Sicily's most beautiful villages

Updated on Jul 14, 2017 by Kathryn Burrington

Blog > Sicily's most beautiful villages

Sicily has more than its fair share of lovely villages, but which have the honour of being declared amongst Italy’s most beautiful villages?

An impressive 19 towns and villages around the island of Sicily have been awarded the honour of being I Borghi piu belli d’Italia’, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages.

I’ve come across the I Borghi piu belli d’Italia’ sign many times, and my heart skips a beat each time as I know I’m in for a treat, with a sense of being somewhere very special which is seemingly trapped in time.

Launched in 2001 by the National Association of Italian Tourism the project was created to preserve and promote the heritage of history, art, culture and traditions found in lesser known small Italian towns in the hope of reversing the trend of depopulation that many of these villages were seeing, as well as to preserve them for future generations. To be a member of this exclusive club each village must meet a strict set of rules.

You’ll find all 19 of Sicily’s I Borghi piu belli d’Italia’ on the map at the end. Each is well worth a visit, but here we’ve picked out a few of our favourites.


Sambuca di Sicilia, Western Sicily

Starting in the west of the island, Sambuca di Sicilia lies nestled in a valley of vineyards. Founded by the Arabs in 827, it is a beautiful village with a recently restored Saracen quarter made up of winding alleyways, courtyards and palaces. Other must-see attractions include the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Castle of Zabut, the 16th-century Mother Church, and the Church of the Carmine.

Image credit: lapas77 | Shutterstock


Be sure to try the local dish, Minni di Virgini, which was created in 1725 by Sister Virginia Casale di Rocca Menna from Colleggio Maria. Inspired by the nearby hills, she created a hill-shaped cake, stuffed with ricotta cream, chocolate and zuccato to celebrate an important local wedding.


Cefalù, Northern Sicily

This well-known coastal tourist resort is exceedingly popular principally for its wonderful beaches and historic charm.

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Make sure you set aside some time for a stroll around the medieval district of the town, where the main attraction is Cefalù’s Duomo, a 12th-century Norman cathedral with elaborate Byzantine mosaics and imposing twin towers.

Image credit: Anna Lurye | Shutterstock


Savoca, North East Sicily

This sleepy hilltop village is still relatively undiscovered and offers a glimpse of authentic Sicily. Explore the cobbled streets, passing crumbling buildings and spectacular views, feeling as if you have stepped back in time.

Image credit: Anna Lurye | Shutterstock


Be sure to visit the village’s little square - scenes from Francis Ford Coppola's film, The Godfather, were shot at Bar Vitelli. And perched on the hillside beneath the rocky castle summit, San Nicolò (pictured above)  one of the village’s three churches, also featured in a wedding scene.

Read about Lucia's memories of Savoca.


Palazzolo Acreide, South East Sicily

In the heart of southern Sicily near Syracuse, Palazzolo Acreide, is an ancient village with many fine examples of Baroque architecture, including the Church of St Nicholas in the central Piazza Aldo Moro and the Church of San Sebastiano in Piazza del Popolo.

There is also a well preserved, if small, Greek theatre, which is part of the archaeological area where the remains of Akrai can be found, an outpost of the Syracusan’s, founded around 664BC.

The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as part of the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.


Tempted to book a holiday to Sicily?

Featured image credit: Anna Lurye | Shutterstock


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