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Sicily is one of those unique holiday destinations that attracts travellers for no single reason; rather, its multitude of attractions lures a diverse range of tourists to bask in its sunshine. The island’s appeal then, is – quite literally – greater than the sum of its parts. Walkers and hikers, art lovers, beach bums, foodies, devotees of opera and theatre, religious pilgrims: all head for this charming island off the southern coast of Italy. And regardless of your interests, there is a busy calendar of annual events to keep you entertained when you land on Sicilian turf.
Given its modest dimensions, the volume of Sicilian festivals and fairs is considerable. From Acireale to Palermo, Sciacca to Syracuse, the processions – many of them religious in origin – wend, offering an insight into the spiritual life of the fiercely patriotic islanders. Food and drinks festivals are also commonplace, with most Sicilian towns claiming a patron saint or cherished local dish. If you’re keen to fill your belly at a religious feast, or leaf through the year’s finest Mediterranean novels at Palermo’s November book festival, you’re destined to have a good time.
Top five Sicily events
Events in Sicily: Festival of Santa Rosalia
Perhaps the most significant event in Sicily’s calendar is the festival of its patron saint, Santa Rosalia. Held for five days in mid-July, in Palermo, the tradition sees a relic of the Santuzza spirited along the wide thoroughfares of the city amid much fanfare. Santa Rosalia is said to have saved the Palermitani from the plague in the early 17th century. Appearing as an apparition, she instructed one citizen to convey her remains around Palermo; when he did so, it is said that those afflicted were cured. Today, shows, dance and music are on the menu for patriotic revellers.
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Festivals in Sicily: La Sagre del Mare
La Sagre del Mare – or the Feast of the Sea – fuses exquisite gastronomy, lashings of local wine and traditional music. And if you like the idea of delicious, locally caught fish cooked before your eyes in huge frying pans, you’ve come to the right place. Held in Maraza del Vallo, on Sicily’s west coast, the festival typically kicks off in the third week of August. Meanwhile, local merchants sell their produce, including pasta, mussels and pastries. This is a festival where you really can expand your palate: seaweed pizza, anyone?
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Events in Sicily: Carnival week
February is the month of the carnival in Sicily; in Acireale and Sciacca, major parties pop off with a series of colourful parades, elaborate allegorical floats and costume-clad roisterers. There are other carnivals all across Sicily, too, including in Palazzolo Acreide, Saponara and Taormina. Folk concerts, marching bands, majorettes: this is capital-C Carnival. All good parties must come to an end, though: the festivities burn out – literally – when the floats are torched on the Tuesday evening before Ash Wednesday.
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Festivals in Sicily: Infiorata di Noto
Located some 20 miles southwest of Syracuse, at the base of the Iblean Mountains, the Baroque town of Noto is the venue for the vibrant yearly Infiorata. Held in May, the town – named in 2002 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – becomes awash with luxuriant floral arrangements, the product of weeks of work by talented artisans. Huge quantities of flowers, fed into a mechanical grinder, are transformed into confetti-sized shreds that are then arranged into spectacular mosaics that carpet the streets. Think you’ve seen a flower show? Think again.
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Events in Sicily: Palio dei Normanni
Historical re-enactments usually mean a group of friends heading into the woodland, armed with plastic swords and swathed in chainmail armour. At the Palio dei Normanni, it’s a little more full-on. Held in mid-August, this festival sees participants don regal period costume and participate in age-old feats of strength and acumen on horseback. The event commemorates Roger I, the famous Saracens-conquering Norman ruler. Come along to the Piazza Armerina for a spot of jousting, or simply bask in the fanfare of the trumpets and drums. Hey, if you’ve always wanted to dress up as a chivalrous knight or 11th-century lady, there ain’t no better setting.
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Sicily Holiday Rentals
We are delighted to present the “Residenza Ancora Bianca“, a wonderful example of Sicilian „Dolce Vita“. The small holiday residence was carefully renovated in 2012 and is particularly remarkable due to its location on the picturesque coast of the...
A room situated on a hill with beautiful views of the coast of the UNESCO. A dirt road turning from a pristine golden sand beach to the hinterland and leads past some houses, up to a gate. Behind this lurks House Giniusa among the olive trees of a...
Casa Da Sogno is a splendid newly built villa set in a wonderful Mediterranean garden of 15,000 square metres.
Its location in one of the most untamed and uncontaminated areas of the island is enchanting. Favignana is one of three islands which m...
Pleasant apartment of about 65 m2 inside a residence located in a suggestive rural setting, only 7 km from Cefalù, in the enchanting Madonie Park and 4 km from the beaches of Sant’Ambrogio.
The position is an excellent base from which to discove...
Pleasant apartment of about 60 m2 inside a residence located in a suggestive rural setting, only 7 km from Cefalù, in the enchanting Madonie Park and 4 km from the beaches of Sant’Ambrogio.
The position is an excellent base from which to discove...
Apartment of 50 m2 on the first floor of a modern villa located at approx. 800 m from Cefalù along the coast of Lascari, in an exclusive residential area only 150 meters away from the sea. This stretch of coast is characterized by wide sandy beach...
Residential complex consisting of 7 apartments and 2 bedrooms that have been obtained from the restoration of an ancient convent which dates back to the mid 19th century. The property lies in an ideal position for visiting the north coast of Sic...
Typical complex, recently renovated and divided into 7 pleasant apartments and 2 bedrooms, obtained from a portion of a convent dating back to the mid 19th century. The property is located in a beautiful position near Cefalu’ and just 800 m from ...
The residence that has been obtained from a portion of a convent which dates back to the mid 19th century, lies in a strategic position in the northern coast of Sicily just a short distance both from the town of Cefalù, well known for its beautifu...
Modern villa that has been split into three apartments, one of which lived in by the owner and set situated on a hillside (350m a.s.l.) 6 km from the center of Cefalù, one of the most characteristic towns of Sicily. The property's strategic posit...