There are many myths and legends that interest Sicily.
The most famous is certainly the so-called “myth of Arethusa”.
Arethusa was a nymph in the wake of Artemis. One day, running in the forests of the Peloponnese, the young Alpheus saw her and fell in love with her. But Aretusa did not return the feeling, and for this reason, tired of the close courtship, he decided to ask the goddess Artemis for help. The Goddess thus decided to wrap the nymph in a thick cloud, which she then dissolved in a spring, on the shore of Ortigia. Alfeo therefore asked for help from the Gods, so that he could join the beloved in the same form. The gods transformed it into a river, which from Greece and along the entire Ionian Sea, joined the beloved in the form of a spring.
Fonte Aretusa is still one of the major tourist attractions on the island of Ortigia. The legend of Alpheus originates from the river of the Peloponnese, and from a source of fresh water (called Occhio della Zillica) that flows into the Great Harbor of Syracuse, a short distance from the Source of the legend of Arethusa.
Another legend that is particularly loved and known is the one that sees Persefone involved. Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, was intent on picking flowers at the shores of Lake Pergusa (near Enna). Suddenly, from his underground kingdom sprang Hades, who, in love with the girl, decided to kidnap her, so as not to have to ask for his hand from Zeus. But Persephone was not alone, with her was also a group of nymphs; and it was indeed a nymph, Ciane, who opposed the abduction by holding onto Hades’ chariot, who, annoyed, struck the nymph with her scepter, transforming it into a double spring of turquoise water (‘cyanos’ in Greek means turquoise) .
The young Anapo, in love with the nymph, had himself transformed into a river. Today, at the end of its journey, the river of the same name unites its waters with those of the Ciane river, before flowing into the Porto Grande of Syracuse.
The Aci river, called by the Greeks Akis, was a stream that ran through eastern Sicily; it seems to have given its name to the municipalities that today occupy the area (including Acireale), and was an inspiration for the creation of a myth. Aci is a shepherd, son of Faunus and Simetis. According to the myth, he fell in love with the nymph Galatea reciprocated. But the nymph was also loved by Polyphemus who, blinded by jealousy, took a rock and killed the young man. The blood of Acis was transformed from a beloved into a river, and Galatea itself transformed into sea foam, to rejoin with the beloved and be with him forever.
Probably the myth was inspired by the way the river gushed from its source; today, it is difficult to reconstruct the course, because it was probably wiped out by the 1169 eruption. Some believe instead that Aci, or what remains of Aci, may be the Lavinaio stream, which passes precisely between Acireale and Aci Catena.
We end, with the perhaps best known myth, even outside Sicily: that of Charybdis.
Known sea monster, Charybdis was actually a naiad, a freshwater nymph. Daughter of Poseidon and Gea, one day he stole Gerione’s oxen from Heracles and ate some. Zeus shot her, making her fall into the sea. The legend places it near one of the two sides of the Strait of Messina, in front of the cave of the Scilla monster, near Capo Peloro. In that stretch of sea, in fact, the meeting of sea currents causes whirlwinds of an important size, which may have given rise to the legend that under the sea lived a monster with a voracious mouth, Charybdis.
Our excursus among the most famous Sicilian myths and legends ends here.
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If you’ve not heard of Taormina, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage town spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain close to the foot of Mount Etna. Located on the east side of the island with the closest airport being Catania, it is easy to see why Ernest Hemingway (apparently) said “it’s so pretty it hurts to look”.
A true Sicilian town
Taormina has every Sicilian cliché you can find, no lie. Turn one corner and you’ll find stacks of crates overflowing with citrus fruit and giant lemons. Shop windows are full to the brim with cannoli, there’s also endless gelato stands.
It’s 100% worth a day pit-stop. The town deserves a visit if not just for its ancient archaeological theatre, beautiful gardens, people watching and breathtaking views. You can go for a walk to the beach with a wander over to Isola Bella.
And the views…
The views in Taormina are something else. Everywhere you turn you’ve got one. Whether its the rolling hills with Sicilian houses that you dream of living in one day, or the Ionian Sea with its glittering turquoise colours.
Wandering up through the town along the Corso Umberto discovering boutique art, galleries and gift shops that sell Sicilian trinkets and souvenirs, this popular street goes all the way from Porta Messina, a gate in the North end of town, to Porta Catania, a gate in the South end of town.
