Sicily and Capri among Europe’s Top 5 Island Destinations
Two of our favorite island destinations in Italy made it again! Sicily and Capri ranked 2nd
A historical feast with 300 days of sun per year, spectacular landscapes, and a vibrant culinary scene, Sicily is becoming one of Italy’s buzziest destinations. Overloaded with art treasures, under-supplied with infrastructure and continuously struggling to thwart Mafia-driven corruption, Sicily possesses some baffling social topography. Brace yourself to reconcile baroque architectural beauty in Catania with modern squalor in Palermo, patient artistic excellence with moral ambivalence and the rational with the sensual. This is an island to be visited with an open mind – and a healthy appetite; one factor remains a constant, and that is the uncompromisingly high quality of the cuisine. After some 25 centuries of foreign domination, Sicilians are heir to an impressive cultural legacy, from the refined architecture of Magna Graecia to a beguiling, if contradictory, artistic fusion of Arab craftsmanship and Norman austerity. This complexity of culture is matched by a startling diversity of landscape that includes the smouldering Mt Etna, shop an aquamarine coastline with a tiara of Aeolian Islands and the Madonie Regional Natural Park.
Today, Sicily’s new generation is loathe to remain trapped in the past. New ventures are seeing aristocratic entrepreneurs prising open the doors of some of Europe’s finest palazzi and villas, while sensitive agriturismi (farm stay accommodations) are shedding light on Sicily’s hidden rural treasures and national parks. Sicily also has a refreshing lack of neon-blazing entertainment and theme parks, which further helps preserve its individuality and appeal.
Best Beach: San Vito Lo Capo, near Trapani on the northwestern coast, is on a curved bay flanked by photogenic rock formations along the Mediterranean.
Where to Stay: One of the rooms overlooking Mount Etna at Grand Hotel Timeo, convenient for exploring the ancient city of Taormina and surrounding vineyards.
Augustus Caesar vacationed here two millennia ago, and this tiny island off of the Amalfi Coast has enthralled travelers ever since. While away, your vacation among the flower-lined pathways, upscale resorts, boutiques, and cliff-top restaurants serving two of its famous creations—Caprese salad and Limoncello liqueur.
A stark mass of limestone rock that rise sheerly through impossibly blue water, Capri is the perfect microcosm of Mediterranean appeal – a smooth cocktail of chichi piazzas and cool cafés, Roman ruins and rugged seascapes. It’s also a hugely popular day-trip destination and a summer favorite of holidaying VIPs. Inevitably, the two main centers, Capri Town and its uphill rival Anacapri, are almost entirely given over to tourism and prices are high. But explore beyond the designer boutiques and pointedly traditional trattorias and you’ll find that Capri’s hinterland retains an unspoiled rural charm with grand villas, overgrown vegetable plots, sun-bleached peeling stucco and banks of brilliantly colored bougainvillea.
There are few must-sees on the island but there’s one you’d be sorry to miss. The Grotta Azzurra (Blue Cave) might be Capri’s most visited sight but the impact of the ethereal blue light is no less powerful for the crowds and singing boat owners. On the island’s other extremity, the ruins of Villa Jovis testify to the presence of the infamous Tiberius.
Best Beach: Pools with a view outnumber beaches on rocky Capri, where to swim you’ll have to brave pebbles rather than sand. One of the most scenic swim spots is located down a few hundred stairs next to Da Luigi at the base of Il Faraglioni rocks.
Where to Stay: Casa Morgano, a glamorous property with enviably views of the Tyrrhenian Sea that offers a unique setting of romance and tranquility.
Visit Sicily and Capri for a picture perfect Italy vacation and have a unforgettable time. To know more about these destinations visit Travel2Italy.com. This site also offers information about Italy travel destinations and provides exciting Italy travel packages.