Sicily events and festivals

For a small island, there’s a helluva lot happening...

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

SicilySicily 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 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 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 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 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 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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Image 3 © Leandro’s world tour
Image 4 © Malega
Image 5 © Mire74



Sicily Holiday Rentals

Villa Lumia Sciacca Mare

Our villa just a few steps from the sea with private beach offers from 4 to 9 beds located in 2 neighboring apartments are totally independent of each other. The apartment "SUN" sleeps 4 The apartment "LUNA" offers 4 +1 beds Each apartment enjoys...

apartment/ flat - Cefalù

(Text automatically translated) It 's very relaxing sunbathe on the terrace, admiring the view of the Norman town. Bright penthouse in a quiet location. Ideal location to avoid the traffic, you can easily reach the center on foot using the und...

Holiday apartment in the residence Isabella Sport***

Your vacation object: To use available: parasol and sunlounger. Outdoor pool (25 m x 12,5 m). Further equipment: Restaurant und Pizzeria bei der Residence bis 17.September geöffnet. Auf Anfrage und Verfügbarkeit: Nutzung der Sportanlagen, Auto und...

House with garden, walking distance from the Greek Theatre and the Archeological Park

(Text automatically translated) The apartment is located on the ground floor of a villa and opens on to an outdoor individual, equipped with table, chairs, parasol and barbeque, full of Mediterranean plants. Besides, a garden of citrus. The house ...

Beautiful Mediterranean-style villa that directly overlooks the sea and the gracious gulf of Capo Za

Beautiful Mediterranean-style villa that directly overlooks the sea and the gracious gulf of Capo Zafferano, approx. 20 km east of Palermo. Broad view of the sea and the gulf. The villa stands on a fenced-in property of approx. 1500 m2 that slopes...

Typical apartments in a restored building from the 1800s

Our home holidays is located in the very heart of Ortigia Island, the old town of Syracuse and Unesco world heritage site, in historical building of the ‘800, recently restored and returned to all its original splendor. We are a small, family-run ...

Apartment for 4 people with pool, in Ragusa

The resort is located on the beautiful beach of Sampieri a small fishing village with a very romantic beach promenade. The surroundings of Ragusa is characterized by the Sicilian Barocco style and was named as a World Heritage by UNESCO. The site ...

Peaceful Location

Casa Salomone is a 120 sqm apartment located in the old centre of Siracusa, the island of Ortigia, 2 min walking distance to the old castle Castello Maniace and very short walking distance to the Duomo square, restaurants and groceries. It is on t...

Popular accommodation for 4 people with pool in Cefalu

Poggio Pozzetti is a holiday estate in the country, situated on a panoramic hill and surrounded by the mountains in Parco delle Madonie. Originally a "Masseria", a typical Sicilian farmhouse that has been renovated and transformed into an eco-frie...

House Colette - Palermo Centro - Teatro Massimo

Located on the third floor of an old building in the historic center of the city from where you can easily walk to all the places culturally and historically most important to you; It overlooks one of the two most important theaters, Teatro Massim...

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