Sicily is steeped in sun and history, an ancient blend of cultures that have grown together in the warm Mediterranean for eons. It’s certainly a part of Italy, but it has a profound flavor all its own, a beautiful mess of artifacts and vital, tight-knit communities, all against a backdrop of olive groves and monolithic wonders. Kicking off from the mainland and landing on this shaky volcanic ground could be the best thing you’ll do on your European tour, especially if you stop in at these eight sites.
Any visit to Sicily should include a stop in its capital, a bustling center with a proud and storied past that shines through the Norman, Baroque, and Moorish architecture. Palermo was once Europe’s multicultural hotspot, home to Jewish, Greek, Persian, and Arab communities, and it’s still one of the most vibrant and versatile cities in the nation. Visit the historical markets of Vucciria, Ballaro, and Borgo Vecchio to get a taste of the abundant local cuisine and the colorful cultural interactions. Check out the Palace of the Normans and the Palatine Chapel, splendid buildings that betray the tastes of Sicily’s different rulers through the centuries.