Country Life Every Week - - Italy’s Winter Jewels -

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.

For sale

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)

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