You can adopt a carefree Sicilian lifestyle with holidays to Palazzolo. It’s all about morning strolls in the Baroque old town, long lunches at trattorias, and afternoons unwinding at Fontane Bianche beach.
Palazzolo sits high up in the Hyblean Mountains. It’s an elegantly attired town that gazes down on the historic city of Syracuse and Sicily’s southern tip. And it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list with neighbours such as Ragusa, thanks to the remarkable Baroque architectural style in which it was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. A low-key chic pervades the town, which is a stone’s throw from the ruins of Akrai and the vine-clad Sicilian countryside.
The old town
Along Palazzolo’s main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, you’ll find pretty houses with wrought-iron balconies, family-run shops with paint-peeling exteriors, and gas lamps placed at even intervals. At Piazza Popolo, the Church of San Sebastiano has a row of steps leading up to its Baroque façade. And if you disappear into the side streets, you’ll discover restaurants serving rustic dishes unlikely to be found in Sicily’s larger towns.
On top of its roll call of Baroque churches, the town packs in plenty of palaces, or palazzi as they’re known. On Via Machiavelli, one such palace has been converted in to the house museum of Antonino Uccello, and celebrates Sicily’s waning peasant cultures. But Palazzolo’s most breathtaking sights are in the archaeological park on a hill above the town. A Greek theatre, catacombs, and 12 curious bas-reliefs are all that remain of 6th-century BC Akrai, but they’re enough to let your imagination fill in the gaps.
Close to Fontane Bianche
A 30-minute drive away is Fontane Bianche, a vibrant resort fronted by a long strip of fine, white sand. The beach is family-friendly, teeing up plenty of bars and restaurants, and the aquamarine water is safe for children. An alternative to the beach is the Cassibile Nature Reserve, where the Cassibile River forms a series of freshwater pools connected by tiny waterfalls. It's a 30-minute walk from the car park, and an hour’s walk back. Hiking shoes are compulsory.
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