Monday, July 4, 2011

Visit Greece - in Sicily!

As much as we love Greece, the strikes, protests and other situations in that nation across the Ionian from us make it a tricky vacation destination this summer. We hope things improve for our neighbors, who are experiencing a profound economic crisis, but for now...

Discover Greece in Sicily! Our island was one of the most highly populated Greek regions of the ancient world. Syracuse rivalled Athens in importance. The temple at Segesta (shown here) is considered by some archaeologists to be the best-preserved Greek temple in the world. And the temples at Agrigento are equally impressive. There are ancient Greek amphitheatres at Taormina, Segesta, Agrigento, Siracusa and elsewhere.

On a medieval note, Sicily even has a few churches - like the Martorana in central Palermo - that were built for Greek Orthodox congregations. Featuring walls covered with mosaic icons, they are jewels of Byzantine art and culture. Monreale Abbey, Cefal├╣ Cathedral and the Palatine Chapel of Palermo's timeless Norman Palace boast similar architectural details. (At right, Christ Pantokrator in Monreale.)

While you're here, you might even try some Greek food. But Sicily's heritage isn't just Greek. It's Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Norman, German, Spanish, Italian and much more.

See our sights page for more ideas.

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