Sicily is beguilingly beautiful, a landscape of volcanoes, flower-strewn meadows, silvery olive groves and vineyards hemmed in by ancient dry stone walls. The horizon to the east is dominated by Etna’s brooding, 10,900ft hulk, often blanketed in snow and sometimes belching fumes and red-hot rivers of lava.
Beaches? There are plenty of those too. Expect long, golden stretches backed by shady pine forests, as well as bucolic mountain trails and the chance to go island-hopping in the volcanic Aeolian archipelago.
Sicilians are fiercely patriotic to their home, which is no surprise. It’s the largest island in the Mediterranean and has a culture shaped by the multiple civilisations that have passed through over the millennia. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards have all left their legacy in ancient temples, magnificent theatres, exquisite mosaics and mighty cathedrals. You’ll find incredible archaeological sites that easily rival those in Greece dotted casually across the countryside and along the coast, while the food and wine scene is like nowhere else in Italy.