The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has a lively and almost tangible, colourful background. It was fought over for centuries by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese and Bourbons, all of whom left their imprint. For example, the sculpted elephant that was given to the city of Catania by its Indian trading partners during the Roman era and which remains in situ today.
Visit, and you will be embraced by crumbling baroque facades adorning earlier Catalan/Gothic buildings, Greek temples, cathedrals and almost living, breathing examples of the area’s simultaneously glorious, dramatic and powerful past.
“all at once beautiful and sinister as the realm of the god Vulcan (God of Fire) and home of the cyclops”
Perhaps one could say it is embodied in Mount Etna itself, Europe’s most active volcano on the island’s east coast, all at once beautiful and sinister as the realm of the god Vulcan (God of Fire) and home of the cyclops.
As Virgil described it in the Georgics, written in 29 BC: “Yea, how often have we seen/Etna, her furnace-walls asunder riven,/In billowy floods boil o’er the Cyclops’ fields,/And roll down globes of fire and molten rocks!”
Of course, it isn’t merely its cultural etymology that makes Sicily such a source of inspiration. When it comes to landscape, black lava is ubiquitous in Sicily, woven into the fabric of the buildings, the beaches and the soil; an omnipresent reminder of Mount Etna.
Meanwhile, its proximity to Africa makes the climate almost tropical, and as a result the likes of blood oranges, cactus and eucalyptus grow, as well as lemons and grapefruit. As a result it has been the source of inspiration for product lines including the seductively luxurious Ortigia, whose brand is an homage to all aspects of the country.
When visiting why not book an off road trip to Mount Etna and the Nebrodi Nature Reserve?
In the hills of Giardini Naxos overlooking the sea, Diamond Hotels & Resorts Naxos-Taormina brings contemporary luxury to this historic island. A resort designed for outdoor living and relaxation, it has modern charm but with a strong Sicilian flourish.
It has a wealth of facilities including an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and both indoor and outdoor pools equipped with a Jacuzzi area. There are indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, deckchairs and sun beds, a gym, and then there’s the Trilogy Spa with its Finnish sauna, Turkish hammam and solar shower, as well as an array of personalised face and body treatments.