5 Authentic Activities for a Sicilian Holiday

Though part of modern-day Italy, Sicily's proximity to North Africa and Greece have seen it influenced by centuries of multicultural merchantry and governance as a major Mediterranean trading post. As a result, it offers a rich tapestry of relics, architecture and experiences that form a living, breathing time capsule.

Tiptoe away from the tourist traps on your next trip to Sicily with a satisfying sojourn through the island's most intimate experiences.

5. BONAJUTO. No visit to Sicily would be complete without a visit to Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica, an ancient chocolatier specialising in handmade chocolate and pastries so unique that to eat them is almost a spiritual experience. Offering everything from their iconic chocolate bars and ultimate Sicilian cannoli to offbeat treats like ‘mpanatigghi (chocolate meat cookies) and honey-baked orange peel, it's their hot chocolate you really can't pass up. Brewed to an Aztec recipe, the cocoa paste is stone-crushed instead of powdered; with spices, vanilla pods and citrus peel added for an otherwordly flavour.

4. THE STAIRS OF CALTAGIRONE. Tiles aren't normally something to stop and stare at, but the town of Caltagirone is completely covered in them. For over a millennium it has been renowned as the Mediterranean's iconic tile production hub ever since Arab influence introduced glazing techniques in the 9th century. While every balcony, balustrade, vase and street corner is covered in ornately painted ceramics, the Santa Maria Del Monte staircase in the centre of town is the real showstopper — and on three feast days each year the stairs are lit up with candles and flowers in intricate motifs.

3. VILLA ROMANA DEL CASALE. A short drive from the quaint town of Piazza Armerina, this UNESCO World Heritage listed site contains the largest collection of Ancient Roman mosaics ever excavated. The elaborate tiling depicts incredible scenes of bikini-clad gymnasts, portraits, pastoral hunting scenes, mythological stories and so much more. Such is the intricate craftsmanship that it even survived a powerful flood around 1000AD, and despite modern photography, it's hard to appreciate just how evocative and unbelievable the artwork is without a visit in the flesh.

2. PALAZZO DEI NORMANNI. Currently the seat of Sicily's regional assembly, this 9th century palace is the oldest royal residence in Europe and has changed hands so many times that each ruling culture has left an indelible mark of their architectural style. On a tour of its mosaiced Sala Dei Venti, lovers of Ortigia products may recognise the iconic gattopardo, or leopard, that appears on the packaging.

1. ORTIGIA. Of course we recommend a visit to the namesake of our newest brand! On Sicily's southeastern peak stand the historic Greek ruins of Siracusa, well worth a visit in their own right. Nearby lies the tiny citadel of Ortigia at nearly 3,000 years old. Visit the ornate Palazzo Borgia Del Casale, learn about the folk traditions of puppetry at the Museo Dei Pupi, and view a Caravaggio at the Chiesa di Santa Lucia Alla Badia. If you're inspired but can't jet off just yet, Lusso Collective's selection of fragrances by Ortigia is a satisfying alternative — browse the range and travel through scent instead.

Buon viaggio x

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