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How Sicily Best Expresses the Magic of Christmas

Palermo’s Teatro Massimo “Vittorio Emanuele” has five floors of viewing boxes, plus its gallery. It has the capacity to hold over three thousand theater goers for opera, ballets and some of the main cultural activities of the city.

Trapani on the west coast of Sicily, is one of Italy’s last remaining salt factories. Experts believe that salt-production in the shallow lagoons that lie near Trapani on the east coast of Sicily, has been continuously operational since the 14th century.

Monreale – In 1174 construction began on the Duomo in Monreale, Sicily. Its marble floor is in-laid with mosaics, while two lines of granite Corinthian columns support the wood beam roof. Every other pair of columns is decorated with unique mosaic patterns (no two are the same) and each is topped by a floral capital.

Agrigento, near the west coast of Sicily is most famous for the awe-inspiring, Valle dei Templi, the largest archaeological site in the world. It is also a wonderful place to visit for the Christmas holidays. Set among the backdrop of ancient relics are traditional Sicilian Christmas decorations.

Ericè is an unforgettable medieval hill town with ancient origins. Set at the summit of a steep 2,500 mountain, each December the charming town becomes magical. From December 6th through January 6th, the center of town becomes a Christmas village, called Ericè Natale.

Taormina, Sicily’s best known resort, is set on a mountain overlooking the Ionian coast. Well known its must see sights – the famous Public Garden, Greek Theater and its most famous street for shopping – Corso Umberto. In the distance, you will see Mt. Etna.

Catania is Sicily’s second largest city. It lies on the Ionian Sea, under the shadow of Mount Etna. In 1669, Catania was covered in lava and the reaction to this catastrophe was amazing – the entire old part of town was rebuilt in Baroque style, with large, wide open squares and avenues. Piazzale Sanzio during the holidays hosts the Christmas Market, transforming the square into a winter wonderland.

Modica is among the beautiful Baroque cities. Located in a region of deep gorges, quiet farms and rugged limestone cliffs. In 1693, it was almost completely leveled by an earthquake, giving the great Baroque architects a blank slate on which to build. At Christmas the usually white buildings glisten with festive lights. Delicious holiday treats, are found everywhere, as would be expected from the home of the oldest chocolate factories in Italy.

Syracuse’s Piazza Duomo is considered among the most beautiful squares in Italy. It has a semi-elliptical shape and is dominated by the imposing facades of beautiful palazzos, its Baroque Cathedral and of the Church of Saint Lucia alla Badia.

Ragusa in southwestern Sicily is a wonderful blend of old and new. The grand-style of centuries-old buildings stand in contrast to the public buildings of the 1930s. If you visit during Christmastime, you will be delighted by the foods that are served. From butcher shops to bakeries, every shop owner displays their finest goods in the windows. It is impossible to stroll the streets and not be overcome with the desire to sample the remarkable cuisine of Ragusa.

Noto is one of the most breathtaking sights in all of Sicily, where your first glimpse is of the magnificent Baroque architecture. Lying at the foot of the Iblean Mountains in the most southern part of Sicily, Noto’s beauty defies words. Awe-inspiring at any time of the year, Noto transforms during the Christmas season to create a sense of warmth as native Christmas tree and traditional decorations adorn the city.

Marsala is home to the fine wine that bears its name. Popular world-wide during the holidays, Marsala is also a wonderful town to visit during the holidays. You will be amazed at the recipes that use the wine – from tiramisu to roasts to veal to biscotti, the versatile wine will even be used for medicinal purposes. The cheerful nature of the residents provide a charm to the Marsala that will make it difficult to leave once the holidays have ended.

Messina is vibrant and fast moving throughout the year; however, unlike most port cities, there is a soul beneath its busy nature. Each year, beginning with the Immaculate Conception, the city becomes draped in decorations, whether it is a humble home, an office building or the docks themselves, the signs of Christmas abound.

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