In many ways, Sicily is the ultimate Italy. Rich in art, archaeological treasures, history, creative cuisine and the breathtaking Mediterranean scenery, the island has been the crossroads between Europe and Africa for centuries. Sicily is warm, golden, and sprinkled with blindingly white Greek temples. This is where Archimedes taught, St. Paul preached and where the omnipresent Mount Etna made history.
Sicily's greatest natural attraction is also its highest mountain. To the ancient Greeks, Mount Etna was the realm of Vulcan, god of fire, and the home of the one-eyed monster known as the Cyclops. At approximately 3350 meters, it is Europe's highest active volcano. The height of its summit changes with each eruption, and over the centuries a few lava flows have reached the coast. Over 1200 square meters of Etna's surface is covered with solidified lava. Etna offers skiing in the Winter months and breathtaking hikes in the woods during the Summer.
Chocolate of Modica
Chocolate (possibly from xocolatl in the Aztec language), the product of cacao the fruit of the cocoa tree, made its way into Europe - through Spain - during the sixteenth century. The granular chocolate made by the Aztecs and introduced in Spanish Sicily, bore little resemblance to the emulsified product developed in England by John Cadbury in the nineteenth century. The Spaniards ruled the Kingdom of Sicily from the War of the Vespers (in 1282) until the eighteenth century. The Spanish influence over the island led to the introduction of various fruits and vegetables discovered in the Americas.
Roman mosaics (Villa Romana del Casale)
Set on a plateau almost 700 meters above sea level, about 35 kilometers from Enna and a bit nearer Caltagirone, the city of Piazza Armerina is not without charm. Founded during the Arab era, its historical quarter has some beautiful churches including a Baroque cathedral as well as a well-preserved fortress (Spinelli Castle), but most visitors come here to see the Roman Villa with its magnificent mosaics. Piazza Armerina is a charming town known for its Norman Palio - an annual summer pageant of medieval events - but the major attraction is its ancient Roman villa.