Italy
Sicily

Here you’ll find travel reports about Sicily. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

138 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    On arrival at the ferry terminal at San Giovanni, there was no need to disembark - the train rolled on to the ferry in two halves - one of the few places where this actually happens. It was exciting to watch, with the train rolling on, then our half reversing off and then travelling back on to lie parallel with the front half. We were able to leave our belongings and go up on deck as we crossed the Straits of Messina to one of Sicily’s main cities, Messina. It was good to get some fresh air and a walk about. The crossing only took about 30 minutes, just like going to Bute, although Messina had a bit more life about it and a good deal more sunshine than Rothesay usually does.

    The train reunited, we journeyed down Sicily’s east coast, passing the lovely Taormina and the shadow of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in the world, apparently - I think I’ll just stay on the train. Olive and orange trees and giant cacti lined the tracks here. As we pulled into our final destination I felt, like that Rodgers and Hart musical, one of ‘The Boys from Syracuse’.
    Read more

  • Day4

    Sleeper to Sicily

    June 7 in Italy

    At 20.10 last night, I boarded the overnight sleeper train from Milan all the way to Sicily. A marathon journey of some 19 hours 38 minutes. And if I was expecting a luxurious travel experience, I was about to be sorely disappointed - the Venice Simplon Orient Express this was not. The train resembled the kind of graffiti-decorated transport that you might expect of Italian railways on a short local journey from Roma Termini to San Pietro. My 2 berth 1st class compartment had certainly seen better days with little by way of creature comforts. Unlike the meticulously uniformed crews of the Polish and Russian trains last year, with their peaked caps and efficient welcome, this train attendant resembled an overweight and unkempt Reg Varney from On the Buses. With an ill-fitting uniform and grubby shirt which was too tight to fasten, he sported at least two days of grey stubble.

    And if I had expected fine dining in the restaurant car washed down with a glass of Valpolicella, again it was not to be. Not a buffet car nor even a trolley appeared to exist - and on a journey which was to take the best part of 20 hours. How glad was I that I had had that McD’s earlier when accessing their free WiFi. All that was left for dinner was a half eaten packet of crisps, a bag of Mint Imperials and a bottle of water so warm I could have easily have made a cup of tea with it - if only I had a tea bag.

    My travelling roomie embarked at Genoa. He was a tall, bearded Italian who spent some time rearranging our tiny space, with a great deal of moving luggage, ladders, toiletries etc, while parading around (if one can parade in such a tiny space) in his briefs - why have Italian men never heard of boxers?

    Our Trenitalia ‘Welcome Pack’ included amongst other bits and pieces, an eye mask. After being dazzled by the evening lights outside our blind-less window, I decided to make use of them to get to sleep. The underside of the bunk above me was covered in a full-length mirror, and when I awoke I was startled to see who looked like Lady Isobel Barnett from ‘What’s My Line’ staring down at me.

    In spite of this, my lower berth was remarkably comfortable and I got a reasonable night’s sleep. After devouring the last of the Mint Imperials for breakfast, I was amazed to discover by accident that refreshments were available from a cubbyhole at the end of the compartment. A long-life apricot croissant and an espresso later and I began to feel human again. Even Reg Varney came up trumps in converting our two berths into a relatively pleasant sitting area with a few clicks and pulls of levers.

    My Italian friend disembarked at Rosarno in Calabria at 10.00, and I had the compartment to myself for the remaining leg of the trip. The train hugged the coast all the way with terrific views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This wasn’t so bad after all.
    Read more

  • Day5

    Chaotic Catania

    June 8 in Italy

    Back on the rails again. Got chatting to a couple from Melbourne who had spent 8 days in Syracuse. ‘Don’t get me wrong’, he said, ‘we loved it, but it does need a bit of TLC and some of these old buildings want demolishing’. Ah, the Aussies…

    Today’s trip involved taking the train to Catania where after a 2 hour break there was a connection to Sicily’s capital, Palermo. The first train was brand new, with comfy leather seats and welcome air-conditioning. The only problem was that it was packed with over-excited teenagers on their way to Rome, and an even more excited teacher who screamed at the top of her voice, constantly waving her arms, pulling passengers from their seats, waving bits of paper and yelling at her charges to sit in their assigned seats. After about 20 minutes her pupils were all finally seated when the train conductor arrived to break the news that they were in the wrong carriage. More yelling and waving of papers, but at last they departed.

