Spending a holiday in Sicily is more than just experiencing sea-tourism and relaxing in the many shores or at the beaches of its smaller surrounding islands. The region, in fact, is full of fascinating archaeological sites and Sicily events village festivals.
In addition to well-known tourist sites such as the cities of Taormina, Erice, Cefalù, San Vito Lo Capo, Monreale, Palermo, Noto or Siracusa, all of this region is rich in art, culture and traditions. Throughout the year, it also holds events and festivals concerning local products, or religious festivals, fairs and popular markets that make this region a must-see place even just for a short weekend trip.
Many people use to think that Sicily is a pace to go only during summer/spring time when “you can go to the beach“, they say… basically, until late november it is possible to go around by just wearing a cotton sweater and a spring jacket, and during the coldest months there are plenty of places to visit and discover because of the many Sicily events village festivals that are organized Sicily.
Events for your holidays in Sicily
Let’s imagine for a moment a Christmas in Sicily: of course, to find some snow on the island you will need to move to the Etna volcano… but what about the living nativity, which every year attract thousands of tourists from all over the world? Maybe the view will not represent the usual Christmas classic iconography, with its houses covered in snow, easy-going Santas, sleighs and reindeer; but it is in the heart of the mediterranean scents and colors of Christmas that you will not regret anything, the atmosphere of Sicily and its secular traditions will add magic to the magic. So, eventually, you will agree that the only real Christmas is the one we celebrate here!
The only “problem” is to choose where to go: the winter holidays favor the flourishing of so many Sicily events village festivals that will make you to travel for the whole length and breadth of the island without stopping for a moment. Here it is, one of the most beautiful gifts you can offer yourselves for these holidays and beyond : a journey through Sicily events village festivals!
Catania Saint Agatha
The strong religiousness diffused in Sicily made festivities turn into events of a great charm, and it attracts thousands of visitors coming to admire the beauty of festivals going on alike for centuries. The most famous religious event is probably the evocative feast of St. Agata, which takes place on February from 3rd to 6th. All of the main streets of the historical center are provided with special lighting in a way that the entire city in enveloped in a fascinating aura. The very best of this you can find it at the upper side of Via di Sangiuliano where it is set a huge panel wide as the street itself, depicting a scene from the life of St. Agata.
The famous Carnival of Acireale takes place on early February and it is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Italy. According to historical sources, the first edition dates back to year 1594 when inhabitants of the city were given the opportunity to celebrate carnival festivities in the square. Since then, the making of what is today considered the real symbol: the famous parade of allegorical wagons, that in Acireale are mostly of two kinds: allegorical or flowered. The first ones, made with papier-mâché, are the only in the world using plants of light and mechanical pumps, while the latter are entirely made with floral arrangements.
Taormina Art Film Festival
Throughout the whole summer season the most important event is doubtless the “Taormina Art” , taking place in one of the greatest treasures come down to us from the Greek architecture. The Taormina Art is divided into three sections: Cinema, Theatre, Music and Dance, offering unreleased performances in world premiere. Within this event it has gained great relevance the “Taormina Film Fest”, today‘s main italian-summer film event. Even here, in the evocative setting of the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, movies from all over the planet are proposed in world premiere, as well as meetings or discussions about history of cinema are organized.
San Vito Lo Capo Cous Cous Fest
In September star of the show is the “cous cous”, a very poor man's dish but bringing together, in this small town in the north-west of Sicily, chefs from around the world in the name of integration and exchange. Ten days to live joining exciting culinary competitions, cous cous tastings, cooking shows of “starred” chefs, cooking classes for adults and children, concerts by italian and international artists and talk shows. All of this happens in the beautiful setting of a town that is the perfect location for those in the need to extend their relax during summer holidays, because of the warm climate, the crystal clear sea and the beauty of beaches getting awarded each year.
Sicily Open Cellars
Cantine Aperte (open wineries) is the most important tourist wine event in Italy. Since 1993, on the last sunday of May, wineries of the Wine Tourism Movement open to the public, encouraging a straight contact with the wine lovers. Cantine Aperte has over time become a philosophy, a style for travelling and discovering the italian wine regions, so now it is a must-see for more and more tourists and wine lovers willing to take part into an unusual experience. Besides the possibility to taste wines and buy them straight from farms, you can enter the wineries to discover the secrets of winemaking and refining. Main characters of Cantine Aperte are the young people, in groups or just couples, who contribute to animate the countless gastronomic and artistic initiatives flourishing all over the country, promoted by the tenants themselves.
