Ilparadisoterrestre: the most picturesque places of Sicily
“Italy without Sicily leaves in its soul only a vague image. Only here is the key to the whole, ”Goethe wrote about Sicily in his Italian Travel Journey.
Charming bays and grape groves, volcanoes and through sea caves, sea blue and green forests – the nature of Sicily is as beautiful as diverse. The island owes its unique natural landscape to the regular eruptions of Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, located near Catania.
To the north of the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea is the Aeolian Archipelago, or Aeolian Islands, centered in the Lipari commune of the island of the same name. The nature of the volcanic islands, despite a population of 15 thousand people, has remained untouched: the entire archipelago is under the protection of UNESCO.
Thousands of tourists are attracted not only by the crystal clear sea water, the pristine nature and some intimacy of the territory, but also by extreme relaxation: daredevils climb the active volcanoes of Stromboli and Vulcano.
Less courageous people observe fire red lava from a safe distance – from the shores of neighboring islands or from the Naval Observatory in Punta Labronzo.
No less interesting is the nature of Sicily itself, where high cliffs border on smooth green hills and kilometer-long olive groves.
The northeast of the island is replete with protected reserves, each is unique in its own way. For example, in the territory of Madoni Park you can find ancient private castles, and the Etna volcano is located in the center of the national reserve near Catania.
The magical world of Sicilian nature is immense, therefore, together with the Italian National Tourism Agency (ENIT), we present a selection of the most picturesque places in Sicily and its marine surroundings. We guarantee an unforgettable experience and photos that are not ashamed to put on your desktop screen saver.
1. The reserve “PizzoCane, PizzoTrigna and GrottaMazzamuto”
Once the territory of the reserve, located in the province of Palermo, was the bottom of the ancient sea, which explains the composition of the massif: a mixture of limestone, silicon and volcanic rocks. Abundant forests alternate with evergreen shrubs and dwarf trees, and in rocky nests you can see predatory peregrine falcons and golden eagles.
2. Grand Canyon “Cava Grande del Cassibile”
The canyon with an area of almost three thousand hectares covers the territory of three Sicilian provinces at once – Noto, Avolo and Syracuse – and is crossed by the Cassibile River. Archaeologists have established that the first settlers of the reserve appeared in the 10-11 century BC – the settlements of Siculas, the ancient people of Sicily, were reliably protected from the outside world by sheer cliffs.
Travelers recommend watching the reserve, moving towards the source of the river: the road is dotted with aromatic herbs, and at the end of the path there is a clear lake.
3. Valley of the Temples and Skala dei Turki in the province of Agrigento
The Valley of the Temples, located just a couple of kilometers from the city of Agrigento, is the oldest cultural monument of Sicily. Its appearance and history inextricably link the territory with ancient Greek civilization. The Valley of the Temple complex combines the temples of the gods, the necropolis and the sanctuary. The best preserved temple of Concordia, built around the fifth century.
12 kilometers from the Valley of the Temples is one of the most unusual natural sites in Sicily – the Ladder of the Turks, known as the Scala dei Turki. Although from a distance the rock resembles a snowy mountain top, in fact, the stone consists of white marl. You can climb the Skala dei Turki just like on an ordinary staircase, however it is better to do it barefoot or in non-slip shoes. Physical labor is compensated by the beauty of the view, which opens up to fearless climbers, as well as the feeling that you are standing on a huge marshmallow.
4. Protected marine area of Plemmirio
This secluded marine area is located in the Plemmirio area of Syracuse. The 14-kilometer sea zone has important biological and historical significance – it is located at the intersection of marine commercial ancient civilizations. The territory is under the protection of UNESCO.