Sicily has a long history of wine production thanks to its fertile land and warm climate of Southern Italy. But over the past 20 years, Sicily has well and truly earned its place as one of the top Italian regions for wine production.

Sicily is now home to some of the favorite wines of top sommeliers from around the world and Sicilian wineries and vineyards are becoming tourist attractions that discerning travelers do not want to miss.

Italy’s largest island not only produces fantastic wine but also manages to offer a wide variety, from the famous and traditional e.g. Marsala, to the contemporary and experimental wines produced by some of the wineries in this list.

While you can find fantastic wineries across the island, our favorites have to be those produced on Mt. Etna, Europe’s most active volcano that characterizes the unique landscape of Eastern Sicily. We think a visit to one of Mt. Etna’s wineries is one of the most special experiences we offer our guests.

In this list you will find a selection of our favourite wineries in Sicily, all adding something remarkable to the wine culture.

All those mentioned can be visited as part of the special wine and food tour we offer our guests, and can be tailored to suit your interests. Many of those mentioned can also be used for unique events and special occasions.

Let us know what you had in mind! Our team of Sicily experts takes delight in delivering events and experiences to remember.

Whether you are looking to plan a special occasion dinner, a wedding celebration, or a party to remember, holding an event in a Sicilian vineyard can be a highly tailored and memorable experience.

Contact us for detailed information about the events we can plan or custom-made tours and itineraries we can realise for our guests.

La vendemmia (grape harvest)

The grape harvest in Sicily (vendemmia) happens during September and October, and it is one of the most beautiful times of year in Sicily as the vines are full of fruit and ripe for picking. The grapes in Sicily have been ripening throughout the year, soaking up every drop of the Sicilian sun!

Now its time for the next phase: wineries across the island are picking the plump fruits, and depending on the size of the vineyards, this harvesting process can take between a day to a week.

The harvesting dates vary across the island depending on the location and conditions of the vineyard (such as altitude and soil type), but on Etna, it typically takes place in the last 2 weeks of September.

Vineyard at Mt. Etna Sicily

Best wineries to visit in Sicily

Most wine lovers who come to experience the wine of the island will be looking to discover the Etna D.O.C as part of their journey. The D.O.C (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) is a label used to classify and protect Italy’s most important territories.

Being given this label, Etna has been recognized as one of those special areas. The vines that surround the base of the volcano are hardy to say the least!

They are over one hundred years old and have survived hundreds of eruptions, big and small, and endless showering of dust, ash, and even lava.

It’s the earthiness and mineral-rich qualities of the soil here that give Etna wines their uniqueness. Parco dell’Etna is a particularly noteworthy site as it has been a UNESCO site since 2013.

That means the site is given special protections and is managed closely so that the area is able to flourish to its highest potential.

Let’s find out the best wineries in Sicily and ones we like to take our guests for experiencing our local, and world-famous, wine.

Cottanera winery (Mount Etna)

At the realm of the Cottanera winery is Mariangela Cambria, a woman who has worked with the Etna territory and succeeded in producing one of the best wines available and standing out above many competitors in the region.

Women play an integral role in the running of Cottanera; alongside Mariangela there is a team of 25 women who do the manual work and harvest the grape; still a rather rare setup in the largely male-dominated industry of winemaking.

This winery is located on the northern side of Mt. Etna, close by the medieval hilltop town of Castiglione di Sicilia.

Cottanera Winery Sicily with Etna
Courtesy of Cottanera Winery

Tenute di Fessina winery

Upon taking the role as owner of Tenute di Fessina in 2007, Silvia Maestrelli pledged to create “a place of beauty, between earth and spirit”.

The winery develops Etna D.O.C wines and provides hospitality that is an ode to the heritage of their territory.

There are seven rooms on-site, all of which pay homage to the role they once played in the historical use of the land.

For example, you could stay in the Cannedda room which was once used by farmers to deposit the grapes to be crushed.

Now it has been transformed into a charming room of understated elegance, where you can enjoy a special getaway in a vineyard setting with views of mighty Etna.

