Published On October 4, 2015 | By Florentina Ilie | Holiday

Italy is an open-air museum. I first fell in love with the Italian television then with their language that I learned automatically from many cartoons, movies, tv shows and in the end I discovered the italian culture and destinations. Years passed by and the time has come to take a holiday in the country that I was dreaming of, so I started with Sicily. Why I chose the largest island in the Mediterranean ? Not for the beaches , water and beautiful landscapes, but because I wanted to see the mummies of the Capuchin monks hanging on the most amazing gallery in the world. I know it sounds morbid, but the purpose was purely cultural and I’ll tell you about it later.

My holiday started in Catania’s airport, where we went to get our rented car from Avis. Then we hit the road to San Vito Lo Capo.  We drive, and drive … and drive. I thought we reached the end of the Earth and  after 5 hours we arrived in San Vito Lo Capo, in the North of Sicily. It’s a town made of old buildings and little colored terraces, restaurants and bars. It’s ideal for those who want tranquility. We found a yellow sandy beach, clear water and picturesque views on San Vito Lo Capo.  Also this was the place where we’ve seen a beautiful sunset.

After San Vito Lo Capo we went to Palermo. For 400 euro we booked an apartment in President Hotel, a 4 stars building in the city’s harbour. The apartment had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it was clean, nicely decorated and the breakfast here was really tasty. A big advantage of this place is the location: 5 minutes walk to the city center and to the most important souvenir shops. In front of the hotel is the harbour and in the back … well this is another story. This back area is full of old buildings that seems to be abandoned even if they are full of people and here is also a private parking where we left the car for 13 euro per day.

Palermo is a city with a beautiful architecture, full of chic buildings and is also the house the Capuchin’s Catacombs. It’s a gallery full of mummies that are hanging on the walls just like paintings. They are monks, virgins, children, nobles and other important personalities of Palermo who died and they were embalmed in a special way that allow them to exist till today and much longer. Now they are waiting for the tourists to visit them and clearly they have no lack of patience since the first mummy was embalmed in 1599.  His name was Silvestro of Gubbio and he was a monk. Last embalming was made in 1920. The girl who died was called Rosalia, had two years old and now sleeps in a glass coffin in the last area of the gallery. Her image is shocking to see because the mummy gives you the impression that is sleeping. Her skin, hair, eyelashes, nails … all look like she’s alive but she’s very sick. 

Near Palermo we found Mondello beach . Is located 15 kilometers away from the harbour and is made of white sand and clear water. The beach is narrow but long and is divided in two. The first part is the private beach filled with sun loungers and umbrellas. The second part is the public. 

Two things I have to tell you about Palermo. 1) Most of the northern sicilians speak Italian,  Italian and … You guessed it ! Italian . Very few understand you if you address them in English . 2) In Palermo all restaurants are closed until 19.00. Therefore if you want to eat during the day look for hypermarkets or fast foods. 

Near Palermo is Monreale. It is a cozy and clean town in the mountain area with narrow and beautiful streets. The main attraction is the Monreale’s Cathedral, one of the largest and finest cathedrals in the world .

After four days in Palermo we went to Taormina in the South of Sicily. We stayed in Villa Linda Hotel in Giardini Naxos. It’s a small hotel, beautiful, clean with romantic rooms. We had a balcony and a bathroom with a view of Etna’s volcano. Next to the hotel is a volcanic sand beach and a alos in Giardini Naxos is the most beautiful harbor. On one side it has fine sand, calm water and boats of all sizes. On the other side has black volcanic rocks and big waves. 

Near Giardini Naxos is Taormina, a town that combines mediterranean architecture with ancient monuments and medieval buildings.  The Greek Theatre is a true work of art dating from the third century (not only because it’s well maintained that sends you on a journey in time, but also because it offers a spectacular image of the volcano and the Ionian Sea). Taormina is made of narrow streets filled with souvenir shops, candy and craft items, terraces, romantic restaurants. 


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