Monday, March 11, 2013

Vacation Rentals Let You Fully Enjoy Sicily's Beauty, Warmth & History

Get ready to relax, a lot, in Sicily.

You go to Sicily to relax and bask in the warm Mediterranean sun, under a sky clear of any smog or haze, surrounded by bucolic pastures, clean beaches, stunningly blue water, and charming locals. You go to enjoy unrushed meals of some of the most delicious and healthy food you'll ever eat. The wine flows, and if you should wake up and decided to do something touristy that day, there's plenty of places where you can while away the day until it's time to relax again in your Sicilian vacation rental.

Does all that sound like a great vacation? Of course it does. Sicily has a mild climate all year round. Even during the summer, when temperatures do get hot, sea breezes along the coast cool you down. Spring and autumn are the best, and most popular, times to go. The flowers start blooming in late February and early March, and you can sunbath into November some years.

There are plenty of vacation villas in Sicily to choose from at Perfect Places, and we’re excited to announce the addition of 21 new rentals from Giovanni Villone. They’re located in a variety of desirable areas and feature great amenities and views. You’ll have pools, hot tubs, locations right on the beach, tennis courts and much, much more. These vacation rental villas are the ideal place to spend a week or two as you explore Sicily.

Archeological Sites
Mamma Sicily villas are near ancient sites.
In ancient times, Italy was a prosperous Greek colony and an important part of the Roman Empire. Doric temples and theatres dot the island. They're isolation from Greece and the rest of Europe means that they're some of the best surviving examples of ancient architecture anywhere in the world. You'll find three major Doric temples in Agrigento. The Temple of Concord was used as a church starting in the sixth century AD, which helped keep in in better shape that most ancient ruins. While in Agrigento, don't miss the Valley of the Temples. It includes a beautiful, green archeological park. In Segesta, spend a day at the Doric Temple and Theatre of Segesta--one of the world's most impressive archeological sites. Syracuse has several sites--The Fountain of Arethusa, the Greek Theatre, the Temple of Athena.

Choose from villas near Mt. Etna (but not too near!)
Mt. Etna isn't exactly an ancient site, even though it is ancient. It's the highest volcano in Europe, and it's active. Located on the east side of the island, its last eruptions were as recent as October 2012, when it spewed ash and lava could be seen flowing down the mountain. Etna hasn't seen what could be considered a catastrophic eruption since 1669, though many since then have caused some property damage.

This beach is just outside your door in one of our
new Mamma Sicily villas!

Sicily is known for beautiful beaches. Since it's the Mediterranean's largest island, you should find enough sand to make you happy. Scoglitti is near Agrigento and easy to get to from Catania. Scoglitti has a number of beaches to choose from, and advantage should one be too crowded (or not crowded enough). Balestrate is near Palermo. Its beaches are backed by a forest and can get crowded. If this happens and you want some privacy, try the nearby Castellamare del Golfo, a romantic seaside town, reminiscent of old Sicily.

Authentic Sicilian fresh fish market near your
vacation villa.
Sicilian cooking is perhaps the most unique in Europe, combining Arab and European ingredients and techniques--think of it as time-tested fusion cuisine. You'll find an abundance of cafes and restaurants to satisfy any craving. Since you'll be staying in a Sicilian vacation rental villa, try your hand at Sicilian recipes. Start with the freshest fish you can find that day, pair it with your favorite wine, gather fresh herbs and vegetables from the market or, if you're lucky, from your villa's garden, and have fun experimenting and making delicious new memories. When you go shopping, be sure to get some of the basics: olives, eggplant, hot peppers, capers, anchovies, mint, wild fennel, saffron, bottargo, parsley, pasta, basil, cheeses, garlic, olive oil, and ingredients for a red sauce and a white sauce. You might even want to try your hand at famous Sicilian sweet cakes and cookies.

Plan on staying a while once you get to Sicily. Settle into your villa, stock it with wine and food. Find the best beaches and ancient sites you'd like to see, but leave time for just wandering and absorbing the culture and beauty of Sicily.

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