Mazara Del Vallo Blue Sea Land
In the city of Mazara Del Vallo, on early October, it takes place the “Blue Sea Land” event: an international expo of agricultural-food districts in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, sponsored by local fisheries and the Blue Growth District in partnership with the Region of Sicily. Always focusing on dialogue and integration, main purpose is enhancing resources of the agro-fish-food chains of territories involved and promoting the typical gastronomic excellences. With about 60 foreign delegations showing up, hundreds of expected business meetings promoted along with workshops, cooking-show, tastings, conferences, cultural debates, the most religious moment is definitely the Rotary invocation for peace among the people. Eventually, this event aims to engage visitors in a unique experience dedicated to the different Mediterranean cultures and flavours.
Custonaci Nativity Scene
The Living Nativity scene of Custonaci is considered today the major event promoting sicilian trades and traditions.
This considered, back to year 2006 it was inscribed in the Register of Intangible Heritage. The show runs in Borgo Scurati, a little town featuring scattered houses as if it was a crib, in the shelter of natural caves tha open on high cliffs.
In such a magical setting, every year since 3 decades, a whole community made by the last sicilian craftsmen comes to create a unique and unrepeatable show: for a 6-days lasting period visitors and spectators can walk through locations which closely re-create about 70 among assets and scenes of life, and look at approximately 80 characters reproducing well the execution of ancient crafts, increasingly rare scenes and places.
Agrigento Flowering Almond Tree
Almond Blossom Festival is a popular celebration going on in the city of Agrigento which, according to tradition, is repeated every year at the beginning of February and it lasts a week. Main aim is to celebrate the advance of spring season, with blossoming of the almond trees, and to rejoice for Natural life returning. Several folk groups arrive in Agrigento from all over the world to take part in it. In fact, over the years, the festival has increased its cultural significance sending messages of peace to all populations. The most important event of the festival occurs during the closing, when the folk groups use to parade using the so-called "sicilian carts", and together with musical bands moving from the town to the Valley of Temples. The event ends up with the assignment of the coveted award: the Golden Temple.
The Targa Florio is one of the European most famous car racing and, from 20th till 23rd of April 2017, it will take place the 101st edition of what is considered the world's oldest race. This race was conceived in Paris by Vincenzo Florio also known as "u Cavaleruzzu", belonging to a very rich family of Palermo, who traced at first the track on a piece of paper, discussing about it with his friend Henri Desgrange, director of the famous French magazine "L'Auto”.
In 2017, the "cursa" will enter its second-century edition with an event that will include four unique moments: the Targa Florio Rally, the Targa Florio Historic Rally, the Classic Targa Florio and the Ferrari Tribute. The upcoming edition of the Classic Targa Florio will be part of the newly born Italian Grand Prix of ACI Sport.
The departure, as the arrival, will be set in Palermo and the route will reach the beautiful places of Taormina, Cefalù, Monreale, Castellammare del Golfo and the archaeological area of Segesta, moreover we will not be missing the traditional trial inside the historic Circuit of the Madonie Mountains.
The race, right from the start, came into the collective imagination for the hardness of its track to the point that, especially in the early years, ending the race could be considered as the result of an heroic act. It is a must-see date: its unique charm, the insidious streets of the Madonie Mountains, the cheering and the folk’s hugs are indispensable elements for both the car factories and for the riders.
Santa Rosalia Feast
The Santa Rosalia feast, now at its 393rd edition, is a historic parade dedicated to the Patroness of the City of Palermo. Between 14th and 15th July, thousands of Palermitans accompany the procession of the Chariot of the so called “Santuzza”, from the Cathedral to the Foro Italico.
During the celebrations, typical dishes of the popular Palermitan tradition are consumed: boiled snails, “sfincione”, boiled octopus, “calia” and “semenza”, boiled cobs and watermelon. Rosalia Sinibaldi (1130-1156), according to tradition, appeared in a dream to a hunter pointing to where he could find his remains which, once led to procession in the city, they would eventually stop the epidemic plague that was decimating the population.
The cult begins on July 10th and lasts for five days; The first three days of the party are preparatories for the grand procession of the 14th, just a day before the triumphal carriage parade ending by the sea promenade. The celebration ends on the day 15th with the solemn procession of the relics of the “Santuzza”, contained within a silvery ossuary, going on the main street of the historical centre and followed by a huge crowd of people.
Traditional performances, local folk music, tales about the “Santuzza” and the spectacular pyrotechnic fireworks are the strengths of this unique event. The neighborhoods become stages for the festival, in particular the ones called Kalsa, Monte Pellegrino and Monte di Pietà. Do not miss the opportunity to join this event, make plans for your holiday in Sicily.