Southern Italy and Sicily: The region and places of interest





While Southern Italy had until recently endured a malaise within the winemaking world before its welcome revival, the region has remained a perpetual hotspot for visitors - albeit perhaps less busy than the more saturated north - boasting an array of enviable destinations and places of interest on the tourism trail.

Il Mezzogiorno, literally meaning Midday because of the sun’s position in the Northern Hemisphere, is the traditional term for the southern half of the Italian state and encompasses the southern section, or lower ‘boot’ and ankle, of the Italian Peninsula and is inclusive of the country’s two major islands, Sicily and Sardinia. Along with the aforementioned islands the southern part of Italy includes Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Calabria and Apulia.
 
 
Image by Dennis Jarvis 
 
Home to the stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast and the picturesque seaside town of Positano memorably immortalised in the film The Talented Mr Ripley, the scenic villages that clutch the turquoise coastline are well frequented by tourists looking for an eye-catching escape. John Steinbeck, author of the American classic ‘Of Mice and Men’, recalled his visit to the aforementioned Positano in Harper’s Bazaar in the early 1950s, claiming the town “bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."
 
 
Sorrento, a small town in Campania and easily reached from Naples and Pompeii affords breath-taking viewpoints of the Tyrrhenian Sea and is famed for its Limoncello, an Italian lemon liquor common throughout Southern Italy. Like Positano, Sorrento is popular with tourists with its views across the Bay of Naples one of the many aesthetic pleasures on offer.

Pompeii, close to Naples, which is of course the birthplace of pizza, is the partially buried Roman town-city in the Italian region of Campania and it remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country. Partially destroyed and buried by the ash of Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in AD79, it has been beautifully restored and gives a unique insight into the life of an ancient Roman city.

The aforementioned Naples is the region’s largest city, and as previously discussed it is the birthplace of pizza and famed for its exquisite seafood.
 
 
Image by christine592 
 
The city’s iconic National Archaeological Museum, Duomo and harbour are just a handful of the city’s notable places of interest.

The trulli of Puglia, one of Italy’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites is worth frequenting and is on route towards the Baroque city of Lecce as well the seaside town of Gallipoli.

The Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily, is a hugely popular tourist destination in its own right, boasting a rich and varied history as well as an enviable track record for producing superb wines.
 
With centuries of rich tradition coupled with diverse landscapes and areas of note such as beaches, mountains, Mount Etna and Roman and Greek ruins displaying the island’s mottled historical lineage, Sicily is a hotbed of culture and beauty perched where Africa, Italy and Greece all meet.
 
The island’s capital Palermo is a hotbed for culture, architecture and gastronomy and its Opera House, Teatro Massimo, is one of the country's finest and featured prominently in the final scene of The Godfather Part 3. The Palazzo dei Normanni is a beautiful Italian palace and a superb example of Norman architecture and the Vucciria Market is as vibrant an Italian market as you could wish to see. 

Agrigento is home to the Temple of Concordia amongst a plethora of Ancient Greek Temples perched beautifully on the southern coast of Sicily and the famous Valle dei Templi ("Valley of the Temples") remains one of the highlights of a visit to the island. Cefalu is a typically attractive seaside town just east of Palermo, while the fortress town of Enna offers delightful views of the evidently popular Mount Etna.
 
 
While too vast to mention every individual area and sight of note, Southern Italy and Sicily is a beautiful area of the country offering visitors a varied wealth of beautiful opportunity. Whether it be enjoying a secluded holiday on the beach in the region’s frequent seaside resorts or visiting some of the more historical highlights, there is something for all. 
 
To view our wines from Italy click here.  
 
 
Image by gnuckx 
 
Main image by Dennis Jarvis
 

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