There are a few things you need to know before planning your trip to Sicily and that’s after you figure out the language and the accents. Research is just as important as your passport when it comes to traveling. As travelers we are always adjusting to new cultures and stereotypes are definitely something that we want to avoid.
Know the Basics
Sicilians rarely refer to themselves as Italians. Although the island is right off the tip of Italy’s boot and it is technically a region of Italy, think of Sicily more as its own individual region. Sicilians are proud to call themselves Sicilian and it can be inconsiderate to crowd the two together.
The island is home to many and there are a number of different cultures and ethnicities that come together in Sicily, which is another reason to make no assumptions when it comes to this lively island.
Don’t Joke About the Mafia
True Sicilians can tell you that crime has played a major role in the history of their island. However, that history is riddled with winding, bumpy roads of reality and misconstrued myths. The Mafia has been tied to political unrest, corruption, and various other issues that should not be joked about by those visiting. Organized crime can be an interesting topic that can be researched and discussed but visitors should be careful when discussing such a sensitive subject.
Siesta in Sicily
It’s a real thing, not just something we dream about. Most of Sicily participates in an afternoon siesta, which is between 1 pm and 4 pm, depending on where you are exactly. This time is literally taken as a time to nap, rest, and rejuvenate, usually before heading back to work. If you’re not used to this it can be a little difficult to adjust to. Though, I’m sure more than a few of us would happily take a midafternoon nap. Just beware that this is taken seriously by most Sicilians and many businesses close during this time. Be careful to take this into consideration when planning your trip.
Black Sand Beaches
Some of the most spectacular beaches can be found on the island of Sicily. With plenty to choose from, check out a few of the black sand beaches. The black sand is a result of the volcanos on the island and is a mixture of volcanic minerals and fragments of lava. The famous black beaches are definitely something you should experience in your life and on the island.
The beaches would be enough to keep many of us occupied but if you’re looking for a little more there are plenty of destinations to get you excited.
Mount Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe that is still active today and its home is on the island of Sicily. This monster is even visible from the moon. There’s some motivation to see it for yourself. If you really want to get your blood boiling, there are tours of Mount Etna and even wine tasting in the area.
Palermo, as the largest city and the capital, is a taste of true Sicilian culture. Although the authentic and culturally charged markets tend to attract crowds of tourist, they are still a favorite for locals as well. The city is stocked full of good food, rich history, and stunning architecture. If Palermo is on your list, you’re sure to get the full Sicilian experience.
Taormina is a gorgeous town that rests on top of a mountain and overlooks the coast in eastern Sicily. The town is a busy tourist attraction making October through March the best times to visit. Restaurants, shops, nearby beaches, and more are what keeps the tourists coming back every year. In addition, you can catch a glimpse of the Greek Amphitheatre and some other ancient architecture like the stone walls that enclose some of the city streets.
Sicily is not the vacation that you want to spend with a jam-packed itinerary. The many attractions and destinations may tempt you, but to fully experience Sicily you have to be willing to do nothing for a while. Doing nothing, relaxing is a large part of