Location: The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo

From the streets of Palermo to the heights of Mount Etna, Sicily dazzles as a wedding destination steeped in centuries of history and tradition. Just off the “toe” of the Italian mainland, and surrounded by the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and Mediterranean seas, Sicily also includes a variety of islands prized as romantic day trip destinations, including volcanic Stromboli and exotic Pantelleria. The traditional fishing village of Cefalù, Baroque-flavored Ragusa, and the hilltop town of Taormina all await exploration during your pre- and post-wedding adventures.

Before it was part of Italy, Sicily was Roman; before that, the Greeks and Phoenicians settled here. The island’s cultural riches include the ruins of the ancient Phoenician city of Motya and the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento, founded by the Greeks more than 500 years before the birth of Christ. The center of Palermo, the capital, stands on the site of a former mosque and palace, reminders of when Arab invaders ruled the island around 1,000 A.D.

Raise a glass of locally produced marsala wine and limoncello on your wedding day; castles, villas, and churches are among your many options for ceremonies and receptions, with Taormina acclaimed as the most romantic place in Sicily. The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo captures all that is wonderful about this mountain town overlooking the sea and Mount Etna: a ceremony in one of Taormina’s many churches or town hall can be paired with a reception on the hotel terrace with its endless views. Or, exchange vows on the beach at the nearby Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, set on Mazzano Bay and just a short cable-car ride from the center of Taormina.

>Written by: Bob Curley