UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sicily

What are the UNESCO World Heritage sites?
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is an organisation that has the ability to list anything from natural phenomena to buildings and monuments as being of special cultural or physical significance.

With 51 UNESCO sites, Italy has more than its fair share, and seven of these impressive sites are located on the beautiful island of Sicily, with two natural, and five cultural.


Temple of Concordia, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento - silky   |  Shutterstocksilky | Shutterstock

Valle dei Templi, Agrigento, listed in 1997

The Valley of the Temples can be found just outside the city of Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily. Home to some of Sicily’s most impressive Greek ruins, it’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Built somewhere between 510 and 430 BC, the eastern half of the site contains some of the less damaged ruins: the Temple of Herakles (the most ancient temple), Temple of Concord and Temple of Hera (or Juno). The western half contains the Temple of Olympian Zeus - impressive due to the fact it would have been over 110m long - along with other extensive remains including the Temple of Dioscuri.

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Alba Palace Hotel

Presenting a medley of art, culture, fine food and fantastic comfort in Favara.


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Mosaics of the Casale Roman Villa in the Piazza Armerina - luigi nifosi  |  Shutterstockluigi nifosi | Shutterstock

Villa Romana del Casale, listed in 1997

Positioned at 721m above sea level, in the town of Piazza Armerina, central Sicily is the 4th Century AD Roman villa, Romana del Casale. Built originally as a hunting lodge, this ancient construction is home to some wonderful examples of Roman mosaics. 37,674 sq ft of mosaic flooring was discovered in the mid-18th century, picturing everything from mythological scenes to daily Roman life. This is a great place to stop for an afternoon if touring across the island.


Aeolian Islands, Sicily  - a.poll_o, Flickr a.poll_o, Flickr

Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands), listed in 2000

Providing a rich field for volcanological studies, this stunning collection of volcanic islands off the north-east coast of Sicily has educated geoscientists for over 200 years. Not only recognised for learnings about the development of landforms, these islands are still a fairly hidden Italian beauty, containing a plethora of history, beautiful views, wonderful wines and countless tales of Greek myths and legends. The best place to see these islands from the mainland is to the follow the SS113 along the coast, past Gioiosa Marea and Patti.


Modica by night, ragusa - luigi nifosi  |  Shutterstockluigi nifosi | Shutterstock

The Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto, listed in 2002

Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli, all located in south-eastern Sicily, are towns which were devastated by an earthquake in 1693. Rebuilt after this event, the towns now depict a wonderful array of unique, baroque architecture which is a true wonder to behold. Churches and cathedrals boast striking curves and flourishes from their flamboyant designs, and other buildings feature theatrical balconies, columns and coloured marble, all in keeping with this delightfully unique style of Italian architecture.

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Panorama Roof Terrace 

Gagliardi Boutique Hotel

A charming hotel enjoying a privileged location in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Noto.


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Prehistoric Tombs, Unesco Site of Pantalica - S.Leggio   |  ShutterstockS.Leggio | Shutterstock

Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica, listed in 2005

With its Greek theatre, Roman amphitheatre, archaeological museum and the island of Ortigia (to name a few) Syracuse holds some of the most intriguing gems of the ancient world. The island of Ortigia is home to many Greek, Roman and Norman remains, including the Temple of Apollo, built in 7th century BC, and a breath-taking cathedral, built on the remains of the ancient Temple of Athena. Furthermore, a deep, limestone ravine carved by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers is where you can find the rocky necropolis of Pantalica. Located around 40km west of Syracuse, it contains roughly 5,000 burial chambers dating back to between the 13th and 7th centuries BC.

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Pool Area 

Hotel Borgo Pantano

Set in a beautiful rural location with a delightful restaurant.


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Mount Etna - ollirg   |  Shutterstockollirg | Shutterstock

Mount Etna, listed in 2013

A wondrous sight to behold, Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, standing at around 3,350m tall. Located on the east coast of Sicily, in the province of Catania, Mount Etna’s history of eruptions dates back to 425 BC, when it destroyed the territory of Catania. A devastating eruption took place in 1669, which lead to the rebuild of the city in the beautiful baroque style that is still visible today.

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Hotel Views Glorious Terrace views at Villa Angela

Grand Hotel Minareto

Waterfront luxury with stunning views of Syracuse and private section of beach.

Villa Angela

A small boutique hotel on the hillside just above Taormina, the views are just stunning.


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The Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalu - Anna Lurye  |  ShutterstockAnna Lurye | Shutterstock

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale, listed 2015

The newest listed UNESCO heritage site in Sicily, nine civil and religious buildings are included, dating back to around 1130-1194 – the era of Norman Sicily. With churches, palaces, cathedrals and even a bridge being part of this site, the most notable are the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Cefalú cathedral is located around 70km from Palermo, and includes two large Norman towers, with impressive mosaic designs and antique columns inside. An extravagant structure, Monreale cathedral is frequently cited as the island’s greatest Norman building.

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Panoramic Terrace Hotel Views Pool Area (shared)

Hotel Plaza Opéra

A comfortable, modern hotel right at the heart of the city of Palermo.

Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

Waterfront luxury with sublime cuisine, close to the city of Palermo.

Apartment Pino Marittimo

With fabulous views and use of the pool in a tranquil setting.


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