"Under my skin" Sicilia by Sjalen

Sicilia Travel Guide: 2,619 reviews and 7,916 photos

I have no words! Well...love. Having come back from Sicily, the only thing me and my colleagues can say is that I behave like someone in love :-))) As soon as someone asks anything about my holiday in Sicily, I get a silly grin and drift away into a world of my own...when I don't babble on for ages that is. My friends always say I seem to want to live everywhere I visit, but not in a long time has this feeling been as strong as here.

My father had talked about Sicily for so long after going there regularly for years whilst I was busy going to England. I had always wondered what made this island so special compared to other Mediterranean destinations, and in May 2004 I finally found out when he accompanied us there.

Again, I really do not know how to start describing this amazing island! For a start, there is the arrival. Just like the Rough Guide says, there is a sense of arrival like nowhere else. You sit in a plane, and all of a sudden, you spot little islands with volcanic craters on. Then amongst the clouds, you suddenly see something that isn't a cloud...you then realise that it is the snow clad peak of a giant volcano! That's when you know you there is something special to this destination.

Once you've landed, there she is in all her splendour - Etna. Europe's biggest volcano, and still active, with a trail of smoke at the top. The slopes around her are full of vineyards and orchards as the volcanic minerals are fantastic for growing just about anything - the reason people live in this, the north east corner of the island.

As if living in the shade of a giant volcano is not enough, you start thinking about the mafia people are aware of here. Maybe the reason Sicily is not more awash with tourists. Their loss I say. I am ten times more scared in the Stockholm underground on a Friday night than I ever was in the poorest quarters of Agrigento and you can read my "warnings" on why. Instead, I have met some of the most friendly and inviting people ever in my life. Of course it is chaotic here and there, like most places in Italy - but here there is an explanation; you are on an island which has been Fenician, Carthagian, Greek, Roman, Norman, Arab, Spanish and Italian. Everyone has met on this island and it shows! People are welcome wherever they come from, even if there is a distrust of authorities for the same reason (capitals were always somewhere else). I have never felt as much a part of LIFE as here and at times, it was almost like being in a movie. Theatre like if you want, and I perfectly well understand why my theatre parents love this island. Then again, local author Luigi Pirandello too, has famously written about no less than six personalities, all with one Sicilian in mind. They say themselves that life is either drama or tragedy - must be one of their Greek legacies!

Talking about the Greeks, they in their time made this one of their main centres and Siracusa was as big as Athens, whilst Agrigento with its temples was at least the size my current home town! Today, you see Greek temple ruins better than in Greece and on top of that you have Roman villas and Norman cathedrals to keep you busy for years. At least I know I will be busy for years coming here again...and again...and again...if nothing else for the gorgeous food. Italian food but better, since this is the sunniest part of Italy and the tomatoes and lemons are riper than elsewhere, the aubergines bigger and the fish of course as fresh as it only gets somewhere surrounded by the sea. All this spiced up a bit extra because of the Arab legacy.

As Goethe said, the key to Italy lies in visiting Sicily. I am glad I have done things in the right order then!

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE DO NOT YET INCLUDE PALERMO, CEFALU, MONREALE, TRAPANI, LIPARI ISLANDS, PIAZZA ARMERINA, SELINUNTE and other places I certainly also consider "must sees" on this island. I have just decided for this page to only be about places I have seen myself so far, as Sicily impressed me too much not to. Fear not, I shall return, and duly fill this page with more every time. Count it to one of my "constantly updated" pages - the ones I make about places I return to often :-)...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:friendly, lots of history, dramatic scenery, great food
  • Cons:environmental problems
  • In a nutshell:Come and change your view of life forever!
  • Last visit to Sicilia: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 12, 2004
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Reviews (16)

Comments (13)

  • DVLAmacca's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2007 at 3:53 PM

    Thank you very much..I was there this year but the workers were strikeing and and did not let me see the ruins...it's a regret but looked from afar.

  • Maramato's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2007 at 1:21 AM

    Hi Sjalen - reading your overview makes me wanna go right now .... but I hve to wait until September.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2006 at 10:05 AM

    Ahh Sicily :-)) I always wanted to go there, to experience Andrea Camilleri's writings :-) How lucky you have been :-) I love your local customs, BTW, also the explanations about La Cosa Nostra :-))

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2006 at 8:35 AM

    Etna must be something, Carlotta! Living in the shadow of that great beast would be daunting...

  • londonbabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2005 at 10:43 AM

    Great pages - and I think lizard hunting isn't just for kids :-) Really must go soon. Hope you are going back soon, too.

  • sarahjayn's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2005 at 7:55 PM

    i've always wanted to go here. your page is very nice.

  • EllenH's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2005 at 3:26 PM

    I do believe you win the VT award for who loves Sicily the most.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2005 at 3:14 AM

    Wonderful pages. The emotion comes shining through.

  • ciuchi's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2004 at 11:01 AM

    Hi from Romania!I loved your pages and as my best friend lives there now, I will start seeing Italy as you did, from the best!I have an open invitation there so hopefully i will take it and put my own impressions on VT.Take care! see you in Sicillia?Ciao!

  • Myndo's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2004 at 11:32 AM

    Great page and well done tips. I liked sicily - everything except Palermo. The food is really great, once we were invited at the beach to some spaghetti with snails (ugh, you think, but they were gooood)


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