Plenty of sunshine and remarkably mild temperatures from October to March (not counting the snowy mountains) make Sicily a winter destination. The weather is perfect for strolling the streets of Palermo and taking in its Byzantine churches (La Martorana), grand Baroque squares (Quattro Canti) and bustling food markets (Il Capo is definitely worth a visit).
Head south-east to enjoy Taormina’s ancient theatre in blissful silence or get in the Christmas mood at Caltagirone, with its Nativity-scene displays. Perhaps the best winter jaunt is golden Syracuse and the island of Ortygia, where Greek ruins and grand palazzi crown the fabled Fountain of Arethusa, which was so beautifully hymned by John Milton and Alexander Pope.
Ortygia is just as beautiful on a cloudy, windy day—walk along the Lungomare and watch the waves crash furiously against the rocks.
Beautifully located between the Fountain of Arethusa and the Maniace Castle, a four-bedroom apartment on Ortygia enjoys magnificent sea views. €690,000 through Savills (020–7016 3740)