Gozo is much like the understated seductress Calypso, the nymph who lived hidden in a humble Gozitan cave, but could hold the Greek hero Odysseus her captive for seven years through the power of her beauty, seduction and love. Calypso even had powers over life and death, just like Gozo’s immortal Ggantija Temple that’s hailed the fertility Goddess for over 5,600 years.
The magnificent Citadel continues to tell Gozo’s ancient story, while the winding streets within the village cores ooze a unique local character. The natural beauty of the Island of Three Hills is truly astounding; Gozo has found fame with scuba divers worldwide, and her coastline will etch your memory with steep valleys, awe-inspiring cliffs and geometric saltpans.
Gozo is nothing like her cosmopolitan sister, Malta; she is simple, raw and attractive, with a peaceful demeanour and timeless charm. Gozo is all about slowing down, relishing the simple things and opening the heart. She attracts to her modest 67 km² those in search for a retreat from the hustle of modern life, with plenty on offer in terms of holistic wellness and personal-development. Many visitors are captivated such that they are unable to leave her shores, just like Odysseus.
Malta is an independent cosmopolitan lady who is well-established, well-versed and well-travelled. First inhabited in 5900 BC, she has been visited by kings and queens, knights and popes.
Her story is 7,000 years in the making, with diverse influences on her character. A Byzantine rule gave her a Semitic tongue that’s written in Latin script due to her European connections. The apostle Paul inspired no less than 313 Catholic churches within her slight 246 km² body, including gold-gilded and marble-floored cathedrals. The Knights of Malta additionally lavished Malta’s face with grand palaces, walled cities and fortresses galore.
The Great British Empire mostly influenced her customs. But Malta has an extreme nature, featuring old wisdom and modern flair. Medieval bastioned cities overlook superyachts at the marinas outside their walls. Just 16 km apart, the western coast is home to ancient megaliths (UNESCO) while the eastern coast is home to highrises and the nightlife hub.
A delightful climate, crystal waters, watersport, traditional fiestas and all kinds of entertainment add sparkles to Malta’s personality. She attracts expats and tourists from all over the world, many locals speak four or more languages, and Malta is, quite simply, the world in a basket.
Sicily is like the wild woman who belongs everywhere and nowhere. Her experience is wide and diverse, and she has assimilated a little of it all to create her own distinct character. Indeed, Sicily is far from ‘Little Italy.’
She is evidently coloured by her Greek, Byzantine and Spanish histories, to name but a few, as Sicily’s unique culture integrates the entire Mediterranean Basin. She remains autonomous even after joining Italy in 1860, and although her original tribes have mingled with Italy’s population, Sicily’s cuisine, art, architecture, and local language reflect these diverse influences. Then, her natural beauty simply adds to her charm. Her feisty nature as Mount Etna coexists with her elegance as the Greek Temples in ‘The Valley of Temples.’
She has seven wonders listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from Baroque towns to an ancient Necropolis. Other archeological sites continue to tell her ancient story, alongside commanding cathedrals, mysterious castles, and curious coastal towers that decorate her stunning coastline of sandy beaches and clear water. And while Sicily’s reputation may be tainted by the Italian Mafia, you are more likely to be captured by her delicious flavours and the warm, welcoming hearts of the locals.