I’ve wanted to visit Sicily ever since I saw The Godfather. The film was released in 1972, so I must have watched it a bit later on the television. While chatting with other tourists, several mentioned that scenes from the film In Postino prompted their visit. I can’t remember seeing that film but like us, they were rather off-piste as Il Postino was filmed in Messina and the location for The Godfather was in towns outside Taormina. However, when we reached Ragusa, we learnt that this was the location for the Inspector Montalbano TV series, so we did finally make it a film location.
Tucked away in the south-east of Sicily, we started our trip with a visit to Syracuse.
On the island of Ortygia, connected to the city by bridges, we visited the Fountain of Arethusa, where according to a legend, the nymph Arethusa (hunted by Alpheus) took shelter. The also spent a wonderful hour at a cafe in the piazza watching a wedding at the cathedral.
Next stop was Noto, a beautiful UNESCO heritage site full of Baroque buildings. Our guide-book also suggested a visit to one of the best ice-cream shops in Italy and the almond flavour was definitely worth sampling.
After a night’s sleep and a couple of hours on a public bus we reached Ragusa. This is an interesting city split in two by a gorge created during the 1693 earthquake. Ragusa Ilba is the old part of town with remarkable Baroque buildings including the Duomo.
We spent our last night in Palermo and had dinner in a restaurant decorated with books hanging from an arch. Interestingly, this place is one of many that have stopped paying money to the mafia for protection but have joined an anti-corruption group instead.
We left Sicily wanting more. Next time we’ll visit the Greek and Roman ruins in the north-east. Easyjet have flights from London to Catania and Palermo and travelling about the island is easy on buses and trains. Sicily is well worth visiting.