    On arrival at Catania with 2 hours to kill, I asked at the Customer Service window if there was any left luggage facility. Without lifting her head from her Bella magazine, the Customer Service representative said ‘no’. Do you have any WiFi in the station? ‘No’. Well, do you know anywhere nearby where I might be able to access WiFi, such as McDonalds or Starbucks? ‘No. We have nothing like that. Nowhere.’ I wondered if she had contemplated a career with the Catania Tourist Information Service.

    I had a hot but interesting walk into the city centre, laden with luggage. The main Duomo Square was beautiful, but the rest of Catania looked like a poor relation of Syracuse, only bigger and more built up - and the litter - cigarette butts everywhere - where were the Glasgow Central Fag Police when you needed them?

    As it was a few hours since breakfast and I would be on the train to Palermo for the next 3 hours, I decided to take a packed lunch on board, given my experience of Trenitalia catering. I found a nice little coffee shop with a smiling senorita who explained she cooked everything herself and it was all health foods. By this time it was too late to make my escape, so I opted for a spinach and ricotta cheese flatbread. She cut me a square with the precision of a surgeon and carefully packed it in a crisp white grease proof envelope. ‘Van ov my desserts, perhaps?’ she suggested with the insistence of Frau Blücher from Young Frankenstein. I pointed to the least offensive - one of her whole meal chocolate and pistachio nut offerings and thought she wouldn’t win any prizes from Mary Berry. A bottle of home made Sicilian lemonade later and I started cramming the goods into my already packed backpack. ‘Oh no’ exclaimed Frau Blücher, ‘you must carry eet like thees’ and held the package up flat on her outstretched palm, a presentation worthy of the adoration of the Magi.
    I returned to catch the train balancing my precious goods and found an unoccupied table seat for four. As I reached for the luggage rack, my precious bakery item slipped from the envelope and landed ricotta side down on the floor. The two girls opposite thought this highly amusing, but I thought what the hell, and picked it up, dusted it down and ate it. Well it was either that or starve.

    I had bought a half kilo of cherries from a fruit stall outside and then proceeded to devour them instead of the nut tart. They were delicious, but the juice from an overripe one squirted over my shirt. By this time the girls were biting their lips and giggling helplessly. I couldn’t quite catch what they were saying, but it was something along the lines of ‘Poor old soul, he really shouldn’t be let out alone’. All I could think of was the lyric from that Francie and Josie song ‘Dae cherry stains come oot?’

    I enjoyed the journey to Palermo - lovely countryside with more oranges and lemons. I hadn’t realised how big Sicily was - the largest island in the Med, with a population similar to Scotland’s. Regrettably there wasn’t time to see much of the capital city, but I would love to come back. I found my way to the docks and boarded the GNV Ferry - Atlas - and was pleased with my cabin accommodation for my overnight sailing to Naples. So long, Sicily, it’s been good. Mostly.
    Read more

  • Day5

    Surprising Syracuse

    June 8 in Italy

    On arrival, Syracuse proved to be a bigger city than I had imagined. A bit careworn and unkempt, I was glad I was not staying near the station but across a short stretch of water in the attractive Old Town area of Ortigia, a 15 minute walk away. The Terre & Mare B&B was contained within an old palazzo just off the main drag. I pressed the buzzer and was told to come up to the 7th floor - you’ve got to be kidding, I thought, no lift and this heat and this luggage! However a charming young Sicilian rushed out to meet me - ‘sorry, I mean 2nd floor’. Grazie al cielo! He proceeded to provide me with a map and a suggested walking tour of the main sights of old Syracuse. He showed me my single room, small but perfectly formed, complete with WiFi, air-conditioning, ensuite shower room, designer toiletries, and bidet - all of which I put to good use within 10 minutes.

    The suggested walking tour was a hit, and I loved walking about the Old Town with its beautiful Duomo, Temple of Apollo, Castle and fabulous sea views, in the early evening sunshine. Syracuse was the birthplace of Archimedes, and they don’t let you forget it. The restaurant I ate in that night was called Arches. ‘It’s pronounced Arkes’ pointed out the owner, ‘after Archimedes’. And here was me thinking it was named after the 60s pop group who had a hit with Sugar, Sugar.

    I was struck by how many of the more mature ladies looked so glamorous, even when well passed their sell-by date. One particular lady out walking her small dog, looked like a latter day Marilyn Monroe, had she lived. Aged about 80, her hair was coiffed in a platinum blonde 1960s style, with pale makeup and ruby red lipstick. She even had a similar full-skirted white dress à la Seven Year Itch, the only saving grace being that there were no subway gratings nearby.

