Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Hidden Treasures of Sicily

June 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Guide

Visitors on their Sicily holidays will delight in sandy beaches and shimmering turquoise seas, however, many of the hidden gems lie inland towards the centre of the island. This region boasts authentic and unspoiled Sicily, which is soaked in indescribable beauty and is well worth taking the time to visit if you can.

Caltagirone is a city famous for ceramics, and shops are bursting with every type. The most amazing sight here is the monumental steps, which lead to the Church of Santa Maria del Monte. The 142 steps, which are embellished with immaculately hand-painted tiles, are the focus of attention at the Luminara, a national celebration where the steps are lit up by thousands of candles.

Piazza Armerina is a town famous for mosaics. The Villa del Casale, which proudly displays 3,500 square metres of mosaics, has been turned into a museum. To maintain these art masterpieces, some raised walkways have been built to allow visitors to take in the beauty of the mosaics from above.

Enna, which is often referred to as ‘omphalos’ or Sicily’s naval, is located in the heart of the island and stands more than 1,000 metres above sea level. The city’s Lombardia Castle dates back to the 14th century and the fortress was once used as a high-security prison. It is well worth climbing to the top of the Torre Pisana to take in jaw-dropping views overlooking the whole of Sicily, including Mount Etna.

Another hidden gem is Caltanissetta, which derives its name from the Arab ‘Qalat-an-Nisa’ meaning city of women. The city is famous for its sulfur mines. For art enthusiasts, the historical centre of Caltanissetta is a surprising delight with streets housing a number of churches built in the 17th century.

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