THE BLOG
03/21/2011 02:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Road Less Traveled: Sicily

Of all the places to visit in world, Sicily is not on the top of anyone's list. The "je ne sais quois" title that Paris claims gives it the title of the most visited city in the world. The United States with its vastness and unique splendors can claim the second most visited country in the world. Why on Earth would anyone want to travel to Sicily? There are an array of reasons and the first starts with history!

If you didn't know, Sicily has been the crossroads of almost every major empire in history. In the middle of crucial transportation and trading routes, this was extremely valuable real estate. While traveling throughout the region you can find the remnants of nearly every culture that was found in that area. As with all of Europe, you can find exceptional cathedrals and architecture, but the untrained eye won't be able to enjoy them. With a little attention to detail you will be able to trace Sicily's history through almost every single one of its cathedrals. Every culture has come in and added a remnant of their history.

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Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki

The Greeks have influenced Sicily's terrain the most; the remnants of their architecture can be found high in the mountain peaks and even in the coastlines. It will surprise you that the best Greek temples in the world can be found in Sicily, not in Greece. The Greek temples throughout the island have become one of the top things to do in Sicily. The hugely popular Greek complex in Agrigento and even the more secluded cities of Segesta and Selinunte are only a short drive away. While most of the temples have been rebuilt, you can still get a great taste of history.

The culture is another reason that people don't travel to Sicily. When tourists think of Italy, they think of the romantic city of Florence and the ever-popular Rome. While I was living in Sicily you could really see the independence in the minds of the people. Sicilians do not consider themselves Italians, they consider themselves Sicilian. There is an ongoing battle between the North and South about who is better and why. From the unique history you are able to get a better picture of how Italians lived years ago. Sicilians are truly Romans, while the northerners have been influenced by Germanic tribes, hence the lighter hair and light eyes.

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Photo by Giampaolo Macorig

One great reason to travel to Sicily is simply because it is cheaper. Compared to the outrageous prices of the rest of Europe, you can find a more reasonable rates on the island of Sicily. Though still more expensive than other places around the world, if you are looking for a bargain in Europe, you can certainly look to Sicily. Compared to the overdeveloped parts of western Europe you can still find miles of barren coastline ready to be discovered.

If you are planning a trip to Europe you should definitely consider Sicily as your next destination. Instead of trying to travel through four or five countries and living at the airport, you can get a taste of history by simply visiting the unique island. Travel in time by climbing on Greek Temples, exploring the baroque cities of Noto, or even discovering Roman Villas and the Arab influence as well.