The land of thousand landscapes

October 16, 2016

The land of thousand landscapes - that's Sicily. 
An island full of goods - red Sicilian wine, fresh regional food, breathaking landscapes and open hearted people. I fell in love with this island - and now I want to show you why.


We lived at Daniela's place, which we found on Airbnb. She is an artist - and the place is totally like her - quite crazy and very very welcome. The flat is in the building from 1900, with enormous high ceilings and huge windows - just near the market with local goods and only few streets from the old town. You just knew you live in the place were Catanians live.


As we landed in Catania, the second biggest city of Sicily, we decided to explore our neighbourhood first. Although the city is quite big, mostly everything worth to see you can reach by foot.
I was fascinated by the Italian lifestyle which is totally different from the lifestyle in Germany. For example, they just leave chairs everywere on the street - just in case you need a place to sit and chat during the siesta. They put plants everywhere and leave the doors open - it feels like their home is not only the flat, but the whole city.

I liked the atmosphere of Catania's red light district a lot. The main square of it, actually. Students of the city occupied it and made it the most vivid place at town at the weekend nights.
Worth to mention is also Via San Michele, the artist street of Catania. We got to know Magda there - she has an art shop with her fellow designer together and makes beautiful things from lava stone. I also couldn‘t resist to buy something from her. Check it out here:

Greeks and Romans

Speaking about the temples and amphitheaters, there are plenty of them everywhere in Sicily. Don't try to see them all - you will go crazy and in the end they will look all the same to you. For example, we chose the Catanian sights and the few in Syracuse and Taormina - it was beautiful, but full with tourists.

Time Stopped

Syracuse is a town on the south coast of Sicily, known for it's beautiful architecture and tiny old town streets. We took a walk arount the island Ortigia - just to enjoy the views and feel the flair of the city. 

We came back to this town - to see the Ear of Dionisius -  a limestone cave carved out of the Temenites hill. Its name comes from the similarity in shape to the human ear. The feeling inside it is overwhelming - it feels and sounds like a huge catedral made by nature.

Tourist Paradise

People like to say that Taormina is the most beautiful town in Sicily. And it would be if not its fake cleanliness and the masses of tourists. The location and the views are astonishing, but sadly it's almost impossible to meet Italian people there.

The Plants

It gets better when you take the cable car and head down to the beach of Taormina.
There's an island called Isola Bella - a place where some rich guy once build his own paradise. The wild plants are taking ower the island - and it's becoming even more beautiful. The huge palm leaves, crazy trees forms and the wild cacti - I was fascinated and just wanted to paint them all.


The beach situation in Catania is quite sad. The city only has the Playa di Catania - which is 33 kilometres long artifitial Sahara sand beach near the port of Catania.
You better choose the beach in the north of Catania - San Giovanni Li Cuti - it's all only lava stones and black sand. It is tiny, but at least it is not that touristic.

Dionisius Was Angry

The better desicision is to take a little drive in the northern direction from Catania. The coast between the Aci Castello and the Aci Trezza is called the Ciclopi Islands and is definetely worth a visit.
We were just sitting there on the stones and eating breakfast, Moritz was searching for crabs, I was doing the photographs. Later we took a swim there - I couldn't wish more.
Though the beach is rocky and suit more for diving, it is still posible to come out of the water with only few scraches.

Into The Wild

Searching for a wild beach in Sicily could be quite tricky. We found one in the Vendicari Nature Reserve near the Noto. Getting lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere, walking a lot afterwards was a part of it, but then... Then we were there - 10 kilometres of wild nature without a single human being.

Ghost town

One day we were doing a road trip almost through the whole Sicily and we decided to stop at the Reserve of Vulcanelli di Macalube in the middle of the island. We knew that the place were you can see the mud vulcanoes is closed, but I still wanted to give it a try.
The thing which stopped us to go there was not the fence or the stop sign, but the toys of the children at the entrance. Due to the death of two children during the sudden erruption in 2014 the Reserve was closed. There was something in the air you could feel -  the deserted landscape and the atmosphere of the tragedy made us stop and think before we go.

Walking On Porcelain

Scala dei Turchi (or the Stair of the Turks) is a rocky cliff not so far from Agrigento. It has this name because of its unusual white colour and the shape of a staircase. The landscape is breathtaking - the stairs and the reef look as if it was made by a sculptor. 

Just A Valley

Several thousand years ago, the Alcantara river bed was blocked by a lava flow from Mount Etna. As the lava was cooled much more quickly by the water than it would have done otherwise, it crystallised in the form of columns. Over the time, the river naturally eroded a channel trough there columns in impressive gorges and ravines.
Though the river is cold and you can't acually swim there, it's one of the most beautiful places in Sicily.

Landscape of the Mars

The vulcanic island Sicily - it would be a pity to skip its greatest and the most dangerous beast. Though it was impossible to reach the main crater of the Mount Etna due to the weather conditions and we went 'only' to 2900 meters above sea lever - it was definetely the highlight of our trip.

Most Important Meal of The Day

As long as you eat local goods, basically you can everything there - it tastes amazing. 
Fish market is definetely one of he must see and try things - it's fresh, local and cheap. 
We were lucky to have the one near our home in Catania - we bought 1 kilo of tuna there and cooked fancy dinner at home.

We tried several different restaurants in Catania, Giarre and Agrigento - from 'Spaghetti Alle Vongole' to the stone owen pizza. Our favourite place - FUD in Catania - the contemporary italian cuisine with fresh Sicilian ingredients and wines. There you can try such things as horse meat burger and enjoy the athmosphere of real italian dinner.

Don't forget the sweets in Sicily. Gelato, of course, and my favourite - tipical Sicilian Cannoli.

Go Home!

My photographs isn't nearly half of what the island has to offer - all of the north and west coast is waiting to be explored. I would come to Sicily over and over again - the diversity of its landscapes, the food, the atmosphere on the streets... I guess I already miss it.

Photographs by me and Moritz - PENTAX K-50, 18-55mm

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