ast mid-January, the idea of ending winter starts to sound like something possible, and the beginning of the Italian spring, especially in the southern part of the peninsula, shows its first signs. It's time to start planning a little getaway, and Sicily is the perfect destination for a little tour this season, especially if you're planning to visit its amazing archaeological sites avoiding hordes of tourists and avoiding the scorching heat of summer. Plus, the first blooming flowers of the season growing among the temple ruins make for a stunning view.
Following are four places that you should not forget to include in your Sicilian itinerary: all of them are included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and each one tells a different story about the island. Ready to depart?
In 1693 a great earthquake razed the Sicilian town of Noto, on the eastern side of the island, almost to the ground, forcing its inhabitants and institutions to rebuild it: this is the origin of the jewel city of Sicilian Baroque
, where noble palaces and religious buildings in matching color sit side by side, so that the city earned the name of "stone garden". The use of Syracuse stone, a soft limestone whose color varies between white and gray, allowed for daring decorations and gave the city a soft and iridescent tone in the sun
. Yet Noto is not only a Baroque gem: ancient Noto is full of treasures, like the ancient Roman villa of Tellaro with its intact mosaics.
Siracusa and Ortigia
The same mix of eras is found in the near and much larger Siracusa, the ancient gem of Magna Graecia
. Syracuse was the hometown of the famous mathematician Archimedes, and precisely to that period belongs its beautiful amphitheater
with its excellent acoustics, which houses a prestigious cycle of classical performances every summer between May and June. The heart of the city is, however, on the sea, and in particular on the island of Ortigia
, whose particularity lies in having natural springs of fresh water on its territory, such as Fonte Aretusa or Fontana degli Schiavi, which made it an ideal place for a settlement. Do not miss the Castle of Maniace
, one of the symbols of the city, the Temple of Apollo, and the Baroque and Rococo Cathedral built on the ancient temple of Athena.