Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island and quite simply outstanding. Bathed in sunshine, its coast is lined in sandy beaches, tiny creeks and sheer cliffs and dotted with islets rich in colour and heady scents. The landscape is truly breathtaking and will often stop you dead in your tracks, as you venture from the heights of Etna to the sublime site of Taormina, on to Palermo, its bustling capital overflowing with charm and Syracuse, whose splendour and serenity are often unsettling. Seaside resorts give way to temples overgrown with vegetation and basking in the sunshine, the stucco of baroque palaces alternates with mosaics in Roman villas, while the high plateaux riddled with gorges are carpeted in thick forest. Along your way, you will soon become familiar with the mouthwatering aroma of aromatic herbs, dried tomatoes, fresh bread and pasta con le sarde (sardine paté).
Most tour operators bring tourists to Cefalù, Taormina, Syracuse, or to the foot of Mount Etna. However far from the conventional routes lies the north-west of Sicily, a fascinating region with a rich culinary tradition. Mazara del Vallo, Erice and the historic city of Marsala, famous for its wine, are the main stopovers on this still little known gastronomic route.