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A Week in Sicily

Everyone knows Sicily because of the mafia, but it’s so much more than that. It is the crossroads of the Mediterranean, closer to Africa than Rome, which made it a hub of trade dating back at least to the Greeks. That means anyone who was anyone in the area has been there, built something, and contributed to the culinary culture. Plus it’s warm most of the year so swimming is encouraged, long strolls in sultry Palermo are de rigeur, and boat rides out to the islands will delight you.
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Via dei Biscottari, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza In the area of the Norman palace, near the market, there are still some little medieval botteghe (shops) below the level of the palace. Via dei Biscottari is where they used to make the pastries and cookies for the...
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Piazza del Parlamento, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza Within the Palace of the Normans, there’s a chapel of the kings. “It’s sumptuous,” Fabrizia says, “all covered with mosaics. It’s like getting inside a golden box of jewelry.” Piazza del...
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Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy
You might recognize Palermo's opera house, the Massimo Theater, from its role in The Godfather: Part III—the movie's final scenes were filmed here. Though it echoes classical style, the building is young compared to Palermo's other architectural...
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98050 Lipari, Province of Messina, Italy

With its small shops and outdoor restaurants, the long Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Lipari Town was made for strolling. The Ottoman admiral Barbarossa wreaked havoc here in 1544; following that, Spanish rulers built the imposing citadel over a Greek...

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Via Pardo, 29, 95131 Catania CT, Italy
Make a meal of fresh sea urchin at Osteria Antica Marina among the bustle of the fishmongers in Catania. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Osteria Antica Marina
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90015 Cefalù, Province of Palermo, Italy
With the abundance of Sicilian produce (think lemons, oranges, eggplant, tomatoes from Mt Etna) - it is no wonder that the early morning markets are overwhelmed with options. Grab your bags and head out early to get the best variety --- and make...
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Vulcano, 98055 Lipari, Province of Messina, Italy
What’s that smell? It’s the entire island of Vulcano, the Aeolian Island most famous for its clumpy, mineral-rich mud baths and healing hot springs. Laghetto di Fanghi is the name of the famed mud bath closest to the dock. A massive pit of greyish...