Food is everything
In Italy, and especially Sicily, food is EVERYTHING. It plays a huge part of everyday life and no trip would be complete without trying all its traditional dishes.
Eat a granita (a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavourings) try cannoli and before leaving, go to restaurant to taste our traditional dishes and wines!
Just one day isn’t enough to visit Taormina!
We suggest you to stay for at least two or three nights, discover our offers for the weekends!
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Sicily is a uniquely beautiful place and is home to some stunning scenery, incredible architecture and wonderful mountains. If you plan to go on vacation to Sicily any time soon you may be wondering which must-see destinations you should visit.
The good news is that we have done some research and came up with a list of the areas most scenic places to visit so you can spend more time doing and less time wondering where you should go. |
Etna and Taormina
If it is a comfort and relaxation you are looking form then take a trip to Etna and Taormina. Discovered in the late eighteenth century Taormina is a town that can be found atop a hill on Sicily’s east coast. Sitting close to Mount Etna the town is home to an ancient Greco-Roman theatre which is still being used. Dramatic cliffs make their way down towards the sea and Sicily’s sandy beaches which happen to be ideal if you would like to take a pleasant stroll.
With an impressive climate that allows beautiful flowers to grow with ease and with stone colored buildings with the occasional white structure in between Taormina has that the Mediterranean feel that visitors aplenty seem to adore. Consider Sicily villas with pool in the area among your lodging options to get truly immersed in the glamorous atmosphere of Sicily’s east coast.
Surrounded by the sea on all sides and once home to Archimedes Syracuse is such a charming town that you need to visit it at least once. Whether you picked a villa to rent in Sicily, you’re staying in a posh hotel or you’ve booked a bed and breakfast if you need an excuse to leave your accommodation behind for the day visiting Syracuse is a good excuse as any. With a fifth century BC theatre, a cathedral and a Greek temple this city certainly have it all. This part of Sicily is so popular that some visitors decide to buy a second home here and it’s easy to see why when you stumble upon the city’s incredible architecture, stunning scenery, and streets that are steeped in history. Let the Mediterranean breeze fall onto your sun- skin as you amble around the ancient city at your own pace. Bliss.
With an impressive history that links Palermo to the Romans, Byzantine Greeks, Spaniards, Normans, Phoenicians, and the Arabs the regional capital is definitely worth a visit. This city is a mixture of many different cultures and this is clear to see as you make your way along the architecturally stunning streets that are lined with palm trees that sit almost side by side with elegant pear trees. The church of La Martorana is worth visiting for its 12-century mosaics and the Baroque palazzos are a must-see. Stop off for a spot of lunch in one of Palermo’s many stylish restaurants and soak in the ancient atmosphere that is nothing short of intriguing.
While Sicily is home to some beautiful towns and cities we think Taormina, Syracuse, and Palermo are the most scenic places in the area and are therefore well worth visiting on your vacation in this stunning part of the Mediterranean.
Sciccosa Guest House is a springboard to dive into the Sicilian tradition and visit the cities we have just spoken about.
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We publish below some lines of one of our guests who particularly loved Taormina during his stay in Sicily.
Enjoy the reading!
Taormina is perched on the edge of a mountain but you can see the stunning coast just a stone’s throw (and huge fall) away.
The streets are narrow and charming, and all the windows have boxes simply tumbling over with flowers.
Taormina has a hugely ancient history that my mind, quite frankly, fails to really comprehend. It has been inhabited even before the Greeks came to Sicily in 734 BC. It’s a city that was mentioned in the works of Cicero and the history is just dripping casually from its pores.
Starting in the 19th century Taormina became a hotspot for artists from the rest of Europe to decamp to. The illustrious list includes: Oscar Wilde, Richard Wagner, Goethe, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Henry Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Roald Dahl, Evelyn Waugh and Truman Capote.
But its rich history (there’s also a stunning Roman amphitheatre in the city) and illustrious art heritage aside, today many tourists pass through Taormina for a completely different reason: ‘The Godfather’.
There is a town in Sicily called Corleone but ‘The Godfather’ wasn’t filmed there. It was filmed in and around the Messina province and Taormina. Especially the two small villages of Savoca and Forzà d’Agrò right outside of Taormina.
And then the food is fantastic.
Arancini, fish first courses and desserts are superb.”
If you would like to have an experience like this, you can make Taormina your springboard to explore all of Sicily.