The vineyards of Tenute di Fessina are poised 675 metres above sea level, with the estate situated in the small town of Rovittello.

During a tour of Fessina, you will discover the seven hectares of mainly Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio grapes, along with a smaller amount of the Carricante and Minella types.

They are found tucked away in an amphitheater that coincidentally provides the ideal hospitality.

Inevitably, at the Tenuta di Fessina, guests are educated about the preservation of the century-old vines, the ancient stones, and the ashes of the volcano that gives the product its earthy and unique qualities.

Tenuta di Fessina Winery
Courtesy of Tenute Fessina Winery

Pietra Dolce winery (Mount Etna)

The Pietra Dolce winery stands out for the eco-friendly approach it has taken to wine production. It is a boutique-sized winery run by brothers Michele and Mario Faro, who are considered experts of the Etna wine region.

The pair have gained a great reputation for their fusion of ancient methods with modern technology for a sustainable approach.

They work with native grapes and pre-Phylloxera vineyards that are around one hundred years old.

The owners pride themselves on remaining true to the essence of the Etna area that they inject into every stage of production and are evident to the taste buds in the final product.

For those whose passion for wine is paired with an affinity for modern architecture and design, an experience at this winery will be particularly appreciated.

Pietra Dolce’s contribution to the Sicily wine scene has been recognized with numerous awards including receiving Gambero Rosso’s “2016 Red Wine of the Year” for its product Vigna Barbagalli. During a special visit to Pietra Dolce, you can taste it right at the source!

Barone di Villagrande winery and wine resort (Mount Etna)

The Villagrande wine resort has a long history, having been cultivating vineyards on Etna since the 18th century. In fact, it is the oldest winery on Etna, and over the years they have sought to perfect their craft.

A visit to the wine resort gives an opportunity to eat in the on-site restaurant where you can sample the wines with accompanying flavours from Etna and discover the most optimal food pairings.

By checking in and staying at the Barone di Villagrande resort, you can spend a night or two surrounded by forests and vineyards, accompanied with views up to Mt. Etna and down towards the bay of Taormina.

This is a chance to truly immerse your senses in the world of Etna wine production.

Sicily grapes ready for harvest

Palmento Costanzo winery (Mount Etna)

Hosted in a renovated building dating back to 1700, the Palmento Costanzo winery is one of the oldest in Sicily.

This is an Etna winery; set in the UNESCO-protected Parco dell’Etna, specifically the small village Contrada Santo Spirito, which itself is worth visiting for its beauty.

Palmento Costanzo prides itself on its offer to bring people together over their passions for wine and the Etna region.

Part of what sets them apart is their dedication to organic practices and manual cultivation methods. An example of its quality products is the Mofete Rosso, a popular red wine made from the native Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes, picked from vines of thirty years old.

A visit to Palmento Costanzo will enable wine-lovers to explore scenic vineyards, learn about the soil and production methods, and of course taste the final products paired with local cheeses and cured meats.

Donnafugata winery

Donnafugata is one of the most famous wineries in Sicily, and has played a big role in carving out the status of Sicily on the international wine scene.

The Donnafugata brand has numerous wineries around Sicily, and it has gained a fashionable reputation.

This winery recently collaborated with Dolce & Gabbana, creating an elegant Sicilian rose wine that represents the elegance that the luxury fashion house and the Donnafugata estate have in common.

Donnafugata owns wineries across multiple territories, namely Marsala, Pantelleria, Etna and Vittoria, each producing its own unique blends and varieties.

A visit to these locations will allow you to gain insight into how conditions and production varies in different corners of Sicily. The experts at the Donnaguata wineries will welcome you and share their knowledge with passion.-

These are just a few of our favourite wineries in Sicily. Whether you are a wine-lover looking to take an exclusive winery tour or to hold an event in a remarkable location, our knowledge of the island means we can suggest just the right place!

Get in touch with our experts and let’s start planning an exclusive experience to remember.

Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, is a melting pot of cultures and historical influences.

Having been extensively conquered over the years, including by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the French, and the Bourbons just to name the most influential.

