Winter Honeymoon Guide for Sicily, Italy
It is Honeymoon Thursday again! This time we're whisked away to beautiful Sicily, Italy... this time at the end of the year during the Holidays. We loved this guide from photographers Evonne & Darren Photography because the Holidays are actually quite the perfect time to beat the tourism crowd, beat the heat, and have such a cozy, romantic getaway! Evonne and Darren actually went with their family, but their guide is totally comprehensive for the newlywed couple wanting an Italian getaway....
From Evonne & Darren Photography: "They say, every day in Sicily is like Christmas Day, and to actually travel during this time, we can confirm that is true, but also requires advance planning because many of the restaurants close for the holidays and hotels sold out. Our itinerary was ambitious and we spent a lot of time driving all across Sicily, seeing a total of 8 cities in 7 days. Still, we were fascinated by the vast history and beauty of Sicily, providing plenty of inspiration for us to capture these travel photographs. In hindsight, we would have enjoyed a more more leisurely pace in just Agrigento and Taormina, but now we have a reason to return to Sicily. We definitely appreciated the Sicilian genteel lifestyle, valuing family and festivity over work."
- Grand Hotel Et des Palmes in Palermo: A historic, boutique grand hotel, that transports you back to a more elegant time, where the restaurant servers still wear white jackets and gloves. It is also rumored, but never confirmed, that this hotel was where high level meetings between Sicilian and American mafiosi took place in the 1950s - queue The Godfather movie soundtrack!
- Hotel Villa Athena in Agrigento: This was an absolutely beautiful boutique hotel with only 27 rooms, all with stunning views of the Valle dei Templi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 17th century villa is located within the archaeological park, it is recently restored and renovated with landscaped gardens, but with modern amenities and designer furnishings in a relaxed, resort-like setting. We only stayed here for one night but wished we had a few more days because the property was amazing and would have loved to try their spa!
- San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina: This was a 15th century former Dominican monastary, turned into a charming 105-room boutique hotel with a tranquil atmosphere, complete with lush formal gardens and Michelin starred restaurant
Here are some highlights of our favorite places to eat - all these restaurants were family friendly and could accommodate our large party of 7 people.
- Lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria al 59: Has a large covered garden area to eat, complete with a fountain stocked with lovely turtles, felt like a welcome escape, away from the tourists across the street at The Teatro Massimo opera house
- Dinner at Carlo V: Friendly, stylish atmosphere at Piazza Bologni - we enjoyed the seafood here, especially the grilled calamari
- Dinner at Osteria Baralo: Located within the former horse stables of Palazzo Cattolica, resembles a marketplace, located in what was once the Jewish quarter, this restaurant offers an innovative culinary spin on traditional street food and features local niche foods, cheese and wine
- Lunch at La Prima Dea: Located within the medieval, mountain top fortress city of Erice, this cozy restaurant was built into an ancient structure and provides excellent food like momma would make, with local favorites like pasta with sardines and pesto trapanese
- Dinner at La Terrazza degli Dei at Hotel Villa Athena: This restaurant serves authentic Sicilian cuisine and both the food and service were excellent. The presentation of each dish was beautiful and was very tasty.
- Lunch at Trattoria La Ruota (The Wheel): Located near the archaeological site of Villa Romana del Cassale, this rustic restaurant offers real home-style cuisine - we felt like we were having a traditional family meal at a old Sicilian stone, countryside house.
- Dinner at The Principe Cerami (San Domenico Palace Hotel): A 2-star Michelin rated fine dining restaurant, where tableside service is still de rigueur - although it is a bit old fashioned, and jackets are recommended for men, it's still a wonderful experience,
- Dinner at Ristorante La Piazetta: A casual but traditional restaurant in Taormina, we enjoyed the family friendly atmosphere and felt like we were eating among locals, which is not always easy to find at a popular tourist destination.