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Southern Italy

5 Things most people don’t know about Sicily

By 11 March 2019March 19th, 2019No Comments

Whether it’s unbelievable geography or draw-dropping cultural heritage, there are tons of amazing facts about the island that most visitors don’t know. If you’re planning a trip to Sicily, take a look at these fun facts to see how much you really know about Sicilia.

It’s super big

Sure, Sicily is an island. But it’s seriously big. At 25,832.39 square kilometers, Sicily is by far the biggest island in the Mediterranean. With such a huge size, that makes the island the most extensive region in all of Italy.

And space isn’t all Sicily has— with such an enormous size, it has over 1,600 kilometers of beach to sun yourself on. Whether sandy or craggy, Sicily has tons of beach space to enjoy.

It has tons of stuff to see

When you think of cultural sites in Italy, most people (rightly) think of Rome. But with 26% of Italy’s total cultural sites, Sicily is the place to go if you’re looking for some amazing Italian history. In fact, of Italy’s 53 major UNESCO heritage sites, Sicily has 7— that puts it on par with Egypt and Denmark. Whoa.

But it’s not all history and ruins— there are some pretty incredible nature reserves to check out too. You can climb up to the Park of Etna and see what an active volcano looks like from the top, do some riverside trekking in the lush greenery of the gorgeous Alcantara Park, or head out to the picturesque Aegadian Islands to enjoy the crystal-clear water. Fun.

It’s packed with art and culture

Enjoy a nice puppet show? You’re in the right place. Sicily is famous for it’s traditional pupi, or puppets. In fact, L’Opera dei Pupi (puppet shows) are a common sight across the island. They typically tell the tales of grand medieval heroes who fought for Christianity, and many times recount the tales of Charlemagne’s crusades for Christian Europe.

But Sicily isn’t all playing will marionettes— art is in the island’s blood. Among famous artists who loved Sicily is Pablo Picasso, who reportedly got inspiration for his famous Guernica during his stay in Sicily.

The food is amazing

Yeah, yeah. This is what it’s all about— the food. Did you know that Palermo is the European Street Food Capital? Yup. In fact, Forbes rated Palermo among the top 5 cities in the world for street food.

Looking for something to try? We suggest grabbing a few panelle. Le panelle are one of Palermo’s most traditional, easy-to-prepare, and low-cost street foods. Consisting of deliciously fried chickpeas, panelle are usually eaten in a yummy sesame-seed sandwich with a bit of salt and a splash of fresh Sicilian lemon.

Mhm. We can hear you planning your next trip to Palermo now.

It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth

After all that delicious street food, you’re gonna want some dessert. And you’ll be in luck— Sicily has a wide variety of tasty treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

You can dig into a creamy cassata—a succulent round sponge cake topped with sweet ricotta cheese (similar to the equally delicious cannoli) and candied fruit, coated on the sides with a sweet layer of green-colored marzipan.

More of a chocolate fan? Head over to Modica, which is famous throughout Italy for its incredible chocolates. The chocolatiers in Modica still follow ancient Aztec recipes that were first imported to the region by Spaniards during Sicily’s Spanish Age. Some fascinating flavors to try include cinnamon, or even hot pepper— spicy!

But, if you’re looking for something to cool off with on a hot Sicilian afternoon, try a gelato— it was a Sicilian chef who, in 1686, first mixed up a batch of what we now know as ice cream.

From food to amazing natural sites, Sicily has it all. Use these fascinating facts to help plan your grand tour of Sicily, and you can be sure you’re getting the most authentic local experience possible.

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