Advisor Adventures

Bell tower Taormina Sicily Provident Travel

Discovering Sicily

Two Provident Travel professionals share their insights.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is not just a region; it's a world of its own. An autonomous region of Italy, Sicily has its own culture, including its unique cuisine and dialect. Known for sun-kissed beaches, friendly people and a vibrant history, Sicily is a destination you’ll want to savor.

Janet McLaughlin, a Senior Travel Advisor and Italy Specialist, and Jane Jones, Vice President of Provident Travel, recently visited Sicily. We asked them to tell us about their experiences.

What was your most recent trip to Sicily like?

Janet: I visit Sicily at least once a year, and on my trip last summer, I went all over the island. One of my favorite places is Cefalù, a charming seafront village that makes for a perfect day trip from Palermo, where I spent much of my time.

Palermo is an amazing city that really comes alive at night. It has an excellent culinary scene and one of the best food markets I’ve ever been to. It’s brims with color, sights and sounds. The Grand Hotel et des Palmes is one of my favorite places to stay. It’s an elegant five-star boutique hotel in the heart of Palermo.

Fruits and olives salad bar at Palermo Italy food market
Teatro Antico di Taormina at night

Jane, as a first-time traveler to Sicily, what was your experience?

Jane: I visited Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It’s near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. Taormina is best known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theater that is still in use today.


Members of our group stayed at three beautiful properties: Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, where the series White Lotus was filmed; Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, which sits on a hill near the ancient Greek theater; and Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, a boutique property with spectacular views of the bay.

I traveled with hosts Essence of Sicily, Sicily Lifestyle, IC Bellagio and I.D.I. Travel—trusted partners of Provident Travel. They offer custom itineraries, which allowed my tour group to experience the best of Sicily.

Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea overlooking bay


Coastline with grasses on island of Stromboli Italy

Janet, what makes your annual trips to Sicily such enjoyable experiences?

Janet: I enjoy the Sicilian people, the food and the history. There is a simplicity to Sicily—a no-nonsense approach to life and to food. On my most recent visit, I had the opportunity to ferry to the island of Stromboli and hike up the side of Mount Stromboli, an active volcano. It’s a bit off the beaten track, but it’s a wonderful experience.


Jane, what experiences were a highlight for you?

Jane: Seeing a performance at sunset at the Teatro Antico di Taormina was a real highlight. The views of Mount Etna were incredible, too. And, exploring the Sicilian market in Catania, with its vibrant atmosphere and fresh produce, was another memorable experience.

Sunset musical performance at Teatro Antico di Taormina
Gothic architecture with gold accents Sicily Provident Travel

What should travelers know about this kind of trip?

Janet: Sicily demands time. I’d recommend 10 to 14 days. It's authentic Italy, with friendly people, fascinating history, and Greek and Roman antiquities.

English isn't widely spoken, so a knowledgeable guide or escorted tour is crucial. Sicily is not the mainland—it’s very old—many of the roads, including the highways, are not as well-maintained as in other parts of the country. I would not try driving it on your own.

As a travel advisor, I often collaborate with trusted partners like Tauck to plan escorted tours in Southern Italy. At Provident Travel, we can design custom itineraries tailored to our clients' preferences. This can often include amazing private touring experiences with licensed guides.


What's the best way to get to Sicily?

Janet: ITA Airlines and Ryanair make it easy to fly from mainland Italy to either Palermo or Catania. For a different way to travel, you can take a ferry from the mainland across the Strait of Messina. It’s about a 45-minute ride.

What type of traveler is a good fit for this kind of trip?

Jane: Sicily is a good fit for everyone. It’s also a great destination for honeymooners, especially if you stay at the romantic Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea on the beach.

Want to learn more or ready to book your Sicily vacation?

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Janet McLaughlin Provident Travel on hill overlooking Sicilian town


Colorful umbrellas over street in Catania Sicily
View with palm tree overlooking bay Strait of Messina