Although Sicily, Italy & Malta offer a wide range of fascinating archaeological and architectural monuments, they also boast a selection of hotels and conference venues, which are designed to host meetings of various dimensions.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily & Malta offer flight times from major European Gateways generally no longer than three hours.
We would like to introduce Sicily by the words of a great writer, Guy de Maupassant, who didn’t just imagine Sicily but really lived it “… A landscape in which it is possible to find what on earth seems to be made to seduce eyes, mind, imagination…”.
A travel to Sicily is a journey to the roots of the world, a journey to a rich source of nature, history and culture, melted into a small triangle of land in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicily is the world in an island. An ideal journey into space and time, to seek and to find flavours and colours, unique and unforgettable feelings and images. This is an invitation to live Sicily and enjoy everything this island offers.
With about 5.200.000 inhabitants, 25,711 km2 (9,927 sq m), Sicily is the most extensive region in Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean and it is separated from the Italian peninsula by the Strait of Messina.
Sicily has always been a microcosm: a composite world in which people of different races, religions and languages have clashed and met in different periods of its history: the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the Spanish have created in the island a unique and multifaced development and interchange of civilization leaving a rich heritage in terms of culture, architecture, food, way of living.
Geography & Climate
Sicily has a roughly triangular shape, which earned it the name Trinacria, from Greek treis, “three”, and akra, “promontory”. To the east, it is separated from the Italian region of Calabria by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide in the north, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) in the southern part. The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 kilometres (170 mi) long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 kilometres (110 mi); total coast length is estimated at 1,484 km (922 mi). The total area of the island is 25,711 square kilometres (9,927 sq mi), while the Autonomous Region of Sicily (which includes smaller surrounding islands) has an area of 27,708 square kilometres (10,698 sq mi).
Sicily has mountains, hills, rivers and plains which affect a lot the areas and contribute to create hundreds of different micro-climates. Along the northern coast, mountain ranges of Madonie 2,000 m (6,600 ft), Nebrodi 1,800 m (5,900 ft), and Peloritano 1,300 m (4,300 ft).The cone ofMt Etna dominates over the eastern coast. In the south-east lie lower Hyblean Mountains, 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers. On almost any average day, temperatures in Sicily may rise up to 44 °C (111.2 °F). Total precipitation is highly variable, generally increasing with elevation. In general, the southern and southeast coast receives the least rainfall (less than 20 in., or 50 cm), and the northern and northeastern highlands the most (over 40 in., or 100 cm).
Food & Wines
The island has a long history of producing a variety of noted cuisines and wines, to the extent that Sicily is sometimes nicknamed God’s Kitchen because of this.
Sicily has been blessed with a fertile land offering a variety of produce and a surrounding sea teeming with fish.
The centuries of domination by various populations have enriched Sicily with new architecture, landscapes, culture, and customs but most of all with new ingredients and unusual flavours.
Greeks brought olives and refined the local wine making brought initially by Phoenicians.
Romans introduced fava beans, chick peas, lentils and devoted huge portions of land to grain production: at that time Sicily was named the granary of the Roman Empire.
Arabs brought almonds, aniseed, apricots, artichokes, cinnamon, oranges, pistachio, pomegranates, saffron, sesame, spinach, sugarcane, water melon and rice. They introduced many flavours that are now considered typically Sicilian, including the sweet and sour combination of the caponata. They started the pastry-making tradition based on the use of unusual ingredients such as ricotta cheese, almonds, dried fruit and honey. They created ice-creams and the delicious granite made with snow from Etna as well as masterpieces with marzipan and candied fruits.
Sicily also owes the Arabs the most advanced farming and irrigation techniques which gave a strong drive to food production.
During the Normans and Hoenstaufen domination Sicily inherited innovations including the rotating skewer for cooking meat and air salting of fish.
The French domination left the island a legacy of chefs cooking for the aristocracy, locally called the Monsù.
From the New World the Spanish provided tomatoes, chili, sweet peppers, potatoes and maize which gave birth to new recipes and enriched existing ones.
Sicily cuisine is seasonal and definitely km 0.
This is the reason why you eat very well all over Sicily: chefs we collaborate with usually use the produce of their own farms or those of local producers. Most of the times, vegetables and fruit you eat are organic. Local fishermen contribute with the daily catch.
You’ll literally taste Sicily.
Bacchus, god of wine, was magnanimous and generous with Sicily, giving it a fertile land for viticulture and a variety of autochthon red and white grape such as Nero d’Avola, Perricone, Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato, Inzolia, Carricante, Cataratto, Caricante Grillo, Malvasia delle Lipari.
Wine has been made in Sicily for millennia: brought by the Phoenicians, the first trace of vine growing in the island is found in the Greek colony of Naxos, recorded in the 5th century image of an ivy-crowned and bearded Dionysus, the Greek for Bacchus. Around 588 b.C. the Greeks also imported in island of Salina, part the Aeolian archipelago, the Malvasia grape and nowadays the Malvasia delle Lipari is still produced as an excellent dessert wine.
Wine history in Sicily is long and rich and if Sicily were a nation, it would rank on the first ten positions in the world in wine production!
For centuries, only a small percentage of the wine produced was bottled as Sicily wine, the majority shipped for blending with Italian and French wines or sold as “table wine”, the so called vino da tavola for daily consumption, or been distilled for industrial alcohol.
A decisive period in Sicily wine history is 1773 when the English entrepreneur John Woodhouse landed at the port of Marsala and discovered the local wine aged in wooden casks which tasted similar to the Portuguese and Spanish fortified wines very popular in England at that time. He recognized that the in perpetuum process, similar to the solera system used to produce the Sherry in Spain, raised the alcohol level of the local wine thus preserving its characteristics during the long distance sea travel to England. Woodhouse’s genius proved to be successful and in 1796 he began the Marsala wine mass production and commercialization, soon followed by other English entrepreneurs, such as the Inghams and Whitakers, until the arrival of the Italian Vincenzo Florio towards the end of the 19th century. He bought up great portions of land to make his own vintage, purchased Woodhouse’s firm and consolidated the Marsala wine industry.
For most of the 1900, Sicily continued to produce enormous quantities of wine usually destined to be exported and blended to wine made elsewhere in the wine world. Only in the last 30 years enormous changes have affected the island’s wine culture, thanks to a new generation of winemakers who have realized the full potential of the island’s enviable climate and fertile soil lays on its autochthonous grape varieties.
This winning philosophy has been constantly proved by many international prizes won by Sicilian producers, so that we can now proudly confirm some of Italy’s finest wines are now being made in Sicily.