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Sicily Car Hire :: Country Guide Sicily

Book your cheap car hire online for all car rental in Sicily. We have cars available at all the major locations in Italy and Sicily including all the airports and city centre locations.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, may be just a short hop from the Italian mainland, across the narrow strait of Messina. The main cities in Sicily are Palermo and Catania both of which feature some of the most exquisite architecture in the world. Sicily is blessed with continuous blue skies and temperate climate, lush vegetation and rich marine life and also within the island Mount Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano which all add to the island's appeal and increased torist activity over the last few years.

Driving in Sicily

Driving in Sicily is on the right and the wearing of seatbelts is compulsory in front and back seats. Children between 4 - 12 are not allowed in the front seat unless you use a suitable restraint system for their age. Speed limits on the motorways is 130 km/h, (110km/h when wet), 110 km/h on the main dual carriageways, (90km/h when wet). On open roads the limit is 90km/h reduced to 80km/h in rain and 50km/h in built up areas. Dipped headlights must be used when driving on motorways, in all tunnels and shortly on all open roads day or night.

Must See in Sicily

Galleria Regionale - This is Palermo's largest art museum and is devoted to medieval works. It is housed in the Gothic Palazzo Abbatellis, built in 1488.

Alghero - Of all the many architecturally beautiful and fascinating places of worship in Palermo, probably the most renowned is the 12th-century cathedral in the suburb of Monreale, high on the mountain slope about five miles (eight km) from the city centre. The dazzling cathedral is a mixture of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles, a blend of medieval Christian and Muslim architecture.

Ustica - This is an underwater city with a landscape made up of petrified black lava which are the characteristics of the unusual little island of Ustica in the Tyrrhenian Sea just a short ferry ride 36 miles (57km) north west of Palermo .

Mount Etna is essential when visiting Sicily. Etna has the longest record of historic eruptions. The first recorded eruption was in 1500 B.C. Since then Etna has erupted at least 190 times. Large eruptions are rare. Despite its appearance during eruptions, Mount Etna is not a killer volcano. Etna keeps its explosive eruptions close to the top, and its lava moves very slowly downwards giving the people a chance to escape. The Alcantara Gorge. and the woods surrounding it are actually quite small, but this scenic site on the Alcantara River off Route 185 between Taormina and Mount Etna offers a view of Etna's geological influence on the surrounding countryside. The water that flows through this basalt formation is always cool, and bathing is permitted during the summer months

Dates for Your Diary

Santa Rosalia Folklore Festival and Procession - held in Palermo in July.

Festino di Santa Rosalia - Early July - For four centuries now Palermo has celebrated Santa Rosalia, who saved the city from a terrible plague in 1600 and thus became the city's patron saint. The festival lasts for a week where the city is invaded by traveling theatrical and musical shows. The height of the celebrations is the charming procession of the monumental cart that crosses the Cassaro as far as the Marina. At the end of the religious procession, there is an amazing fireworks display.

Teatro Massimo - from October to May - The Teatro Massimo season in Palermo opens in October and includes ballet, opera and concerts with appearances by international artists.

On August 13th & 14th each year in Piazza Armenia, the people wear medieval costumes and jousting is held to remember the Norman victory in driving the Arabs from Sicily. Festivals celebrating food are held throughout Sicily. Two that should not be missed is the Festival of Almond Blossoms held during Carnival time. This traditional festival has a parade of the Sicilian carts, a parade, band concerts and fireworks. The Festival of the Sword-fish is celebrated in July. Swordfish which is abundant in this area is cooked and offered to residents of the area and tourists are encouraged to take part.