Sicily: a new breath
Sicily is the autonomous region of Italy and the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea with an area of 25,700 square meters. km The population of the island is 5 million people.
For a long time, Sicily was considered not the best place for tourism, mainly due to the influence of the mafia and the poverty of the local population. Today, the island is experiencing a tourist boom, attracting more travelers due to its unique history and culture, as well as its magnificent nature.
The climate of Sicily is typically Mediterranean, with hot summers and short mild winters, with a noticeable temperature difference between the coast and the interior of the island. The number of sundials on average reaches 2500 per year, while in continental Italy there are “only” 2000, and in the south of France – 1800. The active volcano Etna is located on the island with a height of 3380 meters. It is the highest and most active volcano in Europe. Sicily was colonized by settlers from Carthage and the Greeks, starting from the 8th century BC. e. There are a lot of historical monuments and sights on the island, causing great interest among both specialists and ordinary travelers.
You can get to Sicily in every possible way: by sea, by plane, by train and by car. There are three airports on the island – Palermo International Airport (official website http://www.gesap.it), Catania Fontanarossa Airport (the largest and busiest among Sicilian airports, official website http://www.aeroporto.catania.it) , and the small airport of Trapani-Birgi. There are also two small airports on the popular resort islands of Lampedusa and Panteleria. Palermo airport is called Aeroporto Falcone Borsellino in honor of two investigators killed by the mafia in 1992.
Several ferry routes connect Sicily with mainland Italy, as well as with Sardinia and Malta. There is also a daily rail link between Palermo, Naples and Rome. Tickets can be booked in advance on the Trenitalia website at www.trenitalia.com, and it is recommended that you reserve a seat by the window in order to fully enjoy the beautiful views while traveling. It is curious that the construction of a railway bridge across the Strait of Messina was conceived back in 1865, but the world’s longest suspension bridge is still under development. Trains are currently loading onto ferries.
Although public transportation on the island leaves much to be desired, service on the two main railway routes (Messina – Taormina – Catania and Syracuse – Messina – Trapani – Palermo) is quite acceptable.
Since railways do not connect all the settlements of Sicily, it is more expedient to travel around the island by bus. Two main operators: Interbus (one of the most useful routes – the airport of Catania – Taormina) and AST (Azienda Siciliana Trasporti). Tickets can usually be purchased in advance at the box office at bus stops. There you can also clarify the schedule.
If you plan to stay in Sicily for more than a week, you should rent a car. This is the best way to visit the inaccessible areas of the central part of the island. It is worth noting that due to the mountainous terrain, most roads in Sicily are raised on special supports. Major highways include the A19 Palermo-Catania, A20 Palermo-Messina, A29 Palermo-Trapani-Mazara del Vallo and the toll road A18 Messina-Catania. We recommend that drivers and drivers avoid the central part of Palermo, as the narrow streets and the hot temperament of the Sicilians do not contribute to comfortable driving.
Despite the fact that Sicily is the birthplace of Cosa Nostra, and organized crime has long been an integral part of the local culture, tourists should rather be wary of the usual fraud, pickpocketing and other similar troubles that lurk travelers around the world. Single women can prepare for increased attention from hot southern men. However, this should not become a big problem.
The main cities of Sicily Palermo, Catania, Messina and others are characterized by their magnificent architecture, combining the legacy of many great civilizations that for many centuries fought for power over the island – from the Greeks and Romans, Arabs and Normans to the French, Spaniards and Italians.