Sicily has always been admired for its spectacular natural habitats, popular beach resorts, and for the unique individual folkloristic typology proper to the many towns around the island that have given impetus to the island’s cosmopolitan and multi-cultural identity. For this reason, many important celebrations and traditional festivals are held at multiple locations throughout Sicily to celebrate yearly harvests or to commemorate the lives of Saints and prophets and the many aspects of the Christian religion. It is also a place where many music and film festivals take place amidst the splendor of ancient Roman and Greek amphitheaters and temples.
Ultimately the best way to see everything that the towns have to offer is to rent a beautiful Sicilian style villa to complement your Sicily beach holiday. In that way, you will have the chance to explore the folkloristic and traditional events that take place throughout the year;
The procession of St. Joseph in March is an important yearly landmark in Syracuse, Palermo, Enna and Agrigento, where statues of the carpenter and husband of the Virgin Mary are paraded through the streets and banquettes are held in his honor. These delicacies include traditional recipes and Pasta dishes with different kinds of cheese, sausages, and fried vegetables, served alongside famous Sicilian desserts like the Cassata and cream filled pastries such as Cannoli. In Agrigento you can admire the wagon procession of St. Joseph carrying a 10-meter high wooden tower adorned with laurel wreaths and bread shaped like carpenter tools. Local folk songs, dancing and fireworks accompany the procession of the Festa del Santissimo Crocifisso in Monreale, held in May, where a large crucifix is carried into the local Church and a lights display of candles and colored petals light up the streets.
The Festa di Gesù Nazareno (which began in 1677) is an important event held in June at San Giovanni Gemini; here too bands and music delight procession-goers as they follow the parade of the Nazareno statue – a wooden sculpture depicting Jesus, St. John, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin of Sorrows— on a decorated triumphal chariot accompanied by the sound of firecrackers.
The Festa di St. Agatha is one of the largest religious festivals in the world, and is held in Catania in honor of the city’s patron saint who was martyred. More than a million people attend the event held during the month of February. Trapani’s Processione dei Misteri is a great Easter event and one of the oldest and longest-running festivals in Italy; twenty floats carry groups of statues that represent the events of the Passion and the Crucifixion and are paraded through the streets. The Festa della Madonna Maria Santissima dei Miracoli is held at Alcamo in honor of the Virgin Mary; the event is complemented with a historical parade of vintage clothes and decorations and with cultural, artistic and musical events.Music aficionados and history enthusiasts will certainly marvel at the Baroque festival of the Festa di Santa Rosalia in Palermo, with performers showcasing their repertoire of post-Renaissance and pre-classical music. The Taormina film festival is one of the most prestigious international events in the world, taking place at the ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina. It is also Italy’s oldest and largest film festival and, as with Cannes, many reputable actors and directors attend this event- Robert de Niro and Audrey Hepburn are just some of the famous names to have honored this festival which hosts many previews, tributes, and independent films, and concludes with an awards ceremony.