    The breakfast was a delight - served on the roof terrace with terrific views, and the staff were so friendly. The teenaged girl who giggled and brought endless coffee told me her dearest wish was to visit Scotland, where all the pretty houses had geraniums in their window boxes. Not the last time I was in Govan, senorita. I giggled back and left her to her delusions.

    I could certainly recommend the Terre e Mare B&B if anyone was visiting the area.
    Read more

  • Day402

    As I am now thoroughly fed up of long trips and forecast looks fairly settled with only very light winds I persuaded John that we should go to these islands and anchor up at various bays for a few days. Our first stop is Favignana which seems nicer than the mainland probably because it is more touristy so cleaner. The Sicilians not seem to see all the rubbish on their streets and hard shoulders. These Islands used to have thriving tuna industries so there are some old canning factories but they were also defensive positions with forts on the hilltops. While walking through the town we kept seeing pits like the one photographed which we have concluded is where each family quarried for the stone to build there properties, the stone is soft. We also saw this old wooden boat and thought of Dave and Jane our friends from Almerimar though this is probably a project too far even for them. Now if the sun could come out tomorrow things would be great is has been drizzling all afternoon which puts a dampener on things and means the photos really don’t do the place justice.Read more

  • Day406

    Egadi Islands

    May 26 in Italy

    So far we have spent 5nights just cruising around and anchoring it was been so relaxing I am almost beginning to enjoy ‘sailing’ again. Well actually on one day we stayed on board as it was windy but only a little choppy, but from a more exposed direction and that might have been bad but I dozed and also went for a swim which was lovely. We have also been for a bit of an extreme cycle, it started well on tarmac then became gravel and then bedrock before we arrived somewhere a bit like Perelle shingle bank where we walked, then great gravel then tarmac to the lighthouse. But we were currently on the west side of the island and wanted to go to the east side, to town for food before completing the circuit. Now I admit we could have gone the easy route on the main road and past the boat but hey this is us so we decided we would go up and over, there was a track marked on the map so should be OK well No. The first section would have been OK if we had mountain bikes it wasn’t very steep but it was very loose and our road tyres could get no traction, then after a strategic zigzag the gradient increased to about 40-45degrees and was still loose underfoot, would have been fairly horrible without the bikes but with them and the beautiful blazing sun it was not fun. I would have thrown my rattle if I had had one. But the views were good. Sadly we couldn’t ride down the other side initially but had to continue to walk though it was a lot easier down than up and path was wider and more stable. Once we reached the first house we could ride again and headed to town for food and more importantly a drink, we had expected to find cafes or kiosks during the morning but we only saw one that was open and that was only just after starting. After lunch we headed off around the other half of the island and loads of quarry pits both on land and on the coast and on the beach the rock is very soft and it looked like people had bought a plot of land and then quarried there own stones to build the houses, so most gardens had pits in them. There was also a couple of commercial sites and historic sites on the coast and the beaches. This half of ride was mostly on grit paths so was fine. We stopped for an orange juice at a mobile lemon. They used to have one at Beaulieu car museum. A globe on wheels those top half flipped open, ours was a lemon but there was an orange as well and they both served orange juice or lemon granita. The remaining part of the ride was easy enough but we had been out in the sun for while by now. Today we cruised to Levanzo island and had a look around only one small town a couple of isolated houses and not much else as the island has very little flat land, it’s Saturday today and there are quite @ few other boats in the anchorage but we are only Brits.Read more

  • Day416

    Isola de Capo Passero

    June 5 in Italy

    Long day today, we anchored last night off the beach from Scoglitti very peaceful but by 5 am there was a fair amount of swell and we rolling around a lot. Suddenly John leaps out of bed announcing ‘that’s it I have had enough of being dive bombed by mosquitoes and rolling around we’re off’ ummm OK then. So engine on anchor up and off we go along the south coast and then little ways up the East coast to our current location, I slept a lot of journey as because of mozzies the last few nights and the wedding parties before that when we were at San Leone I haven’t had much sleep but now John has finally put up the mozzy net so should be OK as long as the swell stays light. Some random photos today.Read more

