Sicily: Island of Ruins

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“And anyone who has once known this land can never be quite free from the nostalgia for it.” — D. H. Lawrence

Sicily, an island immortalized by “The Godfather,” is a land rich in lemon trees, dilapidated city markets, and exquisite Roman and Christian ruins. View a collection of perspectives through our photo essay, interspersed with quotes from our clients the Vigelands, who returned from their Sicily trip with rave reviews.



The Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel is lovely and we had a wonderful room overlooking the sea. Finding the hotel was a bit tricky but the GPS got us there. Clearly we wished we could have stayed here longer—there are several day trips that would have been perfect.  The hotel attempts to be the hub for such trips! The highlight of Siracusa is the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis.  There are tombs, quarries, and a grandiose theater.  Given our travel in April the theater was being set up for use for the summer.  How amazing would that be!!



What a magical place.  We loved our entire trip but this was probably our favorite.  The Villa Athena is THE place to stay—it’s the only hotel that is on the actual property of the Valley of the Temples.  From our room we looked up to Concordia Temple, built around 430 b.c.e., one of the best preserved Greek temples anywhere.  At night it is lit up.  Luckily we had two nights here.  We arranged with the front desk to have a tour guide meet us the next day for a tour of the Valley of the Temples.  This is a must! The information is fascinating and far more than in a guide book.  He suggested that we visit the Museo Archeologico di Agrigento and we’re so glad we did.  It is a beautiful museum that houses some of the most spectacular ancient pieces that we’ve ever seen, and the displays and lighting are arts in themselves.



Taormina is awe-inspiring.  It is built on a high hill and thus has amazing views.  Our small hotel, Villa Taormina, had a view from the balcony of the lower part of the city, the sea, and the spewing Mt. Vesuvius.  Here is the most stunning setting for a theater possible.  The Theater of Taormina was built by the Greeks but later used by the Romans for circus games.  Today just imagining sitting in the seats for a performance bring goosebumps. 


Walking around Taormina is great fun with lots of narrow streets and alleys, lots of locals.  Restaurants everywhere but we ate at La Buca, recommended by the hotel owners, and it was an outstanding meal.



The steaming cap of Mt. Etna towers over the towns of Catania to the East, at a height of more than 6,500 feet (nearly 2,000 m). It’s erupted dozens of times over the course of historical memory: Hesiod and Aeschylus both mentioned the great volcano in their manuscripts–and in Greek legends, it appears as the workshop of Hephaestus and Cyclops. Its lava flows have buried many a small village and vineyard over the course of the centuries.


3 Tour Experts you can Trust to do Sicily Right

G Adventures: Sicily with an Experiential Twist

Adventure kings G Adventures offers roundtrip visit to the historical highlights on Sicily, the island of “The Godfather.” Their small group itineraries (12-14 people) offer market visits, walks through old towns, cheese and chocolate tastings, visits to Siracusa’s Duomo and overnight stay in a farmhouse at Randazzo.

Highlights of Sicily – 8 Days / 7 Nights

  • Departs 1x-2x a month, April to October
  • 2 Nights in Catania
  • 2 Nights in Palermo
  • 1 Night in Ragusa
  • 1 night in Siracusa
  • 1 night in Randazzo

Avanti Destinations: Sicily Tailored to Your Travel Style

Our partners Avanti Destinations, a Portland-based travel operator in the business for 30+ years, offers incredible hotel stays and tour packages all over the world. Their creative itineraries are designed to maximize your time on Sicily, and best yet, each can be tailored down to fit your unique travel style.

Find out more details in their Best of Sicily and Sicilian Countryside Escape.

Located on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania, Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe, visible also from the moon. It recorded very large lava flow and, from ancient times, it is considered a sacred mountain. It is possible to organize interesting trips to and around the mountain Etna which offers stunning panoramas which embrace the complete landscape of eastern Sicily.

Best of Sicily – 8 Days / 7 Nights

  • 2 Nights in Palermo
  • 1 Night in Agrigento
  • 1 Night in Ragusa
  • 3 Nights in Taormina

Viking Ocean: Sicily on the Waves

Hit the waves in the magnificent Viking Star, which sails through the highlights of the Southern Mediterranean. In addition to a blissful day in Trapani, you’ll uncover the mysteries of Rome, Cagliari in Sardinia, Algiers, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Southern Mediterranean Discovery – 8 Days / 7 Nights

  • Complimentary shore excursion in every port of call
  • Unlimited wifi
  • All onboard meals
  • Beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner
  • Port taxes and fees
  • Culture curriculum that includes TED talks, resident historian and destination performances

Have questions about which travel experience is right for you? Give our travel agency a call! 503-224-0180 or email

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One response to “Sicily: Island of Ruins

  1. Pingback: 2018 Travel Trends from our Travel Agents | Willamette International Travel

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