ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Food, glorious food
Sicily’s famous markets are a sight to behold, with masses of coloured tarpaulins suspended above stalls brimming with local wares. Visit the bustling streets of the Ballarò, Capo and Vucciria markets, where home-grown Sicilian staples such as olives, tomatoes, aubergines and sardines compete for the attention of hungry shoppers beside fruit, herbs and meat from the mainland. Enjoy a glass of Sicilian wine as you feast on cuisine influenced by Greek, Spanish, French, African, Arab and Italian culture, then choose a refreshing granita or warming Marsala or limoncello before you head home.
2. Europe’s greatest active volcano
In Greek Mythology, Zeus is said to have trapped the multi-headed, fire-breathing monster Typhon under Mount Etna. These days its imposing, seasonally snow-capped peak looms over eastern Sicily, casually reminding us of its presence with the occasional smoke or lava emission. It is closely monitored and a trip to this historic island isn’t complete without learning the story of one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A trip from Palermo to its base takes around three hours, or longer if you take the scenic coastal road. Travel up its slopes by cable car from Rifugio Sapienza, enjoy armchair views from the Ferrovia Circumetnea train, or visit to the informative Museo Vulcanologico dell'Etna.
3. City of stories
Palermo’s diverse architecture stems from its colourful past, meaning there’s something impressive around almost every corner. Take a trip to the UNESCO recognised, 12th century Cattedrale di Palermo (Palermo Cathedral), for a prime example of Sicily's unique Arab-Norman style. Visit the intricately Byzantine-mosaicked Palatine chapel of Palazzo dei Normanni which dates back to the 9th century, or admire the stucco craftsmanship of Rococo sculptor Giacomo Serpotta at Oratorio di San Lorenzo. For a more macabre spectacle, explore the mummified remains of Sicily’s ancestors at the Capuchin Catacombs.
4. Enjoying the arts
Browsing Sicily’s many museums and galleries is a great way to get a feel for its varied culture. Discover a vast array of historic artefacts at the Regional Archaeological Museum Antonio Salinas, ponder a while on the dramatic works showcased in Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, or grab yourself a ticket to the opera at the famous Teatro Massimo.