February is one of the best times for visiting Sicily as you will get the chance to experience the enigmatic and lively island at its best. Sicily’s most popular carnival is the Carnival of Sciacca, taking place on 7th -12th of February every year.
The main attraction of the carnival is the colourful Mardi Gras parade. Get involved with crowds and claim your share of sweets, wine and salami thrown by the King of the Carnival, ‘Peppe Nappa’. The last thing to watch is his exit when he appears to go up in smoke as the festivals come to an end.
Stay at Ninfea, a two-bedroom self-catering villa surrounded by acres of vineyards in the heart of Sicily’s greatest wine-producing area. Visit the thermal spa at Sciacca and the Greek ruins at Selinunte. The Valley of the Temples is also close by. One week in February starts at £1100 (sleeps 4) with www.soloSicily.com.
Other important Sicilian carnivals include Acireale in the east and Termini Imerese, a seafront town with Roman baths and aqueducts, on the island’s north coast.
Almond Blossom Festival: The annual Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore (1-10 February) is held in Agrigento against the backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage Valley of the Temples. Traditionally heralding the start of the planting season, the event has now become an international celebration, kicking off with a torch lit procession from the Temple of Concordia, and subsequently featuring traditional music, folk dancing and fireworks.
Stay at Villa Elena, a stunning six- bedroom property situated on a hill-top surrounded by olive groves near Agrigento. The house has a vast split-level living-room, a bright modern kitchen with dining area and a games room. One week in February starts at £2810 (sleeps 12) withwww.soloSicily.com Reduced prices available for lower occupancy.
A tower for two: Make it a special Valentine’s Day with a short break at the astonishingly pretty 16th century Badia Tower, just outside Marsala on west of the island. Set amidst lush gardens on the vast Badia Estate, the crenelated tower has its own private terrace and, inside, an alcove double bedroom and a living room with kitchen area that is perfect for rustling up a romantic dinner for two.
Visit Venus Castle, built on the ruins of the ancient Temple of Venus at the nearby medieval town of Erice, 800 m above sea level and with the best views of the Egadi Islands. Enjoy fresh fish at one of Marsala’s many restaurants, relish the peace and solitude on the sandy beaches of San Vito lo Capo or venture further afield to explore the fascinating Greek sites at Selinunte and Segesta.
A three-night stay in the Badia Tower in February costs from £280 (sleeps 2) with www.soloSicily.com.
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For further information, visit www.soloSicily.com