Each group has made its mark with its own culture and inevitably weaving the complex fabric of Palermo’s society.

The rocky past of this city makes it a fascinating place to immerse yourself for a while. If you go with your eyes and ears open, you will find that there’s a story behind each facade.

Present-day Palermo also offers breathtaking landscapes of land and sea, world-renowned street food, and a vibrant creative culture that will leave you with lasting memories.

With so much to see and explore, allow us to guide you through the top 10 things to do and see in the wonderful city of Palermo.

If you are looking to explore further, make sure to read the post about the best places to see on Sicily’s west coast and the Best Sicily luxury tours that includes also unique places to visit in Palermo and we can organize for our guests.

Visit the markets and try the street food staples

Palermo is considered by many to be the street food capital of Europe.
You can spend days eating just street food specialties such as; sfincione (palermo’s thick pizza), arancine, pane e panelle (bread and with fritters made from chickpea) or pane ca’ meusa (bread with veal) and much more.

The best places to enjoy Palermo’s street food and local life are its markets, the ideal places for an authentic dip into the city’s past and to witness some of the ancient traditions of Palermo’s lifestyle.

There are three main markets in Palermo each worth a visit: Capo, Ballaro and Vucciria.

Ballarò market

At Ballaro, you will find an array of fresh produce conjuring up a wonderful mix of fragrances. Prepare to be jolted by locals as they keenly make their way to their favourite stalls.

It’s fabulous to see the colorful fruits and vegetables in their wonky forms, perfectly imperfect, as you would never see them at the supermarket.

Here you will also find an assortment of spices, reflecting the African and Middle Eastern elements of Palermo cuisine.

While you have the chance, make the most of enjoying more fragrant dishes such as couscous with fish, since these are more difficult to find elsewhere in Sicily or the rest of Italy.

La Vucciria Market

Although the market of Vucciria no longer exists how it used to, you can still find a notable array of street food to try around this area. You will first be hit by the smokiness as stall owners sizzle their delicacies on large grills.

The main dishes to try include the Pane Cunzato (seasoned bread) Pane e panelle (soft sandwich of chickpea and potato fritters), Pani ca’ meusa (veal sandwich), small fried fish, arancini, and stigghiola (made of lamb intestines).

Most of the street food available here is made of cheap, basic ingredients. The dishes, which were once ‘food for the poor’, are rich in simple flavor and have over the years earned a reputation of gastronomical excellence.

Capo market

​​The Capo market is another vibrant Arabic market offering a sensory experience. Whichever you choose, go with your eyes peeled and you will be able to see the produce of the land and sea as you’ve never seen it before.

The beauty of these markets is that they are no-frills, working markets that have managed to retain their authenticity despite the large number of tourists they attract.
However, the markets can best be explored with someone who knows where to find the best that’s on offer. Foodies will certainly enjoy our ‘Open markets tour’ of Palermo to make the most of the experience.

Fun fact
There exists a dispute between Palermo and Catania regarding the ‘gender’ of the arancino. Those in Catania believe the fried rice ball is a ‘he’, making it ‘arancino’ and those from Palermo believe it’s a ‘she’, making it ‘arancina’.

Fish sold at the market in Palermo

Shop handmade crafts and the Sicilian puppets

As you wander the streets, you will notice small boutiques and shops selling handmade goods. There are plenty of opportunities to snap up unique gifts for family and friends, or to bag an artful souvenir to spark warm memories of your time in Sicily.

Palermo has a rich history of craft making, with one of the most famous creations being the Sicilian puppet. The puppets have a fascinating tale behind them, and are steeped in Sicilian culture.

Our Folklore Tour of Palermo gives you access into the world of the puppet maker who helps keep the tradition alive. Take a seat with our master “puparo” as he tells you all about the heroic deeds of the knights and shows you how to make and steer one of these charming figures.

If accessories are your thing, you are in luck as there are many unique, handmade goods for sale, and friendly owners are happy to tell you about their work while helping you to find something perfect.

Some of the best handmade jewelry stores can be found on streets around Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Discesa dei Giudici.

