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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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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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