Agrigento Is the renowned Valley of the Temples, a must is a tour of the modern city that preserves fine examples of buildings such as the Abbey of the Holy Spirit of the thirteenth century, with the adjoining former monastery, surely one of the most beautiful of Sicily, which preserves the cloister with Gothic portals, the Chapter House with a magnificent portal and the ancient refectory also with gothic arches. Interesting is to visit the Dome of the ‘eleventh century, later rebuilt, which has a simple facade and a massive fourteenth-century bell tower and also retains a “treasure” with some valuable pieces of gold and the “Diocesan Museum” which contains the very famous sarcophagus of Phaedra, sublime Roman sculptural work of the II-III century. Do not miss the Archaeological Museum which houses fine examples of sculptures, vases, sarcophagi, pottery and other objects from the Valley of the Temples archaeological excavations and other dell’agrigentino archaeological sites, among which stands out for its beauty the marble statue the so-called Efebo of Agrigento.
Catania Inside the city you can discover the secrets and hidden wonders of places magically sculpted over time. Culture, origins, traditions and history of a city with a magical atmosphere where folklore is the most truthful expression of the feast of St. Agatha and historical markets. Of crucial importance is a visit to the cathedral square, surrounded by baroque palaces, the center of the square stands the Elephant Fountain, a very special monument and symbol of the city, consisting of a lava elephant holding an Egyptian obelisk. On the north side of the square stands the magnificent Town Hall and opposite the Palace of the former Seminary of the Clerics. On the east side stands the majestic architecture of the Cathedral, in the vicinity of the splendid Palazzo Biscari, a magnificent example of baroque Catania and the great eighteenth-century Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena, originally built in 1558, rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake and even expanded on most grandiose facility in 1703. the Castello Ursino, built by Frederick II of Swabia, now houses the Museo Civico. Important the spectacular via Etnea, Catania’s historic drawing room, and the Via dei Crociferi with its superb churches including that of St. Benedict and St. Giuliano. Among the testimonies of classical times we find the Greek Theatre and the Roman Amphitheatre. A rich program of opera and symphonic is held in the beautiful Teatro Massimo.
Taormina The visit begins by crossing Porta Messina, along the Corso Umberto I and coming soon to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II with the Palazzo Corvaja, a building made up of several successive mergers with a center of Arab origin body, another Norman and another Aragonese with great trifore and mullioned windows that face the square. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II branches off a road leading to the Greek Theatre, the most famous monument of Taormina for its unique charm and the beautiful view of the coastline of Naxos, with the imposing outline of Etna in the background. Along Corso Umberto I I can see the magnificent views offered by medieval streets and meet the order the Belvedere, the small Church of St. Augustine, the Church of St. Joseph, the Clock Tower, the Porta di Mezzo and Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Nicholas of the thirteenth century, rebuilt in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and remodeled again in ‘700. The Basilica has a seventeenth-century portal, lancet windows of the fifteenth century, a false battlements crowning the building and an interior like a basilica with three naves, with numerous paintings fifteenth. The Palace of the Dukes of S. Stefano is located below and the path ends with the Porta Catania.
Palermo A visit to Palermo is like a journey into a time machine: Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish will flow before your eyes in a city mix and valuable. The visit of Palermo provides un’obbligatoria stop at the Cathedral, built in 1145, which presents a superimposition of styles from data additions occurred over time. In fact, the main façade preserves the appearance of the XV and XVI centuries. Very impressive to visit two places of the various types: the Catacombs of the Capuchins and the picturesque market “Vucciria”. The theaters, both in the neoclassical style, the Massimo and Politeama. The historical and artistic heart of the city is represented by the neighborhoods that gravitate around the two main arteries: via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda that meet at right angles in the famous “Quattro Canti”, because of the four rounded corners of Baroque palaces that ahead, adorned with statues and fountains. Near it opens the Pretoria Square with the imposing Palazzo Senatorio or the Town Hall, also called the Palace of the Eagles, the church of St. Catherine and the magnificent fountain Pretoria, 1555, by the Florentine Francesco Camilliani. Here you can admire the Martorana church, also called St. Mary’s, Norman precious jewel, built in 1143 by Admiral George of Antioch and later altered by a baroque facade.
