Sunday 28 May 2017

Sicily: Need to know

Thomas Breathnach

Thomas Breathnach

GETTING THERE

Thomas went to Sicily with Topflight (01-240 1700; topflight.ie). A seven-night B&B package with the operator starts from ¤699.

Aerlingus (0818 365 000; aerlingus.com) flies from Dublin to Catania between May and October from ¤98 one way.

STAYING THERE

Dropping anchor at the four-star Hellenia Yachting Club for a week costs ¤999pps B&B with Topflight.

Keep your eye out for the weekly Sicilian folklore dinner evenings (0039 09425 17370; hellenia yachtinghotel.com).

There's not much room for hotels on Castelmola, but Villa Sonia with stunning Etna views is well worth the climb: ¤90pps B&B (0039 094 228 082; hotelvillasonia.com).

A Sicilian fairytale setting overlooking the Ionian coast, the dapper Villa Diodoro is tucked into the prime real estate of Taormino's old town. ¤112pps B&B (0039 094 223 391; hotelvilladio doro.com).

FIVE GREAT THINGS TO DO

•Channel your inner gangster by taking a 'Godfather' tour of Sicily. Visit the villages and bars from the trilogy. Why not pick up a bottle of Il Principe di Corleone vino while you're at it? (¤40; taormina.it).

•Take in some Sicilian life in Catania. A true volcanic city under a constant powdering of black ash, hit Via Etnea for swanky stores or check out the lively markets off Piazza Duomo (comune.catania.it).

•Visit a vineyard on the foothills of Mount Etna. The native davolo nero grape is divine and Mugo winery in Santa Venerina is as good as it gets (tastings ¤11; murgo.it).

•Sicilian cuisine is a dream, particularly for vegetarians and seafood lovers. Look out for the Addio Pizzo sign in restaurants: it means they say no to corruption (addiopizzo.org).

•Explore the Alcantara gorges near Taormina. Another feat of mamma natura, the canyon is also located next to a farmers' market (have a cactus liquor for the road).

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