Be warned: if you’ve fallen under Sicily’s spell and want to make it your base for la dolce vita, understand that you are not planning a trip to Italy but a trip to Sicily. This is the largest island in the Mediterranean, just off the toe of Italy’s boot, and it’s experiencing a visitor renaissance thanks to HBO’s White Lotus.
The wry, dark comedy set its second season in the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, a heritage property perched near the hilltop town of Taormina. This former convent-turned-hotel overlooks Mount Etna and the Bay of Taormina and has welcomed the elite for decades – it is a fantastic place to stay, but it’s not the only spot. Fans of the TV show should drop by the hotel for a drink on the terrace or a meal at one of its three restaurants, but there’s so much more to explore elsewhere.
The main town of Palermo is fun to get a little lost in as you wander through the stone streets and markets in neighborhoods such as La Kalsa, Il Capo and Albergheria.
Aside from the Four Seasons, the resort town of Taormina is known for its hillside views, and culinary delights and these are best explored in the spring or fall to avoid the summer frenzy of local crowds.
History buffs must head to the Valley of the Temples in the south, where preserved Doric temples still stand as beacons to sailors, just as the Greeks intended in the 5th century. On the island’s west side, head to the top of Erice to visit a Norman castle (built over the Temple of Venus) with jaw-dropping 360-degree views.
Explore the riches of the largest Mediterranean island.