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As elsewhere in the Roman Empire, the Romans were replaced by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths, who demolished far more than they built (one rare example is the villa of Piazza Armerina) and were swept away by the Byzantines. Tourist attractions in Giardini Naxos The Arabs who followed them moved the capitol from Siracusa to Palermo, renamed most of the existing towns, and planted the first carobs, date-palms, citrus trees, jasmines and melons. Booking Hotels Messina. The Normans took over in 1061. Booking Hotels Messina They tore down almost all signs of Arab culture. Erice Holiday Accommodation They brought the island to a new level of prosperity and planted a different kind of seed, still visible today in the blonde and red tresses of many Sicilians. Booking Hotels Messina. It is to the Normans that we owe the most spectacular of Sicily's architectural treasures. Marsala Bed and Breakfast From the cathedrals of Cefalý, Messina and Monreale to Palermo's Zisa and Cuba, the churches of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, San Cataldo and the Martorana. Under the realm of Frederick II, the Swabian king, Sicily became one of the centers of the Western world, and perhaps it is not surprising that the principal architectural endeavors of this era. These lasted only from 1220 to 1250, were of a military nature, such as the castles in Siracusa, Catania and Salemi. Booking Hotels Messina. When Frederick died in 1250, his successor Manfred was murdered by the ruthless Charles of Anjou, whose French allies streamed into the island and established a new aristocracy so despised that it led to the popular uprising called the Sicilian Vespers. Segesta Car Hire Eventually, in 1302, the French gave way to the Aragonese (part of the same dynasty which sponsored Christopher Columbus), who dominated until 1734. Booking Hotels Messina. The aristocracy created during this realm left their magnificent homes, such as Palermo's Palazzo Sclafani and Palazzo Chiaramonte, scattered all over the island. Hostels in Egadi Islands The Aragonese clergy, while wielding the heavy arm of the Inquisition, effectively conspired to keep almost all artistic traces of the Renaissance out of the island. Booking Hotels Messina

Over the centuries the Sicilians have valued a close family life with all its responsibilities. Booking Hotels Messina. In turn the Sicilian people have looked to themselves in the face of foreign occupation and imposed government. Hotel Reservations Trapani Partly in response to invasion and colonisation a purely Sicilian hierarchy emerged. Booking Hotels Messina This became known as the Sicilian Mafia organised upon what can roughly be translated as "respect", "dignity" and "silence".  

Booking Hotels Messina Among the areas not to be missed are Agrigento (to see the Valley of the Temples); Acireale (to see puppets); Taormina (a unique beautiful town perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean); and Mt. Etna (10 902 ft/3 323 m) an active volcano on the east coastóits crater is difficult to reach so bring a guide and dress warmly. Flats in Acireale In April 1987 two people were killed when Mt. Etna erupted. Although it can erupt at any time ó most recently in January 1992 ó deadly incidents arenít common. Booking Hotels Messina. Thereís good winter skiing with great ocean views from the mountain; drive the 120 mi/200 km around its base to see a wide variety of scenery. Car Hire Caltanissetta Among the ancient Greek and Roman ruins on the island are the Taormina Greek theatre and San Domenico Monastery near Messina the Greek theater. Hotel Reservations Nebrodi In Syracuse the 5th-century BC Temple of Concord in Agrigento and the Casale Armerina (a jewel of a Roman villa with wonderful mosaics) in the town of Piazza Armerina near Enna. Booking Hotels Messina. Itís also possible to visit the Pantelleria Islands, the Pelagian Islands and the Aeolian Islands from Sicily. Car Hire Sant Agata Militello Thereís enough there to keep one busy for eight days.

Tourism is an important earner of foreign currency. Booking Hotels Messina. There are many castles and churches in Sicily to attract the tourist and important towns such as Taormina and Cefalu thrive on the tourist industry. Sant Agata Militello Bed and Breakfast Tours are available to visit Sicily's active volcanoes: Mount Etna, Europe's tallest volcano, and Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands. Places of interest in Giarre Other places of interest are Madonie National Park, the Baroque towns of south-eastern Sicily, the Cathedral of Monreale, the Dorian Temple and Theatre at Segesta, the ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, the ancient town of Syracuse and the archaeological area of Agrigento. Eolie Aeolian Islands villas

Booking Hotels Messina