From carnivals to cheese festivals, there's an event in Sicily to suit everyone...
No matter what time of the year you visit, there’s always a plethora of exciting festivals and events happening in Sicily that you can attend, all across the island. So we’ve chosen a small selection of our favourites from throughout the year, to give you a little taste of what you can experience on this beautiful island in the Mediterranean.
Almond Blossom Festival, Agrigento – February
The beginning of the year sees the beautiful Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento, a Sicilian folklore festival which celebrates the first almond blossoms (and all things almond). Parades of traditional Sicilian carriages can be found moving through the streets of Agrigento, along with masses of authentic Sicilian cuisine, music, shows, craft exhibits and fireworks.
Image credit: Bea, Flickr
Taormina Carnival – February/March
With fireworks, music, games and a wonderfully glamorous procession of floats, the celebrations of Taormina’s Carnival are surely not to be missed. A prize for the best float means that the locals strive to create sensational carts, and you will see amazing creations of papier-mâché animals and fantasy creatures. Be sure to check the specific dates before you visit as it changes slightly every year.
Ricotta Festival, Vizzini – April
Starting more than 35 years ago, April 25th is when Vizzini hold their annual 3 day Ricotta Festival. An Italian cheese which is also produced in Vizzini, at this festival you can find and sample the very best ricotta Sicily has to offer. Although you’ll find more cheese products here than you could possibly ever get your teeth into, there’s also music and traditional entertainment happening at the event.
Image credit: Paoletta S. Wikimedia Commons
Infiorata flower festival, Noto – May
Hosted in Noto, this beautifully colourful, themed festival is to celebrate spring time, when the countryside is green and full of flora. The Friday before the festival, artists will work with thousands of flowers and petals to create stunning pieces of art, which are laid out like a patchwork carpet in the heart of Noto. Parades, music, exhibitions and wine tasting are just a handful of the entertainment which you’ll find at the festival. And if you’re still there the Monday after the festival’s finished, you’ll see the local children playfully running through the displays, sending thousands of petals floating free into the air. You can find out more about this event and see more of the wonderful petal creations here.
Image credit: Banet | Shutterstock
Teatro Greco, Syracuse – mid May to late June
One of Sicily’s most prestigious cultural events each spring is the Greek Theatre Festival. At sunset, in the evocative setting of this ancient amphitheatre, a classical Greek comedy or tragedy is performed, transporting audiences thousands of years back in time.
Image credit: Simona, Flickr
Sagra dell’Olio, Furnari – July
Locals and visitors alike tuck into local produce including olives, olive oil, bruschette and wine whilst enjoying the live music of this vibrant festival.
Sagra del Pesce, Giardini-Naxos – July/August
Each weekend throughout July and August the Fish Festival takes place in the port, recreating the atmosphere of the small fishing village it once was, with folklore, music and delicious fresh fish dishes which you can wash down with tasty local wines.
Image credit: Francesco Sgroi, Flickr
Maritime Festival, Ortygia, Syracuse – August
Packed with more than 2,500 years of visible history from the Greeks, Romans and Normans (to name a few), Ortygia is filled with wonderfully varied architecture and is a highly sought after residential location. It’s here (at the South-East end of Syracuse), that the Maritime Festival takes place. A rowing regatta accompanied by parades provides an exciting atmosphere across the small island.
Cous Cous Fest, San Vito Lo Capo – September
This week long festival on the North-West side of the island is where professional chefs participate in a cous cous cook-off, producing original recipes, live in front of the festival visitors. There’s plenty to get involved with during this event, including cooking workshops, seminars and talk shows, as well as watching live shows and competitions with chefs from around the world. There’s a lot to do, see and taste as this festival, so it's definitely worth checking out.
Ibla Buskers, festival of street artists, Ragusa – October
Happening each year in Ragusa, a historic hilltop town, the streets come alive with entertainment and buskers, giving the town a vibrant and energetic feel. The town itself is split into two parts; on the hilltop you’ll find ‘Ragusa Ibla’, which boasts unspoilt historic architecture, however if you’re after something a little more modern, the other side of the town, named ‘Ragusa Superiore’ is the place to visit.
Festa di San Martino – November
November 11th is when San Martino (the bishop of Tours and patron saint of wine makers) is celebrated throughout Sicily. The festivities on this day are a great opportunity to taste newly matured wine, as the wineries will open their doors for tastings. Special bread called ‘La Muffuletta di San Martino’ is also very popular on this day, filled with salami and cheese and topped with sesame seeds.
Chocobarocco/Chocomodica – December
Yes, what you immediately think this might mean is right – for all you chocolate lovers out there, this is the event for you! Taking place in Modica in December, celebrate artisan chocolate with guided tours, workshops, cultural events, chocolate sculptures and tastings. Although if you’re planning on visiting this event, be sure to check the date as it tends to vary each year. If you’ve already got a trip booked, you can still experience the amazing chocolate that Modica is famous for. Take a look at our Churches, Chocolate and Cheeses – 24 hours in Modica blog post for some tips on where’s great to visit.
If you’ve been to any of these events we’d love to hear about your experience, so please feel free to comment below.