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»» Carnival in Sicily: Acireale

If you are visiting Sicily in the weeks preceding the Carnival, the town of Acireale it’s worth a trip. The oldest Carnival festival of Sicliy is held in this nice historic town.

Carnival of Acireale - Sicily

If you visit Acireale in the three week-ends preceding the last day of Carnival, you’ll enjoy of unique parades featuring amazing carts and colourful masquerades as well as of folkloric performances, live concerts in the streets and many more attractions.

You’ll discover a very Sicilian carnival, different than other major festivals held accross the Peninsula.

Where: Acireale – Sicily (See map).


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»» Almond Tree in Flower: a Spring Festival in the Valley of Greek Temples, Sicily

Sicilian folklore, art and history of ancient Greece, all in one festival celebrating the return of Spring, held in one of the major historic sites of Italy, the Valle dei Templi — Valley of the Temples — in Sicily.

The Valley of Temples - Sicily

The festival, “Mandorlo in Fiore” — Almond Tree in Flower — takes place when the flowers of the almond tree announce the return of the Spring in Sicily.
The Greek temples located in the historic site of the Valle dei Templi, in Agrigento, provide the perfect setting for the event. This area of Sicily boasts some of the largest almond groves of the Mediterranean region.

It is a celebration of the colors and flavors of the very early spring season in Sicily.

The festival, which also includes the International Festival of Children in the World,  offers a number of theatre, music and dance performances.
It offers visitors a chance to enjoy some of the best in culture, food and the arts of Sicily.

Where: Agrigento – Valle dei Templi (Sicily)
When: January 30 through February 8 (annually)


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»» Buying Historic Buildings in Sicily for One Euro

A Sicilian hilltop town in the surroundings of Palermo, Salemi, is making the headlines for a very innovative idea about the restoration of its historic buildings. Salemi’s mayor Vittorio Sgarbi is offering old crumbling houses in the town for just one euro (1 €).

Salemi - Sicily
(photo by andsp13CC license)

Prospective buyers will have to restore their buildings without changing their style.
They must complete the work within two years by using local builders, architects, craftsmen, and decorators.
The houses have to be renovated while maintaining their original characteristics.

Mayor Vittorio Sgarbi, art critic well known and former deputy Culture Minister, hopes to attract buyers who have both the aesthetic sensibility and the economic resources to take part in this adventure.

Massimo Moratti, chairman of Inter Milan soccer team, was one of the first buyers.
Former Genesis star Peter Gabriel is among those who have already expressed an interest in this offer.

One of the mayor’s advisers for this project, is Oliviero Toscani, the famous photographer best known for his Benetton adverts.

In the town of Salemi there are 3,700 houses, almost all located in the old town, that are in danger of crumbling.
For more info on the project and contact details visit www.vittoriosgarbi.it (browse the “Contatti” page).

View the town of Salemi on the interactive map.


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filed in: Sicily
 
 

»» Transfers in Sicily: from Catania to Taormina

Advice for transfers from Catania airport to Taormina and Giardini Naxos.
You have the following options:

– Hotels arranging transfers
Most hotels offer transfers from Catania airport for about 60-80 euros per car load.

-Taxi
Taxis are not cheap; you can expect to pay between 80 and 110 euros each way for a transfer from Catania Fontanarossa airport to Taormina

Bus
There is an public coach service from Catania Fontanarossa airport direct to Taormina town operated by ‘Interbus’ coach company.  
This service runs at forty minute intervals. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes from the airport to Taormina. The station is outside the arrivals exit of Catania airport.
This bus also stops at Giardini Naxos which is the beach below Taormina.
Check time-tables on their website www.interbus.it  (click link ‘Ricerca Orari’).

– Train
The train is not very convenient, since the Taormina-Giardini-Naxos station is about 5 km away from the center. From Taormina’s train station, you can take an Interbus up to town. The buses run about every 30 to 90 minutes.


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»» Transfers in Sicily – Driving Tips

As you don’t need a car in the larger cities (i.e. Palermo, Catania), you need of it to visit other sights.
If driving in the large Italian cities frightens you, you could park in parking lots or garages outside the city center and eventually take a taxi or bus.

Ragusa

Even though driving in Sicily is easier than many other tourist areas in Italy (e.g. Amalfi coast, the large cities etc…), off the main roads, when driving for the first time there, it can be a bit frightening for non-Italians. Local residents always drive fast and close.

As some roads are narrow, (especially foreigners feel it so) it would be better renting a small car. It gives you more flexibility, especially for parking.

Browse accommodations in Sicily.


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