Here's a guide to all that's happening in Sicily this October, including some top tips from our local experts.
What's on in September >>
What to eat >>
Our top tips >>
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See what's on in Sicily in other months >>
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Festivals and events
Five Sundays, five sagre, each one dedicated to a classic autumnal speciality produced on Mount Etna: the sagra dell'uva (grapes and wine); the sagra del miele (honey); the sagra delle mele (apples); the sagra dei funghi (mushrooms); and the sagra delle castagne (chestnuts).
Where? Zafferana Etnea (Mount Etna)
When? each Sunday in October 2018
Manifesta is Europe's premier itinerant biennial of contemporary art. Every two years it moves to a new host city, where, through a series of workshops, conferences, publications, educational initiatives and exhibitions, it explores the prevailing historical and cultural identity of its temporary home and maps out a "new cultural topography". moves to a new host city, where, through a series of workshops, conferences, publications, educational initiatives and exhibitions, it explores the prevailing historical and cultural identity of its temporary home and maps out a "new cultural topography".
When? 16th June - 4th November 2018
Sagra del Pistacchio
Bronte is known for its Castello di Nelson (yes, that Nelson!) but rather more for its pistachio nuts, widely considered to be amongst the best in the world and protected by a DOP label. Come and try them in all forms - cakes, ice-cream, pasta and much more - at this wonderful tribute a humble but exceedingly tasty and versatile nut!
Where? Bronte (on the western flanks of Mount Etna)
When? 28th-30th September and 5th-7th October 2018
Le Vie dei Tesori
With over 100 sites, including unfrequented churches, lesser-spotted oratorios, unfrequented museums, private aristocratic palaces, art galleries, private terraces, gardens and courtyards, subterranean Arabic waterways, bell towers, and even ex-military airports - October's Le Vie dei Tesori opens doors to dozens of rarely visited treasures and organises over 100 guided urban walks. If you're looking for a cultural weekend break this October, there's no better place than Palermo.
Where? Palermo centre
When? every weekend between 5th October- 4th November 2018
John Turturro's production of Rigoletto
Verdi's masterpiece produced by American actor and director John Turturro.
Where? Teatro Massimo, Palermo
When? 13th - 21st October 2018
Three days of street performance, juggling and busking and much more in the delightful baroque surroundings of Ragusa Ibla.
Where? Ragusa Ibla
When? 4th - 7th October 2018
The Sleeping Beauty
Tchaikovsky's popular ballet.
Where? Teatro Massimo Bellini, Catania
When? 9th - 14th October 2018
Agrimontana | I Sapori degli Ibeli
The Iblei Mountains rise between Syracuse and Ragusa and are one of Sicily's least explored areas. In October, local specialities, from mushrooms and truffles, to sausages, cheeses and honey are celebrated over three days.
Where? Palazzolo Acreide
When? usually the middle weekend of October (2018 dates not yet confirmed)
Opunti Ficus Indica Fest
Ever eaten a prickly pear? If you head to the mountains southeast of Palermo in mid-October, you'll be able to try some, either whole, or in jams, conserves and liquor form. Alternatively, if you're on the east coast of Sicily, head to Belpasso, where they too have a love affair with fichi d'india.
Where? Roccapalumba and Belpasso
When? 19th - 21st October 2018 (Roccapalumba); 21st - 28th October 2018 (Belpasso)
Two days of street performance and music by buskers from all over the world.
Where? the Ballaro' market, Palermo
When? 19th - 21st October 2018
Autumn in the mountains means it's time for mushrooms. Locals take to the woods to pick the multiple varieties that grow on the slopes of the Madonie Mountains and this bounty is celebrated in Castelbuono.
Where? Castelbuono, in the Madonie Mountains
When? 2018 dates not yet confirmed
See what's on in Sicily in September >>
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What to eat in Sicily in October
October in Sicily is time for slightly more hearty dishes. In the mountains, mushrooms take pride of place on most menus, while warming bean, lentil, chick pea and vegetable soups are more in demand, even on the coast. As the grape harvest comes to an end, the olive harvest begins, and aromatic, freshly pressed olive oil is well worth sourcing.
In-season local ingredients
tomatoes (the last ones used to make tomato sauce)
squash and pumpkin
wild boar (in the mountains)
What to order
Funghi al forno (oven-baked mushrooms)
Zuppa di lenticchie (lentil soup)
Minestrone (vegetable soup)
Pasta con i fagioli (pasta with beans)
Pasta con salsiccia, funghi e piselli (pasta with sausage, mushrooms and peas)
Pasta con i broccoli in tegame (pasta with cauliflower, pine kernels, raisins and saffron)
Bocconcini di pesce spada all'umido (a rich swordfish stew)
Calamari ripieni (squid stuffed with breadcrumbs, aromatic herbs, cheese, raisins and pine kernels)
Stuffato di cinghiale (wild boar stew)
Bietola trifolato (chard tossed in olive oil, garlic and chili pepper)
Radicchio grigliato (grilled Italian chicory)
Dolci con i pistacchi (pistachio cakes)
Gelato di pistacchio (delicious Sicilian pistachio ice-cream)
See our definitive Sicilian recipe page >>
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Our top tips for October in Sicily
1. Take to the mountains for some excellent walking as summer turns to autumn: after a good long walk, you can restore your energies with some excellent mountain fare - roasted mushrooms, lentil soup and grilled lamb or goat.
2. Enjoy the warm sea: most beaches are now empty but the sea still retains the latent warmth of the summer sun and swimming is still a great pleasure.
3. Get out and about: October is a great month for sightseeing and visiting Sicily's plethora of world class archaeological sites and delightful, historic towns.
4. Join in the olive harvest: towards the end of October, the olive harvest begins in earnest. Many of our villas have their own olive plantations so it might be possible to take part in the harvest. It's an age-old tradition and a great way to end the agricultural year. You may even be able to take home so olive oil that you helped make.
5. Rent a villa with a heated pool: while the sea is still warm, pools may be on the chill side. This is not a problem, however, if you book one of our villas with heated pools!
See what's on in Sicily in other months >>