Spending Christmas in Sicily

It’s truly amazing how fast the days are going by! In just a couple of days, it will be Christmas once again. Most homes are now decked with holiday decors. Soon, everybody will be joining the last-minute shopping. Children are so excited to hang their stockings or to hopefully have a glimpse of Santa Claus. Some are busy preparing for their holiday travels, while others are still struggling with these holiday plans. If you are one of those who are still looking for options of where to spend their Christmas break, why not consider the beautiful island of Sicily? It’s a great place to spend the holidays, a place where the warm Mediterranean spirit of the Nativity is celebrated with authenticity and great joy.

Christmas ball in the colors of the flag of Italy with glittering stars
Despite the many feasts throughout the year, Christmas is still one of the most celebrated seasons in the Sicilian calendar. From December 8, during the Immaculate Conception, homes get all dressed up in holiday décor and the season officially starts. Celebrations include Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve until the Epiphany. In Western countries, children receive gifts and candy-filled stockings on Christmas Day, but in Sicily, as in the rest of the country, this is done on the Epiphany. Essentially, all the towns celebrate in the Christian way. Every town, however, has its own tweaked traditions, which makes spending Christmas there even more unique.

Regarding accommodations, you can always find a lot of hotels, B&Bs as well as hostels. If, on the other hand, you wish to experience a more special setting for spending the season, it would be a good idea to look into companies that rent holiday homes or villas in Sicily, such as for example Wishsicily.com. These villas are well-outfitted with enough luxury and comfort to make your Christmas vacation truly relaxing. Some are located in the mountains, by the sea or in the city. You can choose your preferred setting depending on your personal preferences.

Everywhere you go though, during time particular time period, expect to find local interpretations of the Nativity. Some places re-enact the event to give a more vivid picture of how it all happened. Palermo is one of the cities that make one of the best in the country, rivalled only by Napoli. You can actually visit any town’s churches to find a nativity scene within.

When in Sicily, make sure you try some of the season’s local cuisine, such as the buccellato for example – a big, round cookie filled with pistachios, figs, almonds and other dried fruits. Don’t miss out on zabaglione either, which is made from the excellent Marsala wine. Of course, expect also to find torrone everywhere! This is not really a Christmas candy, but is most often found during these cooler months (in order to prevent it from melting).

You will be able to see most of the archaeological sites, as they are usually open the whole year. When it comes to exploring Sicily’s sights, going at this time of the year could turn out significantly better than doing it over hot, humid summers. Go to Taormina, Agrigento, Segesta and Selinunte for some of the most spectacular ancient archaeological sites. The only real downside of going at this time of the year is that it would be too cold for swimming and going to the beach.

You can visit Mount Etna for some snow time – skiing and tobogganing are some of the more popular activities, along with very interesting hiking routes.  Or, you can go to Ragusa for a tour of Baroque buildings. The same thing can be done in Modica, except that you get to be in the chocolate capital of the region! Taste all the different flavours of chocolate you can find! Perhaps, you can hop from one piazza to the other, stroll down cobbled-stones, wander in museums or just warm yourselves up in a bar or restaurant while you indulge in some Sicilian delicacy and watch the world go by.

“Posted in collaboration with M D”

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