Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily lie in the Mediterranean Sea off the west coast of Italy as stepping stones between Europe and Africa. Belonging to Italy and France, they are similar in character yet each has a distinct flavour of its own.
Sicily is a spectacular land of golden wheat, rocky coats and rugged mountains and fiercely independent people. It’s beautiful shores have found inspiration for poets and authors throughout the ages. It’s an island full of beauty, charm and medieval splendour. Like the land’s most famous landmark, Mount Etna, the people and places borders on the explosive. It’s a loyal Catholic land where you will always see the spires and hear the ring of church bells and the church and the mafia control the land, but Mafia shootings are rare and very unlikely to affect tourists in any way. It is a patch work of all western cultures, and a great historic places to learn about the Greeks, Romans, Normans, Bysantine and Gothic, medieval and baroque architecture.
The unit of currency on all three islands is the Euro.
$1 US – 1.15 Euros
£1 UK – 1.6 Euros
Shoestring travellers can get by on the islands for about $40 US a day, though food and drink may be more than expected and can fall close to mainland price during high season. Self-catering and travelling during the quiet season will be kinder on your purse strings. The interior of the island is less expensive than the coast. If you have the money, splash out on around $70 a day for a more luxurious trip.
In Sicily, most of the people cluster around the coastline and inland is virtually un-populated. The typical rural work of the people are become increasingly urbanised as people move from the hills and highlands to the islands cities in search of work. The official language is Italian and most are of Roman Catholic religious roots.
Sicilian food is thought to be the greatest in the Mediterranean. Seafood and fresh vegetables are the stables, with influences as far and wide as Greece, the Romans and exotic spices from the East. Sicilian food is extremely healthy. Tuna, swordfish, anchovies, sardines, and plentiful shellfish are the most-often seen catches prepared simply with strong flavours like olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes. Fresh sardines with pasta is a delicious treat hard to rival.
Italian is the main language spoken in Siciliy, with several regional dialects.
English may be spoken in tourist resorts on all islands, but if you’re heading for secluded inland regions, make sure you can speak at least a little Italian or French.
The islands have the most visitors in the summer during July and August, though the crowds and the sweltering heat may be avoided in May and June. Temperatures average between 14 c (50 f) from January-March, to 27 c (80 f) July through September. Be warned that in early spring, late autumn and winter many places on the island focused around tourism will shut down.
Shorts, sandals and beachwear are fine for the humid months, and a light jacket for winter. Take suitably modest clothing if you intend to visit some of the many Catholic churches.
EU nationals have no entry requirements. Citizens of Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Israel can stay without a visa for 3 months – most others need a Schengen visa. Check with your local embassy or travel agent for entry requirements.
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