Cefalù Located at the foot of the Madonie, the Normans left their most beautiful Cathedral, founded by King Roger in 1131, whose construction was completed in over a hundred years. Do not miss the cloister next to the church from which you can admire the sides of the complex and the apses of the Cathedral. See, also, the Bishop’s Palace in 1793, Palazzo Piraino with a sixteenth-century portal and the former monastery of St. Catherine, now the Town Hall. Shortly beyond the Piazza del Duomo is the Mandralisca Museum, which holds in its Greek and Arabic ceramic salt, ancient Sicilian coins, paintings and other works of art including vessels of Antonello’s famous “Portrait of an unknown” by the Messina 1465-70. To visit is the Fountain, located on the cliff, with interesting remains of archaic fortifications composed of large blocks of polygonal shape at the base, with the top medieval or modern remakes. For the Via Vittorio Emanuele you reach, protected by a gate, a medieval wash dug into the rock. A walk on the cliff, following Vicolo dei Saraceni, leads to the ruins of the Temple of Diana in the ninth century BC and the Medieval Castle.
Ragusa The first spectacular view of Ibla, dominated by the dome of the cathedral, it has from the terrace in front of the church of Santa Maria delle Scale. Going down the 250 steps that branch off from the church, we dive for the first time in the heart of Ibla. Palace of the Chancellery, in the immediate vicinity there is the Santa Maria of the church with its distinctive bell tower decorated with colorful Caltagirone ceramics. At the end of the staircase that rises Palazzo Cosentini, with its eighteenth-century balconies, it is the emblem of the Sicilian baroque Ibla. From building emerge elegant balconies supported by corbels decorated with human figures, but also by monsters, animals, faces and horrible at the same time sublime. Nearby, it is the square occupied by the Church of Purgatory, located in the immediate vicinity of the baroque palace of Sortino – Throne family. Further on, the road leads to Piazza Duomo, in the upper part of which is the beautiful church dedicated to St. George and built in the eighteenth century by master builder Rosario Gagliardi, Sicilian architect, a native of Syracuse, and active in Noto. The square is surrounded by numerous palaces. Leaving the cathedral you can make an excursion in the upper part of Ibla, from which, in addition to the neoclassical dome, you can see the typical small houses that surround it and many other corners of Baroque art as well, to spendidi palaces belonging to noble families.
Siracusa Among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, rich in history and monuments and expresses the whole range and complexity from prehistory to the present day. In a fortunate position (a large limestone terrace overlooking the coastline below) and has a magnificent natural harbor, today’s city is divided between an old part Ortigia, and a new recent expansion. The old city, which insists on a small island, and immediately show you the charm of a place that has seen a succession and stratification, in over three thousand years, important expressions of the greatest civilizations of the Mediterranean. However happen to follow it, according to precise routes or take chances, always meets the sea: the largest natural harbor with its beautiful sunset, the market, the smells in the streets, the restaurants of fish menu. It ‘impossible to summarize the Ortigia monumental wealth. Everything in Ortigia back to sea and it is thanks to this relationship that the ancient city owes its charm and its rich history. Visit Ortigia, the soul of Syracuse, it is a nice and deep with experience: a long travel in just one square kilometer of Greek temples and Christian churches, palaces Swabians, Aragonese and Baroque, courtyards, Arab alleys, shops and large public buildings.
Noto Her beauty, so harmonious as to seem a fiction, the scene of a theater, was born from a tragic event: the earthquake of 1693. Among the expressions of his greatest architecture we include the Cathedral with the staircase, San Domenico, Palazzo Nicolaci, Palazzo Ducezio . The buildings are majestic, all built in local limestone, soft and compact, by the whiteness that time has colored creating that magnificent golden and rosy tint that the sunset light accentuates, this reconstruction, led by the Duke of Camastra, the representative in Noto Spanish viceroy, participating in many Sicilian artists, including Paul Labisi, Vincenzo Sinatra and Rosario Gagliardi, who, influenced by Borromini, is perhaps one of the most inventive. The city is built as if it were a stage set, and studying the perspective on her makeup in a singular way, playing with the lines and curves of the facades, with shelves decorations, curls and spirals, the gargoyles, cherubs, from the balconies wrought iron railings that folds in graceful shapes and pot-bellied.