Sicily, an island kissed by the sun and rich in history, culture, and flavors, offers a breathtaking itinerary for travel enthusiasts. A route that starts from the splendid Taormina to reach the baroque Noto, crossing unspoiled landscapes, fascinating villages and UNESCO World Heritage cities. The largest island in the Mediterranean, it is a territory rich in history, culture, and natural beauty that make it a popular destination for travelers from around the world. With the majestic peaks of Etna, the enchanting sandy beaches, the medieval villages and the incredible architectural beauty of the cities, Sicily offers an infinity of experiences, satisfying everyone's preferences.

Thanks to its varied beauty, it has always been a highly coveted destination for people from all over the world to learn about an ancient history, full of battles, falls, conquests and rebirths and to admire the boundless beauty of breathtaking natural landscapes and taste the goodness of dishes that taste of tradition.

Taormina: a jewel set between sky and sea

Our journey begins in Taormina, a pearl set on the east coast of Sicily. Perched on a hill 200 meters above sea level, Taormina offers breathtaking views of Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, and the Ionian Sea.

The city boasts a thousand-year history dating back to Greek and Roman times. Its Ancient Theater, still used for concerts and shows, is one of the largest and best preserved in Italy. In addition to its historical and scenic beauty, Taormina is also a paradise for food lovers: strolling through the narrow streets of the historic center, between typical shops and restaurants that smell of Sicilian cuisine, you can taste the almond granita, a fresh dessert based on almond juice and crushed ice, perfect for refreshing long walks.

A small natural paradise rises immediately in front of the Taormina coast: Isola Bella, a small islet that emerges from the crystal clear sea like a precious jewel. Its unspoiled beauty, with its lush Mediterranean vegetation and rugged cliffs, makes it a must-see for nature lovers. A true oasis for lovers of the sea and tranquility.


Greek theatre and Isola Bella of Taormina


Alcantara Gorges, a natural paradise

After leaving Taormina, we head towards the Alcantara Gorges, a breathtaking canyon carved by the river of the same name over millennia. Here nature reigns supreme, creating a scenario of rare beauty that leaves you breathless.

The Alcantara Gorges appear as a succession of basaltic walls up to 40 meters high. The spectacle is truly unique, especially when the sun's rays illuminate the rocks, creating a play of light and shadow that makes the atmosphere even more evocative.

In addition to their scenic beauty, the Alcantara Gorges are also a place rich in history and legend. It is said that their formation was due to divine wrath unleashed against a dishonest farmer, or that the icy waters of the river are the result of the god Vulcan's resentment towards the goddess Venus. These fascinating stories make the place even more special and full of mystery.


Alcantara gorges

Mount Etna Park, an Imposing Volcano

The journey continues to Mount Etna Park, a unique place in the world where the power of nature manifests in all its spectacularity. With its 3,329 meters of height, Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and offers a breathtaking panorama that extends to the east coast of Sicily.

Climbing Etna is an experience not to be missed for any nature and adventure lover: for trekking enthusiasts there is a vast network of trails that wind through woods, lava flows and silent craters. Paths suitable for all levels of experience allow you to explore the unspoiled nature of the volcano and discover its ancient secrets. Among the most evocative trails, we remember the one that leads to the Silvestri Craters, an ancient volcanic complex with cinder cones and eruptive vents still well preserved, and the one that leads to the Cave of the Ice, a natural cavity where snow is preserved all year round.

On the slopes of Etna, fragrant flowers are grown that the Sicilian black bees transform into the famous Etna Honey. This unique product, PDO since 2015, is available in different varieties, linked to the typical flora of the different areas of the volcano.



Mount Etna park


Syracuse, a dive into history

Syracuse, the pearl of Eastern Sicily, enchants visitors with its ancient charm and lively atmosphere. It is impossible not to visit the Greek Theatre of Syracuse: dating back to the 5th century BC, it is one of the largest and best preserved in Europe. Here, among the white stone steps, one can imagine the voices of ancient bards narrating stories of heroes and gods, now punctuated by a season full of events and theatrical performances. Not far away, the Ear of Dionysius, an artificial cave with an elongated shape and perfect acoustics, takes us back in time, whispering secrets and amplifying every sound.

Also worth noting is the Neapolis, the "new city" built in the 4th century BC, which offers a further immersion in history. 

Syracuse is not just ancient history. Strolling through the narrow streets of Ortigia, the beating heart of the city, one breathes in a lively and authentic atmosphere. Among local craft shops, historic shops and restaurants that smell of Sicilian cuisine, one discovers the true soul of Syracuse. A must-stop is the Ortigia market, a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors where you can taste local specialties such as "Cassata Siciliana", a triumph of ricotta, almond paste and candied fruit, which will delight the palate and leave an indelible memory.


