There’s plenty of sailing opportunities around the biggest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily. Most of you will recognize it better for the olive, lemon and orange orchards as well as the famous Mafiosi which came from here, but Sicily is actually a vibrant place with an interesting culture and history. Those interested in yacht charters Italy will have plenty to see and do while here.
Sea & Coast
Best described as the piece of land that sits on the tip of the boot that takes the shape of the Italian peninsula, Sicily also happens to be the largest island in the Mediterranean
and an integral part of Italy
, one of its 20 regions. Although it’s better known for its olive, lemon, orange orchards and the infamous Mafia or Cosa Nostra which originated here, Sicily somehow became a tourist destination also frequented by Yacht Charter crowds thanks to its rural countryside, its culture and cusine.
Positioned in the center of the Mediterranean, Sicily was born from volcanoes, being home to the famous Etna volcano which is still very much active, not to mention the highest point on the island at 3370m. There are 4 more mountain groups called the Sicilian Apennines stretching along the north coast, the west and the center of the island. In between these there are plateaus used by locals for cultivating anything from almonds to vines and citrons.
From a sailor’s point of view, the shoreline follows the relief of the island, with high cliffs on the north and west side, while the east and south are low, with lots of beaches and bays. This allowed the Yacht Charter industry to develop and as a result it's here you’ll find the most marinas.
Other than the endless orchards of olive trees, citrus plants and numerous vineyards, the Sicilian vegetation is also comprised of dwarf palms, oleanders, eucalyptus and pine trees, agaves, hibiscus and almonds. The most visited national parks are Mount Etna and the marshy coastline around Trapani
, populated by flamingos, always a favorite of both young and old Yacht Charter enthusiasts.
As you’d expect, the climate is essentially Mediterranean, with the famous long, sunny summers and autumns and with mild winters that still have enjoyable temperatures during the day, though the quantity of rainfall increases as the end of the year approaches. Winds like the Scirocco, the Mistral and the Levant found on other Mediterranean islands also sweep the coasts of Sicily much to the delight of Yacht Charter skippers.
Culture & History
Greeks were the first to colonize Sicily, though there are evidences of earlier people living here, establishing important trade ports like Syracuse
. It was them that first introduced the olive tree and the wine vines to the island. Under the Roman rule Sicily continued its role as granary, a testament to its rich soils. On the crumbling vestiges of the Roman empire, the Byzantines and then the Arabs moved in, with a short stint under Norman rule.
As many other islands in the region, Sicily became part of the Italian Kingdom in 1860 but that didn’t bring prosperity, on the contrary it brought on waves of emigration and the birth of the most feared crime organization, the Mafia. Sicily was also a target for an Allied invasion during WWII which led to the 1946 declaration of the Sicilian Republic. All these troubled times are now present in landmarks across the island visited by countless Yacht Charter tourists each year.
Other than the important port of Messina which acts as the link to the mainland, some other important settlements along the coast include Catania, Marsala
, the small Portorosa
and the famous Palermo
. All these are full of history, culture and not to mention first class Yacht Charter facilities.
Seamanship & Experience
It’s regarded by most seasoned Yacht Charter skippers that the best season to visit Sicily is from May to October, when not only the weather is nice and sunny but also the sea breeze blows from the northwest getting to 15-20 knots.
As with other places in the Mediterranean, tides here are very small, in some places even unnoticeable, but that doesn’t mean that tides do not occur, just that unlike in the western part of the basin where the Atlantic influences the rising tides, here in the central part Yacht Charter boatmen won’t find themselves dealing or worrying too much about this issue.