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Things to do for History Buffs in Sicily, Italy 

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  • 1

    Ortygia

    7 reviews

    Technically Ortygia is an island next to Syracuse on Sicily, but it's a really, really close island. And it's also thousands of years old. Settled by Greeks in their heyday, Ortygia is filled with ancient temples and narrow windy streets, as well as modern restaurants and trendy bars.

    Popular withHistoryLocalFoodies
  • 2

    Selinunte

    10 reviews

    Selinunte is definitely a must-see location in Western Sicily. The ruins of this ancient city overlook the Mediterranean and there are many temples to explore. The combination of the bleached marble columns, the bright blue sea and the colorful wildflowers is breathtaking. The only downside is that the temples that you see are reconstructions as the whole city was completely ...

    Popular withHistoryOutdoorDesign
  • 3

    Palazzo dei Normanni

    6 reviews

    The main reason to visit the Normal Palace is the Palatine Chapel. Built by Roger II it contains Byzantine, Latin and Islamic influences. The wooden stalactite ceiling is extremely rare in a church. The floor is also inlaid with many precious stones.

    Popular withHistoryDesign
  • 4

    Castello di Venere

    3 reviews

    Castello di Venere is literally the "Castle of Venus." The name stems back to Erice's history originally as a shrine for the Punic love goddess, Astarte. When the Romans came they changed the temple's affiliation to Venus but not its purpose. Until the advent of Christianity, in the Erice the priestesses practiced ritual prostitution. It makes sense, then, that armies ...

    Popular withHistory
  • 5

    Chiesa di San Cataldo

    2 reviews

    The Church of San Cataldo is one of the most recognizable sites in Palermo. This 12th century church is recognizable for its three red domes and distinctly Arab style. Much like the neighboring Martorana, it was built by the Normans and represents a fusion of architectural styles.

    Popular withHistoryDesignStudents
  • 6

    Catania Cathedral

    7 reviews

    The Cathedral of St Agatha is the main place of Catholic worship in Catania. It is name after the City's patron saint and is prominently located in Catania's main square in the old town.

    Popular withHistoryDesignLocal
  • 7

    Archaeological Area of Agrigento

    6 reviews

    Considered one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mediterranean world, Agrigento in Sicily is well preserved and remains in an exceptionally intact condition. The Doric temples that dominate the ancient town are one of the most outstanding monuments in Greek culture and art, shedding light on the life, culture and burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

    Popular withHistoryAdventureBudget
  • 8

    Valle dei Templi

    6 reviews

    Not the easiest archaeological site to get to in Sicily, but it is certainly worth the effort. This park offers some amazing examples of Ancient Greek architecture and is worth exploring. The park is quite large but easily explored in several hours. Avoid the hot months of July and August if you can since the sun and heat can be ...

    Popular withHistory
  • 9

    Riserva dell Zingaro

    4 reviews

    Nearby Scopello gathers more tourists as it figures more prominently in the guidebooks, however, the Zingaro Preserve features some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Sicily. You can get from beach to beach by walking a razor thin pathway along the ridge above the water. Each beach is generally nestled in cove created by the black, rocky cliffs. ...

    Popular withOutdoorHistoryWellness
  • 10

    Quattrocanti Palermo (Four Corners)

    2 reviews

    The Quattro Canti (Four Corners), is the center of Palermo. Located at the intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda, you can look from this spot down the broad boulevards and see the hills and the sea in the distance. The intersection forms a circle, with the facade of each building forming part of the arc. Throughout the day ...

    Popular withHistoryDesign
  • 11

    Isola di Ortigia

    5 reviews

    Enchanting baroque island, plenty of antiquities enjoyable by walk

    Popular withDesignLocalHistory
  • 12

    Mozia

    2 reviews

    The small island of Mozia, which lies in a brackish lagoon off the western coast of Sicily between Trapani and Marsala, is home to the best preserved Phoenician ruins in the world. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians were mostly wiped out by the Romans. The island of Mozia, which was destroyed by Greeks, was lost for centuries until a private expedition ...

    Popular withOutdoorHistory
  • 13

    Piazza Bellini

    2 reviews

    The Piazza Bellini is one of the main squares in Palermo. Several historic sites are located on the square, including the Martorana and San Cataldo Churches. From the fountain you can look up and enjoy the vibrant colors of the roofs of the Norma, Arab and baroque buildings.

    Popular withStudentsHistoryDesign
  • 14

    Martorana

    4 reviews

    The Martorana is one of the more unforgettable sites in Palermo. Built during the 12th century, this small church is a remarkable blend of Arab, Norman and Byzantine. The slender columns are engraved with Arab calligraphy while the frescoes on the walls and ceiling are golden Byzantine.

    Popular withHistoryDesignSpiritual
  • 15

    Teatro Greco

    2 reviews
    Popular withHistoryAdventureDesign
  • 16

    Teatro Massimo

    10 reviews

    I never saw an opera here but I did see the Godfather Part III in the movie theater when I was 11. In the film Michael Corleone's daughter is gunned down on the steps of the theater after his son's debut opera performance. Many tourists go to see the theater just for that reason.

    Popular withLocalHistoryDesign
  • 17

    Riserva naturale integrale Saline di Trapani e Paceco

    3 reviews

    The west coast of Sicily between Trapani and Marsala is sparsely populated. One of the main reasons is that the waterfront is dominated by man-made foul smelling lagoons. The Salines are saltpans that capture sea water in pools and slowly concentrate the salt through evaporation. Wind mills lining the pools grind the sand, which is in turn sold. For three ...

    Popular withHistoryOutdoorLocal
  • 18

    Marsala Historical Center

    2 reviews

    Marsala has an extremely long and varied history. During the Punic Wars it was a Carthaginian naval stronghold. The name Marsala stems from Arab times. The downtown historic district, however, is comparatively modern, with several baroque structures dating from the Spanish occupation. The streets inside the walls are fairly narrow and difficult to drive. There are numerous squares and churches ...

    Popular withHistoryDesignFamilies
  • 19

    Stagnone Reserve and Saline

    2 reviews

    As the name sounds, the Stagnone is a stagnant lagoon. It is located on the west coast of Sicily between Trapani and Marsala. The shoreline is lined with evaporation pools for making sea salt and windmills for grinding it. For three Euro my wife and I bought some and used it for two years. The most important site in this ...

    Popular withStudentsHistoryOutdoor
  • 20

    Taormina

    9 reviews

    One of the most beautiful towns in Italy.Taormina's area was inhabited by the Siculi even before the Greeks arrived on the Sicilian coast in 734 BC.Taormina is a magic place. The most famous monument is the ancient Greek theatre, from which there are breathtaking views on the sea. Piazza IX Aprile is the perfect place where taking a drink and ...

    Popular withHistoryDesignFamilies
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