On Via Aragona there is the store of Torretta Vito.

Here, there are no frills on the outside, and you could easily miss it, but venture inside and you will surely be welcomed. The owners are masters of typical Sicilian straw bags (named coffa) and Sicilian cart decorations, which have served as inspiration for fashion houses including Dolce & Gabbana.

Explore the mafia history and anti-mafia culture in Palermo

Palermo is a place with a strong mafia history. It continues to live with the scars of its unsettled past and is equally proud of the collective fight against it. Resistance to the Mafia in Palermo was mainly carried out with courage by the anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

The two judges are held in high esteem by the Sicilian people, and one of the ways they are remembered is by a dedicated mural in Palermo’s La Kalsa district.

However, the city has shown a profound resilience in overcoming the threat of the mafia and instead regenerating itself to become one of Italy’s most significant cultural capitals with the visitor numbers to match.

When it comes to the word ‘mafia’ there are many stereotypes that have led to an inaccurate picture being painted of life in Sicily, past and present.

For a fascinating educational experience of Sicily’s rocky past, join our ‘Against the stereotypes’ tour where our expert guide provides insight while challenging the misconceptions.

Also worth a visit is the No Mafia Memorial, which houses an informative exhibition about the activities of the Mafia and those who risked their lives to bring them to justice.

It’s a moving exhibition that will open your eyes to the reality of life under the Mafia in Sicily, as is not often portrayed in the movies.

San Giuseppe dei Teatini cupola

Awe at Palermo’s Baroque

The majority of the city is built in typical Sicilian baroque. The elaborate and theatrical style is an emblem of the area’s wealthy time in history when it experienced life under Spanish rule.

One of the early examples can be seen at Quattro Canti (The Four Corners), which is the central point of the old town.

The Quattro Canti is significant not only in an artistic sense but also for its purpose connecting the main ancient streets: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda. Spinning around, you will see that each ‘quarter’ consists of four levels, and above the fountain on each, there stands a saintly statue representing each season of the year.

Palermo’s most significant master of baroque is thought to be Giacomo Serpotta. Rumour has it that during his life, the renowned sculptor never actually left Sicily.

His life-like sculptures boast an impressive level of technical precision combined with a creative approach that allows the viewer to gaze from the ground with a unique perspective. His works can be admired at Santa Cita, San Lorenzo, and San Domenico.

More unmissable baroque can be found at Piazza Pretoria, also known as the ‘square of shame’ due to the various nude sculptures that surround the impressive fountain.

Tip: To get up close and personal with the baroque architecture, the café on the top floor of Rinascente has a gorgeous terrace with a view where you can really feel ‘amongst’ it since you are just meters away from the statues that embellish the church of San Domenico.

Admire Palermo’s impressive church interiors

Palermo is home to some of the most stunning church interiors in the whole of Italy. The city houses more than 100 churches, and while impossible to see them all in one trip, you can get a true taste of the variety by choosing wisely.

Among our recommendations would surely be the Church of Santa Caterina. It’s worth taking the full ticket including the monastery and rooftops.

In the monastery, you will be humbled as you peer at the immaculately kept bedrooms of the nuns that once served at the church. This is a reminder of the strong religious history that runs through Sicily, and the sense of devotion of the men and women who helped build it.

More significant religious interiors can be admired at the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (also knows as La Martorana church) and La Capella Palatina, both of which serve as important symbols of the fusion of Arab and Norman influence.

Rich interiors of the Cappella Palatina church Palermo

Wander through Palermo’s botanical gardens

After spending the first half of your day taking in sacred sights and acquiring new knowledge of this fascinating place, the afternoon calls for a pleasant wander through the city’s botanical gardens to switch off amongst nature.

As you enter, you will feel transported by the exoticism of the place. And while it’s certainly not the most groomed of gardens, its unkempt mossiness adds a certain charm.

In this little corner of respite, take some time to slow down and notice the details of various plants and greenery.

The garden contains a large pond that is home to various wildlife species, and if you are lucky you will see terrapins basking in the sun. Here, nature lovers can easily spend an hour or two being occupied by the collection of cacti and local trees.

