We’re heading towards Christmas time, and who said that Christmas in Sicily isn’t magical? If you decide to stay in one of our Sicily villas in December, you’ll find an incomparable dreamy atmosphere throughout the whole island. So let’s dispel the myth that claims that Sicily is only good for Summer holidays and let’s talk about five great things you can do here in December.
1. Join the chocolate festival in Modica. From December 6th to 8th Modica, the Sicilian capital of chocolate, will be hosting the annual chocolate fair. ChocoModica is a unique chance to taste some of the delicious “brown gold” of this splendid baroque city, still produced following an ancient Aztech recipe that was brought to Sicily during the Spanish domination of the island. Plus, the historical centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: a must-see indeed!
2. Visit local Christmas markets. From the East to the West, the island is rich in beautiful Christmas markets where you’ll find pretty decorations and handicraft products, as well as perfectly-carved nativity scenes and traditional winter food and wine. Some of the most famous Christmas markets in Sicily can be found in Caltagirone, the city of ceramics, as well as in Erice, the medieval little hamlet set on top of Mount Erice overlooking Trapani: the atmosphere here is lovely, and plenty of events are planned together with Christmas markets – concerts, exhibits, shows and much more.
3. Eat traditional delicacies. It wouldn’t be Sicily without typical seasonal food! We recommend you taste “capone” fish, mostly catched in Winter around the Pelagie islands (Lampedusa, Linosa, Lampione), best served either fried or as a seasoning for pasta; and then, of course, typical Christmas desserts in Sicily include “petrafennula” (similar to torrone sweet made with honey, almonds, cinnamon and orange peel), “giuggiulena” (made with orange peel, candied sugar and “semenza”) and the delicious local “panettone”, often stuffed with flavoursome Pistachio cream from Bronte.
See also: A Sicilian menu for your Christmas lunch
4. Visit local exhibits of traditional handcrafted nativity scenes. Christmas is one of the most cherished celebrations of the year: plenty of villages in the countryside have a centuries-old tradition of nativity scenes production. From wood to silver, from coral to ivory, a wide range of materials is used to realize wonderful creations: we recommend you visit the most ancient one in Custonaci (province of Trapani), inside a very evocative setting – the Mangiapane cave. Moreover, prestigious nativity scenes can be found in Noto and Scicli, and you’ll find the finest coral nativity scenes in Trapani. Don’t miss out!
5. Celebrate Saint Lucy with typical “cuccìa”. Staying in Sicily on December 13th? Then you must know that Sicilians have a culinary tradition for this day too! As a tribute to the Saint that once saved the island from famine by sending ships of wheat, no meat or fish are eaten on December 13th. The most traditional food is “cuccìa“, made with boiled wheat mixed either with goat ricotta cheese or chocolate, together with typical arancine with rice.
What about you? Did you do any of these five things during your holiday in Sicily? Share your experience in the comments!