Best of Sicily and Southern Italy

I dare you to look at these photos and not fall in love with the best of Sicily and southern Italy. Stunning beaches, ancient towns—it is all here.

We have covered a little of southern Italy in the past. My wife Maria has a great feature on the Amalfi Coast, and there is our popular page listing the best beaches in Sardinia! Then we've got some "secrets" of southern Italy to share with you and a lot about the Cilento region too.

Not satisfied with that, though we have been searching out new places. The first was our discovery of the best beach on the island of Sicily, which we feature on our Italian wines site. Of course, with our trip being part of our wine research, we discovered plenty of great wineries as well as amazing places to stay.

We combined all that we've discovered over the decades of exploring Italy in our Best of Southern Italy feature.

We took many photos, but so few of them really captured the beauty of the place.

Thank goodness then for our photographer friends like Doug Porter and others who have solved the problem by sharing photos that truly capture the magic of Sicily and southern Italy. 

If you love these photos, please click like below to show your appreciation.

Need somewhere extra special to stay in Sicily. You'll find just what you're looking by clicking here.

Sicily

The Godfather's Sicily

Godfather Bar SicilyThe bar in the Godfather movie
Vitelli Bar Sicily - The bar in the Godfather movieThe bar in the Godfather movie
Savoca SicilySavoca

The photos above are of Savoca, Sicily. This is the village where Francis Ford Coppola filmed many of the Sicilian scenes for Godfather Pt1. It's here, in this rustic bar (first two photos above), that Michael Corleone, portrayed by the legendary Al Pacino, respectfully seeks the hand of Appolonia, marking a momentous scene in the Godfather saga.

This bar, a silent witness to cinematic history, echoes with the authenticity of Sicilian life.  A visit here isn't just a stroll into The Godfather's world; it's an immersive plunge into Sicily's soul. The walls harbor tales, and the air carries the whispers of the dialogues that once animated this timeless setting.

Savoca, itself, is adorned with narrow alleyways, transcends its role as a mere movie set; it becomes a character, contributing its rich history and cinematic charm to the unfolding narrative.

Savoca is a living testament to Sicily's rich cultural heritage. Its historical sites, including the 12th-century Chiesa di San Nicolo, add layers to the narrative, capturing the essence of centuries gone by. The village's authenticity has earned it the designation of one of the "Borghi più belli d'Italia" (most beautiful villages in Italy), a title well-deserved.

In Savoca, time seems to slow down, allowing you to savor the simplicity of life. Locals exude warmth, inviting you to partake in traditional Sicilian hospitality. It's a place where every corner tells a story and every cobblestone bears witness to the passage of time, making it an ideal setting for cinematic masterpieces like The Godfather.

Our Tip:

There's an incredible hotel nearby where an entire Godfather style village is now the hotel, you can read more and see the pics here.

Cefalu

Duomo Cefalu SicilyThe Duomo in Cefalu, Sicily
Beach in Sicily Cefalu Beach in Sicily

Nestled on the northern coast of Sicily, Cefalù is a coastal wonder, blending historical richness with the charm of the Mediterranean. This picturesque town, with its cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and golden beaches, offers a tapestry of experiences that you cannot help but fall in love with.

Historical Marvels: At the heart of Cefalù stands the imposing Cefalù Cathedral (Il duomo di Cefalù), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in the 12th century, this Norman cathedral boasts intricate Byzantine mosaics, illustrating biblical scenes with exquisite detail. The Duomo's grandeur is only matched by its panoramic views of the town and the Cerulean Tyrrhenian Sea.

As you leave the cathedral and wander through the labyrinthine streets, you'll encounter remnants of Cefalù's storied past. The very streets themselves resonate with the spirit of medieval Sicily. Some of the highlights to visit include the Osterio Magno, an ancient medieval washhouse, serves as a testament to the town's enduring history. The Mandralisca Museum, housing a diverse collection of artifacts and artworks, adds another layer to Cefalù's cultural richness.

