by Lynn Kim Do

Sicily | + Travel Guide

Dear Sicily,

I watched as your mountains take in the sun. Careful as you were, like two lovers folding their bodies into one.  The sun sets on to you and we watched like acts of voyeurism. I traced my fingers across the Sicilian walls and I can feel your song. A song from long ago, with witty anecdotes, with rises and falls, with love and regret. With pride. The walls. They vibrate, their history bleeding, their voices drunk. I watched the homes cling gracefully onto the side of your mountains. Like a mother and child. With tenderness, and great balance. With great sacrifice. I walk your cobble-filled streets. Like a scene from a handful of movies, like a page from a novel, my mind tries to catch up to every thing my eyes are absorbing. Reality blurs with dreams. I remind myself, “I am exactly where I need to be.” Each morning, I wake up eager to open the window. Smell your foreign air, feel your foreign wind, trace the outline where your sun and your generous shade hits and separate on my skin. I fall deeper in love. With my partner. And with you, Sicily. You are a city I will still be trying to articulate into words months and years from now. What I’ve gained. What I’ve felt. What I left with. You are wordless. Formless.

Sicily Tips:

Itinerary: 5 Days Breakdown
We had exactly 5 days in Sicily, flying into Catania. We spent 2 days in Syracusa and 3 days in Taormina. One of the evenings, we took a drive to Noto for Cafe Sicilia (Chef’s Table - Pastry Edition) while we were in Syracusa and wish we spent a whole day in Noto. What I loved about the 3 cities is how different they were from one another, specifically the landscape. Ortigia Island in Syracusa is small and is a leveled island with food markets and ancient ruins. Noto is a non-touristy and raw-feeling town with cobble stones and little alleyways. Taormina is a town clinging to the side of the mountain.

To be honest, I wish we had 2-3 more days. There is so much to see in Syracusa, Noto, and Taormina.

Need to Know:
1. Rent a car. It’s super simple. From reviews online, we got an international driver’s license beforehand BUT you don’t even need it. Rent beforehand via online to get the best price.
2. Bring an outlet adapter. They use the European electrical system.
3. September is THE best time to go. Perfect swimming weather and not so busy or packed.
4. Most establishments take credit cards. Take out cash for street food. And if you do, take it out from an ATM so you don’t get charged a ridiculous amount at an exchange place.
5. There is absolutely no tipping culture in Italy at restaurants and cafes. We did tip our tour guide though.
6. Learn these words: “Grazie - thank you” or “Grazie milli - thank you so much” “Prego - you’re welcome” “Scusami - Excuse me” and “Quanto costa? - How much does it cost?”
7. I recommend AirBnb over Hotels and B&B. You get more bang for your buck and a more local experience.

1. Stay in Ortygia, the city centre.
2. Visit the Ortygia market. Try a fresh shucked oyster with a shot of wine for 2.50 euros. Or the fresh fried calamari in a cone.
3. Get lost and stroll around the Ortygia City Centre. There are many gelato spots, restaurants, shoppes, and cobblestone alley ways.
4. Visit Parco Archeologico della Neapolis. It is a 10 min drive from the city centre and has all of the stunning and cultural main sights of Syracusa including the Greek and Roman theatre, Ear of Dionysius, Latvia del Paradiso, and more. There is an entrance fee of around 10 euros. Expect to be there for at least 1-2 hours.
5. Take a night trip to Noto, a 35 min drive from city centre, and have dessert at Caffe Sicilia.
6. Eat at A Putia. Order the Pistachio and bacon pasta.
7. Get gelato at Gelateria Bar Bianca
8. Visit Marchesa di Cassable Beach, a local beach with the clearest water and softest sand. It is about 25 min away.

1. Spend a day walking the interesting streets of Taormina. You’ll find winding alleyways, aesthetically pleasing surprises, and stairs being used in the most efficient yet creative ways. In the evening, you can hear live music at the square in the main section of Taormina.
2. Eat at Osteria RossoDiVino. It’s one of our favorite meals in Sicily. You won’t regret it.
3. For a more low-key dining experience without compromising taste, eat at Ristorante I’Incontro
4. Get fresh cannoli from Laboratoria Pasticceria Roberto
5. Get active and trek Mount Etna. We used this tour here.
6. Go wine tasting at Gambino Vineyard, which is also included in the tour.
7. Try Sicilian street food off the street. Make sure you try Arancini, an Italian rice ball filled with goodness.
8. Have Sicilian pizza at Pizzeria Villa Zuccaro. And the have a drink at the cocktail bar on the steps below the Pizzeria.
9. Take a cable car down to Isola Bella, a beautiful island that you can literally walk to from the island. It is breathtaking. And yes, bring a bathing suit and a towel.


Images by Pedro Morales & Lynn Kim Do