If nothing else, the botanical gardens are a wonderful place to get a dose of nature, escape the chaos, and relax in the shade on a hot summer’s day.

In Piazza Marina, you will find the widest tree in Europe: the Ficus macrophylla.

Large ficus tree Palermo

Soak in the atmosphere at night

During the evening, Palermo’s vibrant energy disperses into its numerous bars and lively squares.

As the day draws to a close, head to the old town centre where you will find many understated wine and cocktail bars, with crowds spilling onto the streets.

Favourites include Bocum, one of the city’s oldest cocktails bars with a timeless feel; and St O’orto who’s laid back vibe and reputable music nights attract a young and creative crowd.

Or, if you’re looking for ultimate sophistication, you are in the right place. Palermo is home to one of Italy’s most dominant opera houses; taking in a show at The Teatro Massimo will be a special night to remember. Many of the opera world’s most famous stars performed here- including Gigli, Di Stefano, Maria Callas and Pavarotti.

While out for a passeggiata, you may come across crowds of young people gathering in the main squares. They come together on summer evenings to listen to music provided by those who pitch up with speakers. An ultra-European way to spend a Friday or Saturday night!

Discover the city’s unique history

In a city with such rich history and so many stories to tell, it’s easy to let it all wash over you. But if you take the time to engage with the stories behind the facades, you will gain valuable insight to how the past has informed present-day life in Palermo, and you will surely return home with richer memories of this special place.

The best way to engage with the city’s history is to allow a local expert to take you under their wing.

Find out what makes this city particularly special during our ‘Private Guided tour of Palermo’. Your guide will lead you through the most enchanting places of the city and will give insight into elements such as the architectonic style of the Cathedral, which is a synthesis of the history and art of Sicily’s last millennium.

Alongside our Palermo expert, you can discover the significance of the domes and mosaics of the Arab-Normal monuments, the Serpotta oratories, and evidence of prehistoric settlements; all of which deserve more than just a glance.

View of the Palermo cathedral from outside

Wonder at unique Arab-Norman Architecture

In 2015, Palermo’s nine Arab-Norman-style buildings and cathedrals were granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

These stunning buildings are “an outstanding example of a socio-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic, and Byzantine cultures. This interchange gave rise to an architectural and artistic expression based on novel concepts of space, structure, and decoration that spread widely throughout the Mediterranean region…”

The Palermo Cathedral

One of the most stunning examples of this style is the Palermo Cathedral. You cannot miss the imposing building and its cupola that presides over the Palermo skyline.

The architecture of the cathedral is the perfect example of Palermo’s long history of conquering empires – the foundation of the church began as a Byzantine basilica and was later turned into a mosque by the Saracens after their conquest of the city in the 9th century.

The bell tower was a medieval addition, and the Catalan Gothic porch records Sicily’s Spanish domination, while the cupolas bring us up to the Baroque age. The spaces around the cathedral, including the piazza in front, meanwhile, are crowded with statues, an exhaustive repertoire of saints.

Worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage title, the cathedral is worth a visit. You can sit on the piazza in front and take in the magnificent architecture while enjoying a gelato or espresso. One of our favorite recommendations is to take the rooftop tour of the cathedral. You get to marvel the cupola up-close and take in the bird’s eye view of Palermo from above.

Palazzo dei Normanni

From the cathedral, continue up Corso Vittorio Emanuele, past the splendid Piazza della Vittoria (with its high-rise collection of palm trees), under the 16th century Porta Nuova (built to commemorate the visit of Charles V), and on to Piazza Indipendenza, home of the Palazzo dei Normanni – the Norman Palace.

The palace has been the seat of Sicilian Kings and rulers since the Arabs built a castle there in the 9th century, and currently home to Sicily’s regional parliament.

Boats in Cefalu Sicily

Take a trip to the sea

One of the special things about Palermo is its positioning close to expansive turquoise seas. When the bustle and city heat becomes overbearing, you can easily escape to a beautiful seaside town and swap the views of crowded streets for those of rocking fishing boats.

