Our final destination in Italy was Sicily, where we were spending 5 days. The itinerary was 2 nights in Catania, 1 night in Syracuse, 1 night in Avola, and then back to Catania for a night before flying out to Athens.
From Naples, we flew down to Catania and arrived in the afternoon. We rented a car with Europcar right at the airport, and headed towards the city. So drivers in Sicily (and Italy in general) are CRAZY. No one seems to follow any rules and people just go where they want, when they want. I thought Toronto drivers were bad, but this was a next level kind of insanity, we got honked at for stopping at a stop sign!
Anyway, our first stop was in Catania where we were staying for 2 nights so that we could check out Mount Etna. Honestly, we were kind of staying in a sketchy area, I think it was right next to the red light district in the city haha, so we decided to stay in during the night and just make ourselves some food in the Airbnb, and get a good night's rest before driving up to Mount Etna the next day.
Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day at the top of Mount Etna, although it was really warm and sunny in the city. There was even snow at the top! I froze my butt off but being on top the volcano was super cool, although I was pretty terrified at times because it could be really steep and the rock is very loose, so it would be easy to slip and keep sliding down somewhere haha.. But I made it through with no injuries!
Syracuse, Avola, Catania
After the cold of the volcano, the next day we decided to take a break and relax at the beach (at Fontane Blanche) before our stay in Syracuse. Unfortunately, I was dumb and forgot to reapply sunscreen after going for a swim, so I got a really bad burn... I had some really unpleasant tan lines after that, and also a really hard time putting anything on my back. :( Lesson learned!
That night, we stayed in Syracuse, and decided to venture out for dinner, as Sicily is supposed to have amazing food, especially seafood! We went to a place called Mamma Iabica and it was delicious! We chose this place because the reviews said that it was authentic Sicilian food (to be honest, I do not know enough about Sicilian food to know if it was authentic or not, but it was fantastic!), and they did not have any English menus or speak much English at this place, but they really tried to help us and the service was great! The starter was a soft burrata cheese with tuna and lemon, it was really really tasty. For mains we had some pasta and fish - a full Italian meal!
The following day, we explored Syracuse! It's a cute little town, but small enough that it just took us a couple hours to walk around the city and see most of it.
After wandering around Syracuse, we headed to Avola, where we were staying for the night. After checking into our Airbnb, we went to Riserva Naturale di Vendicari, a nature reserve before finding a place to eat for dinner. At Vendicari, we saw flamingos! Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to get any good pictures. It was a nice and quiet place to walk around for a bit, but we were pretty hungry so we didn't stay too long.
Unfortunately, the next day, our final day in Italy, it was raining! We briefly walked around Avola (it's pretty small and cute) before it started pouring, and then headed back to Catania, where we were staying before we flew out to Greece the next day. I think by this time, we were quite sick of eating carb-heavy and vegetable-lacking Italian meals, so it was nice to move on to a new cuisine. I think by the time we got to Sicily, we were a little worn out as well, so it's nice that we kind of took it easy and didn't try to squish in too many places on the roadtrip. I'd definitely love to come back some day and eplore the other parts of Sicily, since we really only went along the Eastern coast, maybe in a convertible!