  • Day424

    Taormina

    June 13 in Italy

    From Syracuse we cruised to Isola Ciclopi and Acitrezzi where we anchored up in a tight spot between the breakwater and the rocks. Photo one was taken as we were approaching we ended up anchored just the other side of the high rock in the middle of picture, we think Take Five has formed the backdrop for photos by most of the inhabitants as everyone seemed to take a photo while they were out on their evening promenade.
    Then onwards to our current location in Taormina bay, underneath the town, photo 2 taken at mooring looking up old town. Today we walked around the very picturesque town, this is the most touristy place we have been to so far in Italy, but by far the most beautiful and clean. Photo 3 shows Etna with an odd disc like cloud forming, photo 5 shows Take Five with her more illustrious neighbours, there have been 6 different super yachts around today, the yacht yachts are cruise ships but the motor cruisers appear private.
    Read more

  • Day401

    Marsala in Sicily

    May 21 in Italy

    After leaving Tunisia on Sunday morning and this was delayed because we managed to fuel up much faster than expected so we were ready before 12 which was the time we had told the various authorities when we arrived and they weren’t all there so had to drive back to the port! Odd system.
    The trip was uneventful, it took 20hours and yet again wasn’t the beautiful flat trip I had hoped for. The one odd experience we had was early on, we were motoring along with foresail up to steady us, when we saw a yacht on the horizon but it kept changing direction it was like watching a North Atlantic convoy, was we got closer we concluded they kept going in circles and were fishing but still weird! We encountered very little other traffic until it got dark when we appeared to be crossing the main shipping channel with radar blobs in all directions but at least the shift passed quicker. We arrived in Sicily a port called Marsala, yes where the fortified wine is made, at 7:30am I awoke when we came through pier heads and John slowed the boat so no preparation and there were 3 small marinas didn’t know VHF channels which were big enough or anything. Luckily a marinara was already at work repairing pontoons and saw us milling and directed us in and helped with mooring up, he then suggested we breakfast as office wasn’t open yet.
    We did as suggested and after checkin* in went to get our Costituto as we had arrived from non EU country I don’t think anyone else does this as took ages to find papers and complete, we also did more shopping then rested before walking into town and being surprised how pleasant it was as the marina area was a bit grim. On our walk home we found a link to our own island a donkey.
    Read more

  • Day410

    Mazara de Vello

    May 30 in Italy

    So after leaving the Egadi Islands, only because our permit expired, we headed back Sicily, we debated whether to go back Marsala or a little further to Mazara. There was very little wind so we decided to go to Mazara but, and I think this was just because I had enjoyed a week of light winds and very short trips, the wind picked up and we ended up coming into the port in force7-8 hilarious! Thankfully there were Marineros to assist us and we were between two other yachts the owners of which were not around so we could use them as fenders to ease ourselves in. Mazara is apparently biggest trawler port on Sicily and it was definitely very commercial but not very many trawlers in the water. The main site in the town was the 11th century Duomo (church) with its baroque makeover from 17century and second the moorish Kasbah with its narrow streets marked with tiles and street art, there were of course lots of other churches. John decided to do an oil change here as there was somewhere to get rid of the waste oil and we were told by a local somewhere to buy some more. We ended up buying the new oil from a family company called L’Armanavi they were brilliant, they didn’t have enough so phoned around, bot the oil delivered to them and then drove us and the oil back to the marina. Can’t fault their customer service! From here we headed along coast and passed Selinunte we had hoped to be able to anchor and go up to the ruins but there was still far too much swell so only photos which means we need to go to Agrigento for ruins there.street art in MazaraRead more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Sicilia, Sizilien, Sicily, Sisilië, ሲኪልያ, Secilia, Sícilia, صقلية, ܣܩܠܝܐ, سيسيليا, Siciliya, Сіцылія, Сицилия, সিসিলি দ্বীপপুঞ্জ, སི་ཅི་ལི་ཡ།, Sikilia, Sicilija, Sicília, Сицили, سیسیلیا, Sicílie, Sisili, Sicilien, Siciliska, Σικελία, Sicilio, Sitsiilia maakond, Sizilia, سیسیل, Sisilia, Sicile, Sicilie, Sisylje, An tSicil, Sî-sî-lî, סיציליה, सिसिली, Sicilska, Szicília, Սիցիլիա, Sikiley, シチリア, სიცილია, 시칠리아, Sîcîlya, Sicilië, Siçillia, Sicīlija, Сицилија, സിസിലി, सिचिल्या, Sqallija, ਸਿਚੀਲੀਆ, Sycylia, صوبہ سسلی, Сициилийэ, Sitzìlia, Sasiiliya, Sycylijo, சிசிலி, సిసిలీ, แคว้นปกครองตนเองซิซิลี, Sicilya Özerk Bölgesi, سىتسىلىيە, Сицилія, صقلیہ, Siciłia, 西西里岛, סיציליע, 西西里

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now