Sicilian travel and travel photography
In 2018 we took several interesting sightseeing and photography trips abroad. One of them was a trip to Sicily, where we visited several cities, lots of sights and places of interest, and took a bunch of travel photography of this beautiful Italian island.
Destination of the trip to Sicily
Sicily is the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea and is an autonomous area of Italy. The capital is the famous city of Palermo, located in the northwestern part of the island. This time, we decided to stay in civilization, when we planned to visit and photograph interesting historical sightseeings and taste local food.
First impression of Sicily
After landing at Trapani Airport, close by town of Trapani, we found out that public transport from the airport to the city was not the easiest way to get to the city, and we had to wait for an hour for another bus. Luckily, we took advantage of the possibility of a pickup provided by our host.
The city of Trapani
After a crazy ride with an “Italian racer” in the supposedly the best car in the world, Alfa Romeo, we finally arrived at our accommodation in Trapani. The same evening we went for a walk aross the city, where we immediately absorbed the local atmosphere. Enlightened streets lived by nightlife. The restaurants were playing music, the Italians and the tourists were having fun and the comfort of the local community was to feel miles away.
Trapani, a relatively clean and peaceful city, made us very impressed. The Trapani city center is surrounded by sea, co the harbor is locateced close by the city center. In the center you will find the most interesting architecture and countless restaurants and cafes. Because we wanted to experience a piece of local nature, we decided to visit the nearby village of Erice, which is located close by the city, on a top of the hill cca 750 m.a.s.l.
We went to Erice by walking and honestly I do not know if it was the best idea. Even though we started off early in the morning, we literally fried in the sun. The trail was not the easiest, and although it is one of the most popular tourist destination, the village of Erice is really worth visiting! On the way, we were looking forward to the photo shooting, but eventually the clouds covered the whole hill. The weather has complicated the shooting of the local architecture photography and the surrounding landscape photography.
The city of Palermo
We traveled from Trapani to Palermo by local bus service. Suddenly we got into a completely different world. Peace and quite were replaced by the hustle and bustle. Although you can find more interesting sightseeings in Palermo, and generally more monuments and tourist attractions, the local mood has not made much of us. We were most disappointed with the dirty streets with “flying” garbage almost everywhere.
Still, we tried to be optimistic and we were looking for beautiful locations and experiences. The Palermo tourist center part can be seen in one day, where you can see some of the most interesting architectural gems in Sicily.
The city of Catania
We moved from Palermo to eastern part of Sicily, to the city of Catania, which we used as our starting point for further trips. Catania reminded us the city of Palermo, once again a relatively dirty city, which was adorned the beautiful architecture of the city center. It was interesting to watch the local culture and society. You can find there a mixture of more cultures and honestly, the ignorance of local culture and customs sometimes caused the strange feelings inside of me. In some neighborhoods we did not dare to pull out the camera. In the center of the city you will find splendid buildings, churches, squares and sculptures, so there is really something to look forward to.
For me, as a travel photographer who focuses primarily on landscape photography, it is most interesting to see the majestic Mt.Etna volcano from the outlook in the city center. The view of Mt. Etna was covered by clouds, so only after a few days we can finally see it, and it was unique!
Village of Taormina
The village of Taormina is about 45 minutes away travel from the city of Catania. It is a picturesque tourist village. We were there out of the high season and honestly we can not imagine how this village can absorb a huge number of tourists in the high season. If you prefer to take pictures of architecture and monuments without the presence of people, you can probably forget it here. If you want to at least partially avoid large groups of people, avoid the main street and focus on the local lanes that are definitely worth visiting.
If the weather is good and you do not mind walking up the stairs, I recommend going to the top of the Monte Tauro mountain. There you will see a beautiful view of both the village of Taormina and the surrounding countryside incl. the volcano Etna and the neighboring rocky village of Castelmola. In this place you will definitely take great photos from this popular site.
Taormina attracts tourists to the ancient Greek theater (Teatro Greco) and also to the beautiful Isola Bella peninsula with the city’s beach where you can relax after a day’s walk.
The city of Syracuse (Syracusa)
Syracuse is located about 1 hour by bus from Catania towards the south. Personally, this city was the most enthusiastic of me. A medium sized, beautiful, quiet and clean city that really offers you a lot. For the architecture photography lovers, this is an ideal place! The tourist center is located mainly on the island, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges. This is where the ancient and modern architecture are connected. The entire island seemed to me like a great fortress.
You dive in the local atmosphere only if you are in the local environment and with the locals. That is why I recommend visiting the market where you can taste local specialties such as arancini – fried rice balls with different types of filling, or cannoli – fried dough filled with flavored ricotta cheese.
If you visit this beautiful city, it is definitely worth visiting the local archaeological park (Parco archeologico della Neapolis). It is an archaeological site where you can see the Roman amphitheater, the Greek Theater, caves, the limestone quarries and the necropolis. To take photos of these sights, definitely prepare wide-angle lenses, but those with a long focus may be also useful.
Summary of a photography tour across the Sicily
Sicily is a very interesting location for photography, both architecture and urban life, and I firmly believe that also the landscape photography. Cities are characterized by ancient architecture that are often only found in this location. If the travel photography is close to you and you like exploring new places, then Sicily can be one of the places to go. In high season the sights could be more overcrowded. If you do not have much time to travel and you want to see as much as possible, I recommend visiting city of Syracuse, where you can see a larger number of monuments in one place.
May be useful
Flight to Sicily
There is direct flight from Prague to Trapani provided by Ryanair company, where sometimes cheap tickets are available.
Communication on Sicily
Just few Italians know English. Therefore, it is an advantage to learn at least the basics of Italian.
Local transport on Sicily
Bus ticket from Trapani airport to the city 10 EUR.
Bus tickets in general in the range of 8-20 EUR.
The best season for traveling on Sicily
The ideal time for traveling is autumn or spring (but in the spring the sea is colder). In the main summer season, there are too many tourists.