Book a room in our guest house, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR HOLIDAY IN SICILY ARE IN THIS ARTICLE!
CHOOSE COMFORTABLE SHOES
This is essential. Even if you were to accidentally leave your whole suitcase at home and could only take one thing, a great, comfortable pair of shoes would be what you would want.
PACK SOMETHING CHIC
Or, everything chic. Seriously though, Sicily is one of those places where you can be casual, but you would avoid overly touristy outfits (ie the windbreaker, sneakers etc).
Regardless of when you are travelling, we suggest packing mainly natural fabrics in your suitcase: linen, silk, wool, cashmere and other natural fabrics, you’ll find that you’ll feel much more comfortable.
- A light jacket
- Comfy airy shoes (sandals)
- A couple of shorts/skirts
- A few tops
- A couple of dresses/jumpsuits
- One dressy outfit including shoes
We hope that this little guide will help you while you are preparing your suitcase to come to Sicily.
We wish you that your summer is “sciccosa” as ours.
Happy Holidays from all the staff
If you want to make a dream trip, you need to read every word of this post, because it could change your life…
There comes a time in life when each of us hence the need to make a different trip.
Before I tell you how can you make a dream trip, I want to tell you what happened to me and my mother.
We bought a lot of books on the subject. We have traveled far and wide in Europe and around the world with friends and family.
The point is that it was not enough for us, m we wanted a different experience.
You still want to know what happened to me and my mother?
One day while I was in my mother’s villa not so far from Taormina I started thinking how it would be if that huge house would be transformed into a beautiful guest house.
I was not alone, she was there.
I said, what do you think if this house became a guest house?
You would always be the owner and you may live here, but we should build other rooms and to deal all day with guests who come to visit.
She it was immediately enthusiastic, and so month after month, week after week we have built our Sciccosa Guest House.
A b&b just a short walk from Taormina with spectacular views, with rooms elegantly furnished, a swimming pool and a solarium, a small garden… in short, a little gem away from the city chaos.
And now, we come to the point: Do you want to do a dream trip?
Forget the most noble goals from magazines, luxury hotels, or on the contrary the very small b&b in the center of the major cities.
- No longer the noise of the city
- No more the usual files to park
- And I never the same stay
Imagine also how you will feel when you finally will be able to stay away from the chaos but with all the advantages of staying very close to Taormina.
Imagine coming home and tell to your friends about this incredible experience.
Don’t settle, discover our guest house by going here
Today, “people work too fast ” and who won’t change is wiped out.
It has happened to many people and also happen to others. I useless to complain!
Take for example the villeggianti, those who like to stay in one location for a long time: they were more than thousands now there is less than a few hundred.
Maybe you’ll be thinking, “What does have in common vacationers with relax lovers?”
Well, Let me tell you: there are a deep resonance.
If you are a relax lover too and you don’t want to dying out, there are three major pitfalls that you might fall:
- Low cost holidays & last minute
When someone proposing you this type of holidays, you say “”no, thank you””. The real “”relax”” in this type of holidays is not included.
- City break
Paris, London, Rome, Berlin or Madrid. If you choose one of these destinations for your holidays you’ll not relax, but: wake up early, walking shoes and long treks to reach the historic monument or shopping streets.
“I climb aboard and relax” you think when you booked. Doesn’t get more wrong! Dou want to make a real splash in the swimming pool? Is al always packed! The buffet? It is not what you imagined. Be lulled by the waves? It means having often seasick.
Do you want to fall into these traps?
We think the answer is no!
And here’s our suggestion:
Imagine staying in a guest house ready to welcome your desire to relax with …
Tastefully furnished rooms, an overhanging swimming pool with panoramic view, surrounded by greenery with a terrace. Away from city life but close to beaches and the major centers of interest.”
Do you like the idea?
Taormina it’s a fantastic destination in every season of the year, but under Christmas time it can be even more fascinating.
A different Taormina
If you visit Taormina in these period, you’ll find it quite different, maybe even more nice and less noisy. Without tourists that flocking in front of each monument to take a picture, without endless rows of people taking the cable car that connects the center of Taormina to the sea area.
Shops are always open!
Historic streets, and shopping streets are light up and decorated.
Almost all shops are open from 9.00 to 13.00 and they reopen from 16.00 to 20.30. Many of these are also open all day.