Beyond Taormina: Five of Sicily's Most Enchanting Villages

Leave the crowds of Taormina behind and venture off the beaten track to discover five marvelous Sicilian villages. Check out the slideshow below.

Rising 750 m above sea level, on a hill on the southern slopes of the Nebrodi mountains in central Sicily, Sperlinga, and all of its 819 residents, are dominated by the Norman castle, dug into a gigantic sandstone; the village develops just below it, placed against the same sandstone.

Beautiful Savoca is famous for being the shooting location for the scenes set in Corleone of The Godfather. Bar Vitelli, which was featured in the movie, is still in business. The village is also famous for the Mummies of Savoca: the remains of some local noble personalities were mummified and are now on display in the so-called crypt of Savoca.

As you approach the Iblei plateau in the countryside near Syracuse, there comes 18th-century Palazzolo Acreide, a Unesco World Heritage site along with seven other cities of the Val di Noto. Boasting an amazing Baroque architecture, this ancient village has seen the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Angevins and Aragoneses pass by, each leaving their mark.

Castiglione di Sicilia is located on a hill on the north side of Mount Etna, in the middle of the valley formed by the Alcantara river, in a setting of great natural beauty. Time seems to have stopped among the old cobblestone streets that lead to the most charming corner of the village, the medieval “U Cannizzu” Tower.

Marzamemi is one of Sicily’s most delightful fishing villages, characterized by white houses with blue doors and window frames and a relaxing atmosphere that invites to sit down at one of the many open-air restaurants where to savor the region’s specialties. The name is of Arab origins; it was the Arabs in fact who founded the village in the 10th century, along with a tonnara (tuna processing plant), which would later become one of the most important on the island.

Off the beaten track
Castiglione di Sicilia
Palazzolo Acreide