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Sicily, the real summer paradise! A pearl of beauty, sun and sea. But because of this idea, in the summer it is too crowded. Walking among so many sweaty people in the heat is not nice and the visit to a monument can become a bad adventure. Besides, Sicily in the summer is also very expensive. The old vision of a dry and hot island must come to an end, now.

If you want to enjoy a different, more beautiful Sicily come in the winter. If you want to have it all for yourselves, come in the winter. Winter in Sicily can be a nice surprise, not cold at all. You will have space and freedom to enjoy monuments otherwise unapprocable. Here you can find six good ideas for your winter holiday in Sicily.

Skiing on Mt Etna

sicily in winterIn winter time, the Catanese volcano is covered in snow. On Etna the snow creates unique views, covering deep caves and lava crevasses, transforming pine forests into alpine woods. Snow covers the ski slopes on the south side (Nicolosi Etna Sud) or on the opposite north side (Etna Nord-Piano Provenzana). In the surroundings of the slopes you could visit medieval towns. Randazzo or Linguaglossa, to the north, and the typically mountain places as Nicolosi or Belpasso, to the south.

Skiing in the province of Palermo

In the province of Palermo there is not a high and fascinating mountain like Etna. But there is a beautiful mountain range –  the Madonie – which reminds somehow the Dolomites. At the top of these mountains, on a plateau located at 1800 meters asl, there are the Piano Battaglia’s 4.5 km of ski slopes. This place in winter is “the snow place of the Palermitans”. Once in Piano Battaglia do not miss the lovely Madonite villages such as the two Petralies (Petralia Sottana and twin town Petralia Soprana), Castelbuono or Polizzi Generosa.

The Valley of the Temples in the winter

If you have to choose a season to visit the famous Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, choose winter. The month of February, possibly. And not only to have the opportunity to go around the immense archaeological expanse with a better climate than the summer heat  – and no crowd around. In February they celebrate here the Mandorlo in Fiore (Blooming Almond Trees). It is a beautiful festival of Mediterranean art and folklore that livens up the city and the valley of the ancient Greek temples.

Piazza Armerina

The mosaics of Piazza Armerina (Enna) located in the grandiose Roman Villa of the Casale deserve a careful and peaceful visit. The endless and sweaty lines of tourists, in the summer, make this stage of Sicilian art a weight more than a pleasure. In the winter, however, you can complete the route without haste, without discomfort. You can also discover the Norman historical center of the town.

The beautiful Cathedral of the Madonna delle Vittorie and the maze of medieval alleys that climb all around the castle will amaze you as much as the mosaics. With the cumulative ticket purchased to access the mosaics of the Villa del Casale you can also visit: the ruins of Morgantina, the museum of Aidone and the museums of Enna.

The winter festivals

If you are in Sicily in February, you can choose between two beautiful festivals. One is the feast of Stsicily in winter Agatha in Catania. From 3rd to 5th February, the celebrations and events dedicated to the Saint follow one another until the double procession – outside and inside the perimeter of the historic center. This festival often goes on for 48 full hours. It ends only at noon on February 6th!

For those looking for less sacred fun, Carnival is the best event! You can choose between the spectacular one in Acireale, that of the “most beautiful costumes” in Misterbianco and, in the province of Agrigento,  Sciacca. Do not miss the Catalettu, the ironic and colorful carnival of Santa Lucia del Mela (Messina).

The Aeolian Islands

Sea condition permitting, the Aeolian Islands in winter are beautiful. Between January and February, when the rains calm down and the winds are not so strong, it is possible to reach the little exotic islands at discounted prices. Rediscovering Salina, Vulcano, Stromboli or Lipari during winter has a different and unique flavour.

And it can be an opportunity to get to know the two less famous ones, Alicudi and Filicudi. Finally, imagine the very touristic Panarea without rowdy tourists, special and unique in its natural beauty, only for you … (photo by Grazia Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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