, now home to richest flora and fauna.
is one of Sicily’s most notorious resorts, second only to
Taormina. Well-known is its Norman Cathedral built at the behest
of Count Roger II and housing some splendid mosaic works. The town
has a unique position, nestled down the slopes of a limestone promontory
and dotted with enviable coastal strips. Archaeological evidence
for the city’s remotest origins is provided by the so-called
Rocca or Diana Temple. The oldest part of Cefalù offers a
particularly attractive scenery consisting of a maze of narrow streets
lined with picturesque stone-houses overlooking the sea.
a volcanic island off Palermo shore, is another renowned summer
resort. Its uncontaminated coast, waters and sea-beds make it a
paradise for tourists and ideal for boating and snorkeling tours.
province of Ragusa has plenty of finest spots. Most renowned are
its finest sand beaches, bays, jagged coastal strips and the calm
sea. Tourism has been constantly growing here thanks to new and
di Ragusa – the former Mazzarelli – is one of the most
frequented and developed resorts. It has developed around a 16th
century watch-tower built by the Counts Cabreras; it is provided
with hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities and a well-equipped
one of the leading ports in Sicily, boasts oldest fishing and sailing
traditions. It grew around a watch-tower – this also built
by the Counts of Modica – and an important Caricatore (a small
harbour). It is endowed with beautiful endless sandy beaches.
few kilometres away is Santa Maria del Focallo, a nice sea spot
in Ispica territory. The western stretch of Ragusa shoreline, stretching
out to Capo Passero, is run by an endless tract of finest sandy
beach here and there interrupted by some low rocky cliffs. On the
eastern side are some lovely fishing – now also tourism –
villages, namely Donnalucata, Cava d’Aliga and Sampieri, all
belonging to Scicli. A special mention goes to Sampieri’s
impressive beach, facing south-west towards an amazing ruined building,
a former tiles factory destroyed by fire, situated in the Pisciotto
district, known as ‘u stabilimientu abbruciatu (that is the
Scoglitti, in the proximity of Vittoria, has a wide beach and such
naturalistic sites as the mouth of the Ippari River. Fishing and
tourism are the main livelyhood. The village’s picturesque
fish market and several restaurants specialized in fish and seafood
are worth-visiting there.
di Modica, the sea extension of Modica, is an attractive resort
boasting an old tourism tradition, being a favorite destination
since the 1960s. It has a fine beach bordered on its two sides by
amazing rocky strips and is well endowed with all kinds of tourism
facilities, remarkably developed in the last years. Its fine promenade
is ideal for relaxing walks.
shoreline features unique spots and landscapes. Particularly interesting
is the coastal area known as Costa Saracena spanning Tindari, the
Capo Calavà, the San Giorgio Bay, the beaches of Piraino,
Brolo and Capo d’Orlando. This stretch stands in an enviable
position, closest to Messina and overlooking the close Aeolian Islands,
and has a profusion of naturalistic and artistic riches.
is a very interesting town, rich in monuments and naturalistic beauties.
Its coast is characterized by the alternation of sandy and rocky
its historical and artistic attractions, the city of Messina also
provides with sea and naturalistic sites scattered all around the
famous Strait connecting Sicily to the Italian mainland and standing
as one of the most important strategical zones in the whole Mediterranean
Sea, that has much contributed to the city growth. Theatre of wars
and natural cataclysms, Messina has been reconstructed several times.
The harbour also played a decisive role in the city evolution.
province’s Ionian shore is spread with charming fishing villages
where tourism has significantly developed of late. One of these,
Ganzirri, is noted for a 16th century circular tower situated nearby
and for the Torre Faro, the lighthouse by the Strait.
d’Orlando is a favorite destination of tourists. Its enviable
location, not far from Taormina, the Etna volcano, the Aeolian Islands
and the Nebrodi Natural Park, has much contributed to its growth
and development. According to legend, the city was founded in ancient
times by one of Aeolus’sons. A Roman thermal bath and a necropolis
near the Monte della Madonna, dating from the same epoch, are much
interesting. The city is well-endowed with tourism facilities and
restaurants, and has fine beaches and a calm sea. San Gregorio and
the Trazzera Marina stand among Capo d’Orlando’s most
attractive sites, noted for their crystal-clear waters.
is by far the most famous and demanded destination in Sicily, the
ideal place for anyone who wants to spend either a relaxing or active
holiday. Its diverse elements ensure an incredible stream of tourists
all the year round. Founded by refugees from the neighbouring Naxos
in 384 BC, the town was since governed by Byzantines, Arabs and
Normans. It is well-dotted with facilities and attractions and hosts
such famous cultural events as the Art Festival. Its coast offers
numerous impressive bathing spots like Isola Bella, Baia delle Sirene,
Mazzarò and many others.
Agata di Militello is a lovely resort on the Tyrrhenian side of
Messina coastline with a nice sea promenade, recreational facilities,
picturesque fishermen homes and a beautiful countryside. It is also
dotted with artistic and historical sites like the Castle of Princes
Lanza di Scalea Trabia and the Torre della Marina overlooking the
splendid Giardini Naxos was founded in 753 BC. Crystal blue waters
and beautiful environments are the main features of its shore. Along
with the neighbouring Taormina, this stands among Sicily’s
most demanded resorts, thanks to its splendid naturalistic and bathing
sites – such as Capo Schisò and the mouth of the Alcantara
river – as well as archaeological-historical ones.
one of Greeks’ earliest colonies, is a beautiful city on Messina’s
Thyrrenian coast with a beautiful mountainside and such artistic
and historical attractions as the ancient Cathedral, the Spanish
walls, the circular towers, the Medieval town and several lovely
churches. The Aeolian Islands, easily reachable from the town’s
harbour, are close-to-hand. Milazzo, known as “the Sea Queen”,
has a profusion of hotels, restaurants and other facilities. Tourists
are enraptured by the beauty of its coast so rich in caves and bays,
and the amazing fishermen’s quarters.
along the Thyrrenian coast, stand Naso – a charming village
protected by the Nebrodi mountains, with a 2km shoreline –,
Patti – built by the Count Roger of Hautville in 1094, grown
around a Benedictin Monastery and with an intresting Roman villa
–, and the impressive Tindari – one of Sicily’s
main resorts, located nearby and dominating a tremendous sea landscape.
This last is dotted with amazing historical-archaeological and naturalistic
Aeolian Islands complete the rich list of Messina’s summer
resorts. A favorite destination of tourists from across the world
who remain enraptured by their amazing uncontaminated environment,
these Islands also boast important and most ancient traditions.
Precious archaeological remains provide evidence for the presence,
here, of Sicily’s successive dominators: Phoenicians, Romans,
Byzantines, and so on. The seven Aeolian islands offer a variety
of sites and attractions. A fine climate, beautiful and varied colours,
a richest vegetation and wildlife, purest sea waters, a renowned
cuisine have contributed to make them among the most demanded and
appreciated places in Sicily. Stromboli, Filicudi, Panarea, Vulcano,
Alicudi, Salina and Lipari, each one shows its own distinctive features
almost at the centre of Sicily, the province of Caltanissetta comprises
few, although lovely, sea resorts. However, the district is endowed
with many impressive naturalistic resources such as lakes, hills,
caves, woods, natural parks and other protected areas. Sites of
historical and archaeological interest and many remnants from the
past civilizations testify to the area’s ancient origins.
Gela, on the southern coast, is the province’s main city.
Founded by Doric colonists in 689 BC, it is home to several interesting
archaeological-historical sites, as well as some fine beaches and
The Holy Places
The Reserves and Parks
Guide of Sicily
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