Narrow stone streets sprawling with food, wine, and some of Europe’s most entertaining people. That is the view you’ll likely have during an afternoon on the Mediterranean’s largest island. Sicily, to many, is one of Italy’s true gems. A shining beacon for the beauty of southern Europe. So, why should this inspiring island be your next destination for a cycling holiday?
The evidence of human occupation on the Island of Sicily goes back to 1200 BC. Hunter-gatherers used the island’s rich waters and fertile lands to make a comfortable home for themselves. The climate of the southern island meant that ancient humans had the perfect environment to foster a thriving and healthy community.
The geography of the island has meant that over the years Sicily has been invaded and occupied by just about every large Mediterranean power in history. From the Persians and Cretan Saracens to the Vikings and French. This fascinating history has turned the island into one of the most diverse and eclectic destinations in Europe and perhaps even the world.
It goes without saying really that Sicily has amazing food. After all, Italian culture is known for its sweet and savoury culinary delights. However, as Sicily has adopted many different cultures over the years its food is far more diverse than in mainland Italy. Each region of the island is famous for a different dish such as the Cassata, a small cake-like dessert found in Palermo.
Due to the island’s fertile volcanic soil and warm Mediterranean climate, Sicily is perfect for growing grapes and ultimately making wine. The region is so good for the production of wine that it has become the largest producer of alcohol throughout Italy. It’s not just quantity with Sicilian wine, though. It’s quality too. The rich soil makes the grapes burst with flavour and many of the wines have a distinctly fresh taste to them.
One of the key standouts of Sicilian culture is the people’s appreciation and respect for time. Family and friends are at the heart of everything the Sicilians do and they consistently make time for this. Each day between one and four, most shops and offices close so everyone can go back to their home and enjoy lunch together with their families. What this does for the visitor is it slows down their holiday. So, you can fully appreciate this amazing island.
As you might expect from a region that has featured many cultures over the years the island has a brilliantly colourful language. The dialect is much different to mainland Italian and there are some rural regions that still speak the island’s unique Sicilian language.
If you’d love to visit the island of Sicily, there’s no better way to experience it than by bike. So, Hooked On Cycling can help you plan your tour of Italy, contact us today to find out more.