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Begin your Sicilian odyssey in its capital city - Palermo. Sicily lodging Spectacularly situated along a wide sweep of bay at the foot of Monte Pellegrino, Palermo was the wealthiest and most magnificent city in Europe in the 12th century. Discount cheap lodging Trapani Today Palermo has an air of faded grandeur and an unrivalled display of Norman art and architecture and Baroque churches. Sicily lodging. Stroll along the Via Roma and Via Maqueda in the heart of the old town and get a sense of what Palermo is all about. Booking Hotels Lipari Donít miss the magnificent 12th century Norman cathedral at Monreale, 8 kilometres southwest of the city. Lampedusa weather forecast The inside of the cathedral is covered in breathtakingly glittering mosaics. Sicily lodging

Ironically, the earthquake that devastated the southeastern provinces in 1693 became the springboard for Sicily's most glorious period, the baroque. Taormina photos It gleams in the cities and towns of Palermo, Catania, Siracusa, Ragusa, Noto, Comiso, Scicli and dozens more, all of which had to be rebuilt from the ground up. Capo D Orlando Hotels After the Aragonese, Sicily passed briefly into the hands of the Austrians, to be willingly rescued in 1734 by the Bourbons of Spain, whose throne was actually located in Naples. Sicily lodging. During one forced exile in Palermo, the Bourbon king Ferdinand's wife Maria Carolina (sister of Marie Antoinette) built La Favorita. , A magnificent refuge in which to hide from the subjects she thoroughly loathed. Cheap accommodation in Campo Bello di Mazara Sicily remained in Bourbon hands until 1861, when unification created the Kingdom of Italy.  

Mt Etna, the largest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world, lies south of Taormina. Discount cheap lodging Trapani You are permitted to climb up to 2900m. Sicily lodging. A rope marks the spot where the volcanoís unpredictability makes it unsafe to go any further. Further south, the town of Syracuse was once a very powerful Greek city. Booking Hotels Acitrezza Check out the medieval buildings on the island of Ortigia which lies in the centre of town. Donít miss the 5th century Teatro Greco Ė a masterpiece hewn out of rock with a seating capacity for 16,000 people. Messina Hotels The five Doric temples in the town of Agrigento are also well worth a visit. They are the most well preserved of Sicilyís Greek ruins and are truly spectacular.

Palermo was founded by Phoenicians who sailed there from their native Carthage. Nightlife Entertainment in Pozzallo The Greeks colonized the whole island, leaving some of the most beautiful and best-preserved temples they ever built at Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta. Sicily lodging. Around those glorious sites they planted Sicily's first olive trees and grape vines. Cheap Piazza Armerina Hotels Traces of the Roman period in Sicily can be found in the amphitheatres at Taormina and Siracusa, as well as in that city's Christian catacombs. But perhaps Rome's most lasting (and infamous) contribution to the island came in fostering the great land ownerships which eventually impoverished the peasantry and led, many centuries later, to the founding of secret societies aimed at destroying the fabulously wealthy landlords. Sicily lodging. In Palermo, these groups were known as mafia. Noto Car Hire

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