This large island has divine scenery surrounded by turquoise seas, ancient Greek and Roman ruins, medieval towns and Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano. The city of Palermo is a gem, with its Norman architecture surrounded by what’s left of ancient walls that once surrounded the city.
History is everywhere on the island. See the most detailed Roman mosaics still present anywhere in the world at the Villa Romana del Casale near the town of Piazza Armerina. There’s also the chance to explore the hilltop medieval town of Erice, tour the Valley of the Temples, marvel at the ancient Greek temple at Segesta, or wander the old city of Syracuse, located on the tiny island of Ortigia.
Not all of the history here is preserved – much of it is still a part of everyday life. On the southeast of the island, a cluster of baroque towns, including Noto, are part of Italy’s living history. Taormina has all the remnants of its Greek and Roman heritage, but is now a thriving, chic beach resort. Visit the functioning salt windmills of Trapani, stop at a local fishing village for some of the region’s famous cucina povera, and taste Marsala’s most famous product, sweet dessert wine, before wandering around its gracious squares.