Indeed, upon stepping into the streets of towns such as Taormina, Siracusa, Giardini di Naxos or Palermo, where oranges fall at your feet and lemons hang in place of pine cones, you may start to realize why the naturally romantic Italians themselves say, "Sicily is paradise". __Sicily, throughout history has been a place where more cultures have converged than any other in Europe or the world. From the Arabs who first settled there, to the Greeks, the Romans and the Normans, Sicily has been a melting pot and battle ground of culture, tradition, art and architecture. The ruins, located throughout Sicily are numerous, vast and incredible. <p>Sicily may be more interesting to those who enjoy adventures off the "beaten path". It may be difficult in some respects for visitors to navigate the island, but the tourist information system is getting progressively better. It is well worth the risk to dive right into Sicilian culture, for what awaits a guest in this rich Italian province is nothing short of magic.</p>
The wine trade first flourished under the Greeks but waned under the Romans, Vandals and Goths before it all but disappeared for being taboo under Muslem rule. In the late 18th century the English created Marsala and Sicilia became the major source of fortified wine. <p>Sicilia’s popular grape varietals include Nero d’Avola, a robust red, strong on its own but excellent for blending; Cataratto Bianco, a fairly bland varietal with excellent body making it the choice base of Marsala and Vermouth; Inzolia, somewhat fragile but highly valued in white table wines and Marsala; Perricone which provides strength and color making it another optimal choice for blending. Ample sunshine and rich soils are excellent contributors to the consistency found among the wines of the south.