Discover splendid isolation in Sicily
Last updated: January 17, 2021
One could say that Sicily has been isolating for centuries, so Sicilians are used to it. But the isolation here is one of sweeping azures, charming fishing villages, sizzling volcanoes and pristine beaches.
And despite this relative isolation from the rest of Italy, elements of bygone cultures form a multicultural topography across the landscape, made up of ornate palaces topped with golden domes, towers ascending from Baroque cathedrals, the rugged entablature of Ancient Greek temples and the iconic battlements of Norman castles. Sicily is where all the cultures of the Mediterranean have merged and combined, a land of legend, immense natural beauty and some of southern Europe’s best cuisine.
Coronavirus in Sicily?
Sicily has been, and is still one of Italy’s least-affected regions during the Covid-19 outbreak, and as cases have begun to drop all around Italy, Sicily’s have remained consistently low with just a handful of new cases reported.
Authorities intend to maintain this level by keeping a ban on large public gatherings, by making the use of PPE mandatory in many public spaces and in taxis/cars/public transport, and by monitoring the health of visitors to the Island through registrations on the now mandatory (until 30 September 2020) Sicilia Is Cura APP.
There’s a 2m distance in wellness centres and if you fancy a sauna, these have to be booked exclusively for your party. There are also restrictions on audience numbers for indoor and outside shows, so be sure to book well ahead.
The Acquaparks will remain closed for the summer, but the cable car and minibus for the excursion to the crater of Etna are open, with restrictions in place to avoid household groups mixing.
What to see in Sicily
Away from the beaches and the fabulous Sicilian restaurants, the best bits of Sicily are all architectural and historical.
In Palermo, stop by the breathtaking Palazzo Mirto that was once an Arab Fortress, the Cappella Palatina to see its lavish Byzantine mosaics, and the neoclassical splendour of Teatro Massimo to see Italy’s largest theatre (guided tours for up to 12 people at a time, so book online).
Elsewhere, Syracuse has a delightful 7th century church, converted from a Greek Doric temple, and Catania’s collections of Baroque and Rococo architectures are accentuated by the rugged silhouette of the iconic and near-constantly active Mount Etna - whose lava provided much of the lava stone for the city’s buildings.
But one of Sicily’s most fascinating sights is the Valle dei Templi, an archeological sight adorned with elegant fragments of Greek temples punctuated by fragrant almond trees and vistas of the surrounding countryside.
While many of Sicily’s bars and restaurants have reopened, we recommend booking ahead, as many establishments have remodelled their layouts and have fewer tables, to adhere to social distancing measures - which include wearing face masks before and after eating.
Escape the Crowds In Sicily
Paradisiacal bays, lonesome beaches and topaz-fringed coves with a lone yacht perched offshore abound on Sicily (try wandering the shores of Vendicari just south of Syracuse if you’re having trouble pinning one down).
But those in search of a little culture to dive into when the sea is shrouded by night, could do worse than seek out a smaller, lesser-known town or village to spend a more relaxed, Covid-safe holiday in.
History lovers should try Marsala, touring its delightful piazzas by day, and sampling its local dessert wines by night. While travellers looking for a slice of local ambiance without too much of Sicily’s bejewelled showy side, should try the island of Levanzo and the solitary fishing village of Cala Dogana that’s perched on its southern tip.
Checklist for your trip to Sicily
- Download the Sicilia Is Cura app.
- You must check in on the app or on the website as soon as you arrive.
- Pack PPE (facemask, hand sanitiser) and wear masks in cars and public spaces
- Stay at least 1 metre apart from people on the streets and on beaches
- No more than three people to a taxi.
Useful links Find up-to-date guidance on travel, safety, Covid-19 research and more.
RightRooms believes all information to be correct at time of going to press. As guidance, research and facts around Covid-19 are changing constantly, the information provided here is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Please check with venues, locations and attractions before travelling.