Indeed, Oscar Wilde famously credited Palermo as “the most beautifully situated town in the world – it dreams away its life in the Conca D’Oro, the exquisite valley that lies between two seas.”

Mondello is a chic holiday resort nearby, and its easy accessibility from the city makes it a good choice for a seaside fix. The excitement of this town continues into the night, and you can spend a pleasant evening hopping from bar to restaurant and soaking up the atmosphere.

Lasari beach is another good choice for those seeking a quieter alternative.

For the patient traveller, approximately an hour’s drive can take you to some of the best beaches in Sicily: San Vito lo Capo, Riserva dello Zingaro and Tonnara di Scopello.

Alternatively, hop on a train and you can be in the charming town of Cefalù within 90 minutes. It’s worth staying here for a night or two and enjoying the slower pace of life. In this charming town, considered to be one of the prettiest in Italy, there is also history and culture at your fingertips.

To book onto one of the unique tours mentioned here, contact us and we will be delighted to help. Alternatively, allow our team of experts to craft your perfect itinerary for an unforgettable experience of Sicily’s west coast and beyond.

An invitation to experience family sharing in the Sicilian kitchen


A few kilometers from Taormina, between the Alcantara River Park and Mount Etna, stands Motta Camastra, a small village inhabited by just 600 people, which still manages to express the face of an authentic Sicily that has stood still in time.

Through the silent squares and the breathtaking views over the Alcantara Valley, the narrow and fascinating streets, the hidden corners where life passes slowly, is set a natural culinary and social experience put in place by the “Mamma del Borgo” ~ “The Mothers of the Village” which tells the story of Sicily in its simplicity and naturalness through home cooking.

In today’s economy on the margins of tourism, where employment opportunities are scarce, the young people but also the not so young, are forced to leave their origins to find a future elsewhere. However, a group of courageous, creative and enterprising women and mothers created an opportunity for themselves. They offer – with genuineness and attachment to their land and their traditions- a new way of hosting.

The project is called “Mamme del Borgo” and it combines traditional cuisine with moments of shared joy, dishes exclusively based on local products and the camaraderie and connection between local people and tourists. In fact, the goal is not only to create an employment opportunity but also to re-evaluate the area.

mamme del borgo sicily

The raw materials come from the surrounding countryside, so everything is zero kilometer. The preparation takes place inside the mothers’ home in full compliance with the principle of community sustainability, which characterizes the activity at every stage and makes it unique in its kind in Sicily. Interaction with local people is certainly one of the aspects that makes the activity engaging.

Typical products of Sicilian cuisine- including hot baked ricotta, caciocavallo, pecorino, baked peppers and stuffed aubergines, make up the appetizers. Followed by the preparation of maccheroni alla norma and arancini with wild fennel from scratch was definitely one of the most fun activities.

Considering the time and dedication required to make these dishes, they are generally only found on holidays and Sundays on Sicilian tables, which makes the experience all the more special.

Preparing macaroni is an art that has been handed down from generation to generation. Being part of this tradition, directly in the kitchens, alongside the mothers of Motta Camastra allows you to savor the pleasure of family sharing that you can only breathe in Sicilian homes.


At the end of the meal you cannot miss the dessert, the pancakes stuffed with ricotta and covered with a delicate layer of sugar. The wine served is the local one, the result of the work of the local farmers who with millenary techniques create a 100% organic product.

To make everything even more unique and wonderfully authentic- are the companions. The children of the mothers and a group of young people from the village who with naturalness, sweetness and spontaneity accompany guests along the alleys of the village, making them discover the corners that otherwise they would distractedly risk to lose. They are also the protagonists of an experience that will remain in the hearts of those who have the honor of living it.

It’s not all. Motta Camastra, with the nearby  Castello degli Schiavi and Bar Vitelli , was chosen in 1972 by Francis Ford Coppola as the shooting location for the film “The Godfather” to take on the role of Corleone.

One more reason to get to know the village that has been working tirelessly since 2016 to let anyone who reaches it experience the traditional hospitality of Sicily.