Do you like a variety of exotic Italian cuisine, natural and artistic beauty and vibrant people who live in the now? Sicily fascinates with history, art and food from its many occupiers: Greeks, Arabs, Normans and more.
Major cities are Palermo in the northwest and Catania in the east.
Near Catania, gorgeous Taormina perches on a hillside. Its well preserved Greek theatre commands incredible views to Mount Etna and the coast. Fine shops and bakeries full of citrus and almond sweets entice you.
In Mount Etna’s foothills take a unique walk among craters and lava flows and learn about volcanoes.
Stromboli, in the Aeolian Islands off the northeast coast, is a visual feast. Its volcano hurling fire into the night sky, white houses, colourful, exotic plants, black sand beaches. Hike to the 900 metre summit to see the volcano’s fire closer.
Southeast Sicily bursts with elaborate Baroque architecture, especially in Noto.
In Modica, medieval and Baroque buildings sit on terraces climbing hills on both sides of a gorge. Soak up local life on evening strolls on the main street among families. Indulge in Modica’s famous chocolate.
Sample dishes: caponata with eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, pasta with sardines, pine nuts, raisins, baked swordfish with capers and herbs, cannoli.
Outstanding dessert wines like Marsala, Passito di Pantelleria and Malvasia. Wines of local grapes like Nero d’Avola, and volcanic Etna wines now captivate wine lovers.
First weekend in June. Aeolian island of Salina. Caper Festival
September 15-18. In Cefalu. Sherbeth Festival of artisan gelato with stands, tastings, music.
First weekend of October. In Zafferana, in Mount Etna’s foothills, Ottobrata Festival. Artisans at work, food and drink stands, street market, games for kids big. A local festival with few foreigners.
Mid October. Pistachio Festival in Mount Etna town of Bronte, famous for pistachios
Weather in Taormina
Winter December 7-13 C/ 45-55 F, January & February 5-11 C/ 41-52 F
Spring March 6-13 C/ 43-55 F, April 8-16 C/ 46-61 F, May 12-21 C/ 53-70 F
Summer June 16-25 C/ 61-77 F, July & August 19-28 C/ 62-82 F
Fall September 17-25 C/ 63-77 F, October 13-20 C/ 55-68 F, November 10-16 C/ 50-61 F
In Mount Etna area towns at about 500 metres above sea level, temperatures are about 4 degrees C/ 7 degrees F less than seaside Taormina. Mount Etna’s ski season lasts about three months.
November to March often have heavy rain. Summer months, especially July and August, can be very hot up to 35 C/ 95 F. Easy to get sunburned badly and suffer sun stroke with the intense sun.
Spring and fall are the best times with warm temperatures and lots of sun.
Getting There & Away
Airports: Catania and Palermo.
Trains run around all coasts of Sicily. To/from Palermo and Catania, buses that cross the middle of Sicily are faster than the train that follows the coast.
Traveling to/from the Italian mainland is faster by plane than train and often about the same price. Most frequent and best priced flights leave Rome.
Mama Margaret’s Tours In Sicily
Eat, cook, laugh and discover breathtaking natural beauty in the untouristed Mount Etna town of Linguaglossa and Taormina with fun loving Sicilians, passionate about sharing their food, culture and lives with you.
Cook typical Sicilian dishes in classes at a great, family-run restaurant under Mount Etna and a delightful family in their home in Linguaglossa.
Enjoy warm, local hospitality at a lovely, historic, chic, family-run four star hotel with a wellness centre and spa in Linguaglossa.
Taste life in a typical Sicilian mountain town, where you see few foreigners.
Want to meet a cast of fun loving local people in a variety of places, some off the beaten track? Want a wide range of authentic food, cultural and softer outdoor experiences? This tour is for you!
Your outgoing local guide, passionate about his culture, acts like a bridge to introduce you to lots of local people, so you feel you’re part of the local scene.
In a small Mount Etna town with few tourists, dine with a delightful local family in their home after Mamma Concetta teaches you how to make local maccheroni. You feel like friends when you leave!
In a great Mount Etna restaurant, cook a five course dinner hands-on with a friendly, young, knowledgeable chef and his very outgoing dad. Recipes you can make at home!
Hike in Mount Etna’s foothills through forests, craters and lava flows in an exotic landscape. On the incredibly beautiful Aeolian island, Stromboli, walk along hills under the volcano to a restaurant. Sit on their patio watching the volcano hurl its fire into the night sky every 15 minutes.
Would you like to settle in the ex-house of your friend’s grandmother, now a B&B, and cook her grandma’s recipes with her for a week? Get to know life in a typical Sicilian town with charming, medieval and Baroque streets filled with locals?
And enjoy food, wine and cultural excursions to nearby towns? This Italian cooking school tour is for you!
You’ll live in a cozy, nicely renovated B&B in Modica in south east Sicily, cook typical local recipes most mornings and dine on your creations together.
Excursions with an excellent local guide take you to Baroque towns like Noto and Syracuse, to a chocolate artisan, organic wine maker and an ancient flour mill.
Contact Mama Margaret today for more information or to reserve your dates for these wonderful Sicily cooking and culture tours.