Historical center and greek theatre of Syracuse


Ragusa Ibla and Scicli: panoramic views and evocative atmospheres

Ragusa Ibla, rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake, stands on a plateau overlooking the valley below. Its white limestone buildings and churches, adorned with elaborate Baroque decorations, create a panorama of rare beauty that has earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status.

Scicli, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is distinguished by its evocative atmosphere and its cave dwellings carved into the limestone rock. Strolling through its narrow streets, one discovers ancient caves used as houses, churches and even shops.


Noto, capital of Sicilian baroque

Here we are in Noto, located in the Val di Noto in southeastern Sicily, a riot of Baroque art that has earned it the nickname "Capital of Baroque". The city, rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693, is an absolute masterpiece of architecture, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Strolling through the historic center, one is enchanted by the beauty of its palaces, churches and monuments. But in addition to its architectural beauty, Noto offers visitors a 360-degree sensory experience: strolling through its streets, one can discover local craft shops where you can buy unique souvenirs, and typical restaurants where you can taste the delicious Sicilian cuisine.

A must-do is to conclude the visit by enjoying the classic Sicilian cannoli while watching the spectacular sunsets that the city offers.

Cathedral of Noto


Discover Sicily

Sicily offers an endless array of experiences for travelers from all over the world, with its ancient cities and a culinary tradition that has always held a great deal of fascination.

With Absolute Sicilia you can experience this incredible and immense island through unique tailor-made experiences: you will have the opportunity to stroll through characteristic alleys and soak up the scents of Italian cuisine; visit the most beautiful cities, stay in the most prestigious luxury resorts and take photos that will transform sunny days, the convivial atmosphere and the happiness that only such a warm place can give into sweet memories.

Let's start this journey together.


Source: Vogue Italia by Giorgia Genocchio


The Feast of Santa Rosalia in Palermo, one of the most long-awaited events of the year, celebrates its 400th anniversary with an extraordinary festival. This religious and cultural festival, dedicated to Palermo's patron saint, offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and traditions. Whether you are attracted by the allure of the traditional parade of floats or the promise of a unique experience in the Palermo scene, the Festino is a testament to the island's meeting of culture and history, an event that unites the entire city as well as thousands of believers and tourists from around the world in a whirlwind of excitement, faith and tradition



Palermo is preparing to host a very special edition of the Festino di Santa Rosalia, the city's patron saint. This year, in fact, marks the 400th anniversary of the discovery of her relics, an event that marked the end of the terrible plague epidemic that afflicted the city in 1624. To celebrate this extraordinary anniversary, the Festino program will be even richer and more evocative, with events and initiatives involving the entire city.

A full calendar of entertainment awaits us, including shows, exhibitions, concerts, food and wine tours, conferences and spiritual walks through which the city of Palermo and its territory will be told to visitors.

A multi-voiced narrative that will pay tribute to the priceless cultural, historical and scenic heritage of Palermo, embraced by the sea and protected by Monte Pellegrino, where the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia, a renowned pilgrimage destination for the faithful, resides. 

The appointment with tradition comes on July 14 with "Il Festino di Santa Rosalia": every year thousands of faithful and visitors arrive from all over the world to take part in the procession that begins its route from the Royal Palace, then stops in front of the Cathedral, crosses the Quattro Canti and reaches Porta Felice where the final show takes place, concluded by the traditional and spectacular fireworks

The next day, July 15, however, is the Solemn Procession along in Cassaro on the day the mortal remains of the Santuzza were found. 

But the most evocative moment of the Feast is held on the night of September 3 to 4: "L'acchianata delle Rosalie": on foot or barefoot, with lifelong friends or family, for the people of Palermo this night means only one thing: acchianata.

As early as 8 a.m. on Sept. 3 and into the night of Sept. 4, devotees set out on a pilgrimage along Monte Pellegrino to the shrine of Santa Rosalia, the city's patron saint. 

A popular-religious rite that has been held for centuries to arrive at the Shrine of Santa Rosalia to share a moment of prayer and celebration.

The story behind the figure of Saint Rosalie

St. Rosalie, born into nobility in 1130, defied expectations. A powerful vision led her to abandon a prearranged marriage and embrace a life dedicated to God. She first sought refuge in a convent, but her yearning for solitude drew her to a remote cave on Mount Quisquina. Her piety attracted followers, but their presence disrupted the quiet contemplation she craved.

Driven by her desire for complete isolation, St. Rosalie relocated to a hidden cave on Mount Pellegrino. There, she spent the rest of her life in devout prayer and penance, earning the reverence of the people who considered her a saint even before her death in 1170.

Centuries later, in 1624, during a devastating plague, St. Rosalie reappeared in a vision, offering salvation in exchange for a proper burial. Her remains were miraculously discovered, and she was officially canonized. St. Rosalie became a central figure of faith for Palermo, particularly during times of health crises, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic.


