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Things You Should Know Before Visiting Sicily: The Largest Island in The Mediterranean

Things You Should Know Before Visiting Sicily: The Largest Island in The Mediterranean

A Land with An Ancient History and Rich in Natural Beauty

Generally, when talking about Italy and especially about holidays in Italy, we always think the most famous Italian cities like Rome or Naples, or the most popular monuments like the Colosseum, or the most breath-taking views as the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. However, Italy is not only this. There is a land with an ancient history and rich in natural beauty and monuments: the Sicily. Visiting Sicily means immersing yourself in a charming, rural world. In fact, this area has so much to offer, crystal clear sea, impressive monuments, history, culture, landscapes and spectacular food. But what are the best things to do in Sicily? Let’s find out.

First, Sicily has a vast territory. Among the main tourist destinations there are Palermo, Catania, Taormina, Syracuse, the Aeolian Islands, the active volcano Mount Etna. Obviously a list of things to see larger would be prohibitive for this article.

Palermo is the capital of Sicily and, with Naples, it was the most important city of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. It is a fairly big city, but not too much, things to see are certainly not lacking! Palermo is a place where it will be impossible not to fall in love with the Valley of Gold, its streets, the markets, and the traditions of this wonderful city.

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Main Places of Interest in Palermo

palermo

    The main places of interest in Palermo, of course the list is endless, are the Norman Palace, the Palatine Chapel, the Catacombs of the Capuchins, the Church of Martorana, the Cathedral of Palermo, the Teatro Massimo, and the Botanical Garden.

    Catania is a city too often snubbed by tourists and travelers, despite being very close to one of the busiest ports of Italy. Founded in 729 BC by Calcidesi, Catania has a long history characterized by various rulers whose remains enrich the artistic, architectural and cultural. Under the Aragonese dynasty, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily.

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    The Baroque of its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage, together with that of the seven municipalities of the Val di Noto (Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, and Scicli), from 2002.

    Syracuse is probably one of the most popular destinations in the beautiful Sicily.

    Syracuse is probably one of the most popular destinations in the beautiful Sicily. The history of Syracuse is really fascinating, many people marched on these lands. The Corinthians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs. It goes without saying that the places to visit and they deserve to be seen are really a lot. The Regional Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi, the Ear of Dionysius, the ancient theater of Taormina, the Castello Maniace, Cathedral of Syracuse, and Syracuse Roman amphitheater are the most important.

    But Sicily is mostly sea life, we are talking about an island. Travelers who are eager to make a nice dip in the blue are spoiled for choice. As desirable places are Taormina, because from here you can easily reach the Aeolian Islands, Lampedusa, Pantelleria. One of the best destinations for beach lovers is undoubtedly the Island of Currents.

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    The Island of The Currents is located in the southernmost tip of Sicily.

    Islands_of_the_Currents_at_Dawn_Sicily_Italy

      The name derives from the meeting point between the currents that flow in the island. The first stream of the Ionian Sea, the second of the Mediterranean Sea. The beach is much loved by those who practice windsurf, a sight not to be missed.

      Obviously, this article is not meant to be exhaustive, Sicily as well as being the southernmost Italian region is undoubtedly one of the Italian regions that have a broader offering tourist. As mentioned early, history, culture, sea, and folklore blend perfectly in this land which offer a natural and architectural spectacle without equal.

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      What to eat in Sicily?

      Probably you’re wondering what to eat in Sicily. You’ll be happy to know that the Sicilian culinary tradition is very wide, and being honest, in this country are produced some of the most popular Italian wines.

      Among the typical Sicilian dishes shine the Eggplant Parmigiana, the Sicilian Cannoli, the Sarde a Beccafico, the Almond Pastry, the Panelle and Cazzilli, Cassata Siciliana Cake, the Cartocciata Catanese and Arancine Ragout. Some names are in Italian because being typical products is virtually impossible to translate them all, but you just look at the online pictures to get your mouth watering.

      In short, Sicily is known worldwide especially for the Mafia and for the scenes of “The Godfather.” But if you’ve read this article, you have guessed that there is much more to discover, and above all, there is much good to see. Sicily is the southernmost region of Italy but it is undoubtedly a destination not to be missed in your Italian holiday.

      Featured photo credit: Sicily, Italy via mazzaroseapalace.it

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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