Fishing town near Palermo, Western Sicily
If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the island of Sicily, a region of southern Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area can be an ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. And parts of Sicily haven’t yet been discovered by tourists. This short article presents western Sicily. A companion article presents eastern Sicily; another presents Sicily’s capital, Palermo.
Monteale is a city of some thirty thousand southwest of Palermo. It is best known for its Norman Cathedral built between 1174 and 1185, arguably the finest example of Norman architecture in all Sicily. Its interior contains well over an acre of gold mosaics.
The town of Erice, population under thirty thousand, is about a half mile above sea level. You’ll love its two castles, Pepoli Castle dating from Saracen (Arabic) times and Venus Castle dating from Norman times. Capo San Vito is a cape about twenty five miles (forty kilometers) northeast of Erice. It claims to have the most beautiful beach in all of Italy.
The city of Marsala, population approximately eighty thousand, was the major Carthaginian base in Sicily during its wars against Greece and Rome. Today Marsala brings to mind the wine much loved by the British (and others) for well over two hundred years. Make sure to see the Baglio Anselmi Archeological Museum.
We end our tour of western Sicily at Agrigento, historic city and site of Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples) arguably the finest Greek ruins outside of Greece. Each temple in the Valle dei Templi is unique. Prepare your trip carefully, summers in this part of the world are very, very hot, and while you don’t want to get sick, you don’t want to rush through the site which contains several buildings worth visiting.
While it hasn’t exactly taken over, organic food has made major inroads in Sicily. Of all the Italian regions only the neighboring island of Sardinia produces more organic food. See our companion article I Love Touring Italy – Western Sicily for a sample menu and more information on Sicilian wines as well as an in-depth examination of the area’s tourist attractions. You may be surprised to learn that only slightly more than fifty percent of Sicilian wine is red. There are many Sicilian wines without the DOC classification, sometimes by choice.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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