Traditions, customs, and rituals, more than 1,000 years old, join together in eastern Sicily with the modernity to offer spectacles that must not be missed to make your holiday satisfying from every porint of view.
Discover the most fascinating part of the island and book your villa immediately.
Just like other areas of Sicily, the eastern side is rich in interesting ancient traditions, carefully preserved by its inhabitants and particularly appreciated in the whole nation and beyond. Traditional cuisine, religious celebrations, arts and crafts, local products, routines… Every bit of the daily life grounds its roots into the thousand-year-old history of Sicily and its multi-cultural character: the area was dominated by lots of different empires, from the Greeks to the Germans, and they all graced the land with an invaluable legacy, from cooking traditions to behaviours.
Being a very devoted island, Sicily is rich in sumptuous and heartfelt religious celebrations; Catania, however, houses every year the most important one – it is actually the third most important Christian event worldwide. Therefore, if you happen to visit our eastern Sicily villas during early February, make sure you don’t miss the extraordinary Festival of Saint Agatha, dedicated to the patron saint of the “Black city”.
From February 3rd to February 5th, the whole city stops to celebrate the Saint: it’s a huge event, a mix of devotion, tradition and folklore that gathers thousands and thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. The shirne that contains the remains of the Saint is taken out of the Cathedral, put on a majestic baroque “cart” together with a statue of the Saint and big heavy candles, and taken into procession throughout the whole city from dawn until late night. Carriers wear white gowns and, as they carry the cart (which can be as heavy as 30000 kg!), keep singing hosannas and prayers. It’s a sensational and moving spectacle: the sumptuous cart winds through the overcrowded streets of the city, and once the shirne is taken back to the Cathedral it is greeted by an extraordinary firework show.
The celebration is really heartfelt and moving, and (just like every other religious event in Sicily) plenty of picturesque traditions come along with it – from an eight-day fair to typical sweets, the “Minni di Sant’Aita” (Saint Agatha’s breasts), a tiny version of the famous cassata siciliana.
Heading towards the centre of the island, just an hour from Catania, lies anoter worldwide-famous destination, most appreciated for its tradition of pottery and ceramics production: Caltagirone, whose city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinary baroque architecture as well, is a typical Sicilian countryside town, perched on a hill overlooking the plains of Gela and Catania – a feature that made it an important stronghold in ancient times. The production of pottery in Caltagirone is a thousand-year-old tradition: first evidence of this activity date back to the 6th millennium BC!
If you wish to discover the whole history of this fantastic tradition, actually one of the most famous of the island and the most typical souvenir from Sicily, we recommend a visit to the Museum of Ceramics, whose huge collection of ancient ceramics includes remains from the Prehistory. The Museum is set in Via Roma, inside the lovely public garden. And if you are looking for the most astonishing work of art made with local pottery, don’t miss the Santa Maria Del Monte staircase: every single step of this steep and long stair has been finely decorated with hand-crafted ceramic tiles. The church of Santa Maria del Monte is located on top of the staircase: from here, you’ll be able to enjoy a pretty view of the town and its surrounding countryside.