Off the beaten path
Already been to a gazillion lovely Tuscan weddings and been left wondering whether a less glossy, more genuine but still beautiful affair is possible? Sicily, made by the juxtaposition of sea, volcano and mountain scenery, is a powerful concentrate of the Italian character, a region that, for the best and sometimes for the worse, can’t help being true to its rich, multicultural roots. Its utter fascination over the time has struck numberless celebs, both in the past (Oscar Wilde, Guy de Maupassant, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote) and in the present (Gerard Depardieu, Mick Hucknall, Jim Kerr, Giorgio Armani, Madonna). They all fell in love with its greatness and its vastness, and now that it is your time to make the most of this incredibly generous land to pull off the most amazing Italian destination wedding ever, you will no doubt need some counseling, for Sicily indeed is huge and, honestly speaking, not the easiest place on Earth.
Roughly, the most beautiful and easy to reach areas are 4: Palermo and its surroundings, Syracuse, Taormina and the Aeolian Islands.
Palermo to begin with, is a world of its own. Chaotic, loud, at times dilapidated as it may be, it’s easy to overlook the city’s problems when you enter a church full of luminously beautiful Byzantine mosaics, wander along a street of stately baroque palazzos or just step on the lovely Mondello beach community. Also the Palermo surroundings burst with amazing locations, to begin with Cefalù, a mind blowing fishermen village whose monumental centre, picturesque port and idyllic long beach make a fantastic destination for a charming wedding weekend, or Erice, an enchanted walled medieval town with stern-looking forts and churches, as well as sweeping views of the valley beneath it and the sea.
Another great option is the south east part of the island: Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Scicli. Easy to reach from the Catania airport, this specific area encapsulates Sicily’s timeless beauty. Ancient Greek ruins rise out of lush citrus orchards, cafe tables spill onto dazzling baroque piazzas, and medieval lanes lead down to the sparkling blue sea. Either you go for an elegant hotel with jaw-dropping views over the sea or you prefer a stunning baroque villa surrounded by magnolias and palms, your wedding will be infused by the most powerful and genuine Sicilian flair.
Sicily as well has an all time favourite location, Taormina. Spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain, while unashamedly touristy, it remains an achingly beautiful spot with gorgeous medieval churches, a stunning Greek theatre and sweeping views over the Gulf of Naxos and Mt Etna. Thanks to the proximity to the Catania airport, the large selection of high standard hotels as well as of private accommodation solutions and some of the most fabulous wedding venues, fully enjoying the one of a kind between sea and mountains setting, Taormina makes the ideal Mediterranean destination wedding location.
Rising out of the cobalt-blue seas off Sicily‘s northeastern coast, the Unesco-protected Aeolian Islands are not for everyone. Getting there entails planes, trains and ferries, but the primordial beauty that they boast does make up for the long journey; Vulcano, with its lively night life and volcanic beaches, Lipari, whose precipitous cliffs and picturesque labyrinthine alleyways convey a cool, laid-back island vibe, the mesmerizing, white and black Stromboli and the lush and remote Salina, they all offer high level hotels and beautiful traditional villas which will enable you to live an extraordinary experience.
Cover photo: Stefano La Rosa, Photo 1: Gnuckx, Photo 2: Jo Lewis, Photo 3: Miguel Carvalho