By Joanne DiBona for USA TODAY 10Best

Explore the magical island of Sicily on this virtual tour

Sicily’s preserved ruins from antiquity, breathtaking landscapes and beaches, ancient cities and charming towns are just a few sights to enjoy on this virtual tour.

Most travelers to Sicily either begin or end their tour in the ancient city of Palermo, the region's capital, founded in 736 BC. Visitors enjoy a perfect climate, ancient and historical buildings and renowned restaurants.

The charming streets and squares of the town of Monreale are picturesque enough, but its claim to glory is its 12th century Norman-Byzantine cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As you stroll through the villages of Sicily, you may wonder at the colorful, hand-painted carts you see on the streets. They portray scenes from Sicilian history and folklore as well as geometrical designs.

Image courtesy of Joanne DiBona

Whether it's the best swordfish of your life, exquisite shrimp harvested in the deepest depths of the sea, or fresh-caught tuna that melts in your mouth, there's no shortage of delightful seafood in Sicily.

Monuments pepper the landscape of the entire island. Our favorite is the temple and theater of Segesta, serenely nestled in the rolling countryside in the western tip of Sicily.

The town of Erice is perched high on a cliff overlooking Sicilian shoreline. You'll feel as if you've gone back in time as you stroll over cobblestones that were laid by the Romans in 100 BC.

One of the most beautiful Sicilian coastal cities you can visit is Cefalù. You’ll find a lovely small city, filled with delightful shops and restaurants. Its history goes back to the 4th century BC.

Sicily is famous for its many desserts, the list of which is really too numerous to mention. Marzipan, confections made of ground almonds, are very popular in Sicily, as is granita, a light sorbet-like treat.

The king of all Sicilian desserts, however, is cannoli. It's made from freshly whipped ricotta cheese flavored with lemon and sugar, which is then piped into a crisp fried pastry shell.

Image courtesy of Joanna DiBona

As you travel through Sicily, you can’t help but notice the image of a three-legged Medusa, which is also donned on the official Sicilian flag. The symbol depicts the three promontories of the island.

Image courtesy of Tony DiBona

Some of the most pristine beaches can be found in the Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve. Azure blue waters, white sandy alcoves, and a magnificent hiking path make this a trail – and beach – to remember.

If you're a wine lover, you’ve come to the right place. Many of the grapes that produce excellent Sicilian wines have their roots, literally, in the rich lava rock that surrounds the island.

One of the most romantic small towns in Sicily is Taormina. Perched on a hilltop above the blue Ionian sea, its twisting ancient streets take you past imposing palaces and charming squares.

It's a sure bet – once you get a taste of Sicily, you will want to return again and again. Arrivederci!

Read more at USA TODAY 10Best

Read the article
Read the article