Seaside Serenity: Cefalù's coastline is gorgeous. The contrast between the azure sea and the medieval town perched on the cliffs creates a postcard-worthy scene that lingers in the memory.

A leisurely stroll along the Lungomare promenade reveals a fusion of modern cafes and traditional Sicilian eateries. Indulge in local delicacies like arancini and cannoli while enjoying the panoramic views of the coastline. The seafront becomes a bustling hub in the evening, with locals and visitors alike gathering to savor the vibrant Sicilian atmosphere.

Artistic Enclaves: Cefalù has long been a muse for artists, drawn to its timeless beauty and enchanting vistas. The town's artistic spirit is palpable in the works of contemporary painters displayed in the numerous galleries that dot the streets. The play of light and shadow on the colorful facades and narrow alleys creates a canvas that captures the imagination of both artists and admirers.

Gastronomic Delights: Sicilian cuisine is a journey of flavors, and Cefalù offers a delectable exploration of local gastronomy. Traditional trattorias and seafood restaurants line the streets, tempting passersby with the aroma of fresh catch and Sicilian spices. From savory pasta dishes to succulent seafood prepared with a touch of Mediterranean flair, Cefalù's culinary scene is a celebration of the island's culinary heritage.

Festivals and Traditions: Cefalù comes alive with festivals that echo the town's vibrant spirit. The Feast of St. Salvatore, celebrated in August, is a procession that honors the town's patron saint. Locals and visitors join in the festivities, creating a lively atmosphere filled with music, processions, and a sense of communal joy.

cars in Italy

Gioiosa Marea

Sunset Gioiosa Marea Sicily

Sunset in Gioiosa Marea, Sicily. I would love to be there right now!

 


 

Best of Sicily Gioiosa Marea Lungo Mare in Gioiosa Marea

Caltagirone & Countryside

Sicily Italy Caltagirone
Sicilian CountrysideThe Sicilian Countryside

Positano

These photos of Positano are my own photos. Hope they don't disappoint too much :-(

Ceramic shop in PositanoCeramic shop in Positano
Arriving in Amalfi by boatArriving in Amalfi by boat
A view of the sea from PositanoA view of the sea from Positano
Beach in Positano

Positano Beach. For a list of the best beaches in the area click here.  For more about Positano itself read this.

 


 

Puglia/Apulia

A cottage in Alberobello
Flowers in the lane in Alberobello

Alberobello, nestled in the heart of Italy's Puglia region, unveils a unique architectural wonder: the enchanting Trulli houses. These distinct limestone dwellings, characterized by conical roofs and whitewashed exteriors, create a fairytale-like ambiance.

So, what's the story behind the Trulli houses of Alberobello?

Dating back to the 14th century, these iconic structures were originally built as temporary shelters for agricultural laborers. However, the residents' ingenuity in constructing these homes without the use of mortar or cement has turned them into enduring symbols of Puglian architecture.

Walking through the narrow streets of the Rione Monti district, you'll see streets lined with these cylindrical structures, each topped with a pinnacle that often bears religious or mystical symbols. The labyrinthine alleys lead to hidden courtyards and quaint squares, enhancing the enchantment of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can explore the interior of some Trulli houses converted into museums, providing insights into the daily lives of the past inhabitants. The Trullo Sovrano stands out as a remarkable example, boasting two floors and an intricate architectural design. It provides a glimpse into the evolution of Trulli architecture, from modest dwellings to more elaborate structures. The museum also explains how this unique construction, with its thick walls and conical shape, offers natural temperature regulation, keeping the interiors cool in the scorching summer heat and warm during the chilly winters.

Even better than simply visiting a museum is to actually stay in a Trulli. The experience is something you will always treasure. If you do want to stay in a Trulli, and you really should, then have a look at Trulli and Puglia. They've converted old Trulli houses, right in the old town of Alberobello, into a dream come true.

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