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Where to buy a property for sale in Sicily

Now that it’s not synonymous with the Mafia, Sicily is getting the attention it deserves from tourists and property hunters alike. It’s a large island packed full of ancient sites and sublime coastlines, and an intriguing melting pot of Arab, Greek, Spanish and Norman influences.

This diversity has produced a culture and cuisine that is more exotic than other parts of Italy, and the markets and restaurants of the bustling capital, Palermo, are a must-see for foodies.

Reached by flights to Palermo, or Catania, or ferry from Reggio Calabria on the other side of the Strait of Messina, the island also offers a fabulous climate. The year-round appeal of the island - which is full of the scent of almond blossom in January - gives it the edge over other parts of Italy,

On the mainland there's a wealth of elegant baroque and neo-classical style buildings ripe for conversion into apartments. However, English-speaking estate agents are still pretty scarce, so you are more likely to be chased up the street by an old lady trying to sell you her apartment if you make it known you are looking!

While the intrepid can find such properties for less than £150,000 an easier option is to buy a newer-build property, and there are few in Sicily, not all especially attractive.

Sciacca in the south is a popular fishing port town in Agrigento - close to Rocco Forte’s five-star beach resort - and there you might expect to get a three-bed apartment for around €225,000. More fashionable areas such as Taormina (east coast) will command higher prices. In this hotspot, you are more likely to find a good choice of villas for €2 million, should you be lucky enough to have such a budget!

Cefalu on the north coast - located between Palermo and the ferry ports for the islands in the north-east is worth a look, a buszzy little seaside town with some charming restaurants and a decent beach. Siracusa (or Syracuse) is also popular, and there you can also get a variety of options there, from apartments to small villas, for around €200,000.

Apart from the mainland - the island of and Pantelleria is especially fashionable, but also the closer Aeolian Islands (north of the island and reached by regular ferries), that include Panarea, Salina, Lipari, Stromboli.

Sicily is one for the intrepid buyer (especially one who speaks Italian) and who is happy to do plenty of research and also use a good lawyer to assist in the purchase. That said, it’s a fabulous island growing in popularity as a summer playground.

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