Where to go in Italy: the island of Sicily

When trying to decide , travelers should look into the gorgeous, history-rich island of Sicily. In ancient times, the island was the site of many mythological tales, but it has since grown into a flourishing city that has gathered influence from the Greeks, Romans, Spanish, Moorish North Africans and Phoenicians. Today, the island is the perfect spot for an Italian vacation, as it has activities to suit all tastes, whether it be art, history or literature.

Many travelers who come to Sicily visit the Valle dei Templi, or the Valley of the Temples, in Argrigento to gather a dose of the island’s history. This area was formerly the ancient city Akragas, which once thrived as a cultural and scientific hub. Today, visitors can find the remains of this once great city, including its many temples. The area houses religious shrines dedicated to gods and goddesses like Hera, Zeus, Hephaistos and Heracles. Since these are some of the best preserved ruins outside of Rome, the temples have been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Individuals who want to spend their vacations away from bustling crowds can retreat to the rocky city of Acireale. This area has managed to remain a secret that is kept from most tourists, so it a nice spot to lounge on its rocky beaches and take a refreshing swim. Literature lovers should take a trip to Aci Trezza while in this area, as it is said to be the spot where the blind Cyclops lives in Homer’s masterpiece the Odyssey. Still, another crowd-free destination in Acireale is the Duomo, a baroque church dating back to the 17th century. Art enthusiasts should be sure to find the statue of Santa Venera by Mario D’Angelo in the chapel.

Photographers who travel to this island of Sicily should not pass up a trip to the village of Castelmola. Sitting 1,800 feet above sea level, Castelmola is the idea spot for panoramic views as travelers stroll through its cobblestone streets. The village overlooks the island’s prestine waters, and is a beautiful way to view Taormina, the bay of Giardina Naxos and the volcano Mount Etna. While here, visitors should take a break from snapping photos and be sure to grab a drink, as the village is famous for its vino de mandorla, or almond wine.