The magnificence of Festino

On the day of the Feast of Santa Rosalia, Palermo is transformed into a riot of faith, tradition and celebration. The streets fill with devout people celebrating their patron saint and taking the opportunity to ask for graces and miracles. The atmosphere is electrifying, with music, songs and colors invading every corner of the city.

At the heart of the festivities stands the magnificent Santa Rosalia float, an allegorical masterpiece towering at an impressive 11 meters tall and adorned with intricate decorations. It is paraded through the streets of Cassaro amidst the vibrant sounds of bands and the lively rhythms of folk groups. Seeing this immense tribute to the patron saint is an experience that moves and fascinates everyone present, who for the occasion are adorned with roses, a symbol of devotion and purity.

In addition to the float, the Festino offers a rich program of events celebrating Palermo's history, culture and traditions. One of the most striking to date has certainly been the video mapping on the Cathedral: a visual telling of the history of the city, the plague and Santa Rosalia through breathtaking images and sounds. A collective work of art created by the talented students of the Academy of Fine Arts of Palermo, it paid tribute to the patron saint in an innovative, engaging and touching way. 


Videomapping Santa Rosalia 2022 Palermo


The culinary tradition for Santa Rosalia

The Santa Rosalia Festival is a vibrant tapestry of religious devotion, captivating processions and, of course, a symphony of delicious flavors. Deeply rooted in Palermo's rich history and culture, the festival's culinary traditions offer a tantalizing glimpse into the soul of the city. 

At the heart of the festival is a delicious range of street foods and traditional dishes, each with a unique story to tell. 

One of the most popular dishes is Pasta con le Sarde, a pasta with fresh sardines, wild fennel, pine nuts, raisins, and saffron. 

For a taste of Palermo's iconic street food, of course, Sfincione, a thick, fluffy flatbread generously topped with tomatoes, anchovies, grated caciocavallo cheese, and a sprinkling of oregano, but also all the other typical street food delights, such as arancine and panelle, that fuel the festive spirit as you follow the procession through the vibrant streets.

For a touch of freshness, many opt for watermelon: the quintessential summer fruit that offers a refreshing break during the hot July days in Palermo.


Beyond the Island's Boundaries

The devotion to St. Rosalia, Palermo's patron saint, extends beyond the island's borders, carried by Sicilian emigration. Here's a glimpse into how her feast is celebrated in the US:

New Orleans (September 4th): The heart of American devotion explodes with a vibrant procession, music, and prayers, culminating in a mass at St. Louis Cathedral.

Chicago (September 15th): A solemn mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, sometimes followed by a procession, honors the saint.

New York (Bensonhurst, late Aug-early Sept): A festive celebration includes a procession, mass, concerts, folk shows, and even a "Cannoli Race" to crown the best pastry chef.


The statue of Santa Rosalia at the festival dedicated to the patron saint of Palermo held in Brooklyn (Facebook Photo/Jessica Ann)


Devotion to Santa Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo, has also found fertile ground in Spain, thanks to historical and cultural ties between the two nations. Her figure is venerated in several Spanish cities, where her feast day is celebrated with heartfelt devotion and a mix of Sicilian and Spanish traditions.

Seville (September 4th): A mass is held at the Church of San Nicolás de Bari, where a relic of the saint is kept.

Madrid (September 15th): A procession winds through the Lavapiés neighborhood, with a large Sicilian community, culminating in a mass at the Church of San Nicolás de Bari.

Barcelona (September 4th): A solemn mass is celebrated at the Church of Santa María del Mar.

In addition to the solemn masses and processions, some Spanish cities also hold other events in honor of Santa Rosalia, such as concerts, folk shows and food stands. These events are an opportunity for the Sicilian communities of Spain to come together, share their traditions and strengthen ties with their homeland.


A unique way to enjoy beautiful Palermo 

Experiencing the Festino di Santa Rosalia in Palermo is an experience beyond imagination. It is a headlong plunge into a sea of faith, tradition and breathtaking beauty. The city is transformed into an enchanting stage, where sacred and profane intertwine in a whirlwind of emotions.

With Absolute Sicilia, this experience becomes even more special. Not only will you have the opportunity to stay in the best luxury resorts in the city, but you will be taken on an authentic journey of discovery, like a true Palermo resident. You will be able to immerse yourself in the evocative atmosphere of the Festino, enjoying every nuance of this unique event.

You will be enraptured by folk songs and dances and savor the delicious flavors of traditional Sicilian cuisine. You'll admire the solemn procession of the Saint, a moment of deep emotion and devotion, and you'll feel an integral part of a community that lives its faith and traditions with great transport.

Experiencing the Festino of Santa Rosalia with Absolute Sicilia means entering the beating heart of Palermo, capturing its truest and most authentic soul. It is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture rich in history, charm and spirituality. An experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and memories.


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