GeographySicily has a roughly triangular shape, earning it the name ''Trinacria''. To the north-east, it is separated from and the rest of the Italian mainland by the , about wide in the north, and about wide in the southern part. The northern and southern coasts are each about long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around ; total coast length is at . The total area of the island is , while the of Sicily (which includes smaller surrounding islands) has an area of . The terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of , , , , and , , are an extension of the mainland . The cone of dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower , . The mines of the and districts were part of a leading -producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some highly active volcanoes. This is due to the fact Sicily is geographically on the northern edge of the African continental plate. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions. It currently stands high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is lower now than it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the . Etna covers an area of with a basal circumference of . This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, . In , the deadly monster was trapped under the mountain by , the god of the sky. Mount Etna is widely regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily.
RiversThe island is by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the at the port of . To the east, the flows through the province of and enters the sea at , and the , which flows into the south of . Other important rivers on the island are the and Platani in the southwest.
ClimateSicily has a typical with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with very changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts, especially in the south-west, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Snow falls above 900–1000 metres, but it can fall in the hills. The interior mountains, especially , , and , enjoy a full mountain climate, with heavy snowfalls during winter. The summit of Mount Etna is usually snow-capped from October to May. On the other hand, especially in the summer, it is not unusual that there is the , the wind from the Sahara. Rainfall is scarce, and water proves deficient in some provinces where a water crisis can happen occasionally. According to the Regional Agency for Waste and Water, on 10 August 1999, the weather station of (EN) recorded a maximum temperature of . The official European record – measured by minimum/maximum thermometers – is held by Athens, Greece, which reported a maximum of in 1977. Total precipitation is highly variable, generally increasing with elevation. In general, the southern and southeast coast receives the least rainfall (less than ), and the northern and northeastern highlands the most (over ).
Flora and faunaSicily is an often-quoted example of man-made , which has occurred since Roman times, when the island was turned into an agricultural region. This gradually dried the climate, leading to a decline in rainfall and the drying of rivers. The central and southwest provinces are practically devoid of any forest. In Northern Sicily, there are three important forests; near Mount Etna, in the Bosco della Ficuzza (:it:Riserva naturale orientata Bosco della Ficuzza, Rocca Busambra, Bosco del Cappelliere e Gorgo del Drago, it) Natural Reserve near . The Nebrodi Mountains Regional Park, established on 4 August 1993 and covering , is the largest protected natural area of Sicily; and contains the largest forest in Sicily, the Caronia. The Hundred Horse Chestnut (Castagno dei Cento Cavalli), in Sant'Alfio, on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna, is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world at 2,000 – 4,000 years old. Sicily has a wide variety of fauna. Species include the European wildcat, red fox, least weasel, pine marten, roe deer, wild boar, crested porcupine, European hedgehog, common toad, ''Vipera aspis'', golden eagle, peregrine falcon, Eurasian hoopoe and black-winged stilt. The Sicilian wolf (''Canis lupus cristaldii'') was an endemic wolf Subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies that was driven to extinction in the 20th century. The Riserva naturale dello Zingaro, Zingaro Natural Reserve is one of the best examples of unspoiled coastal wilderness in Sicily. Surrounding waters including the Marine Life of the Straits of Messina, are home to varieties of birds and marine life, including larger species such as greater flamingo and fin whale.
HistoryThe name '' '' was given to the Roman province in 241 BC. It is derived from the name of the Sicels, Sikeloi, who inhabited the eastern part of the island. The ancient name of the island is ''Trinacria'' (Greek :wikt:Τρινακρία, Τρινακρία "having three headlands") for its triangular shape, likely a re-interpretation of earlier (Homeric Greek, Homeric) ''Thrinacia''. The Greek name was rendered as ''Trīnācrĭa'' in classical Latin (Virgil, Ovid).
PrehistoryThe original classical-era inhabitants of Sicily comprised three defined groups of the List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient peoples of Italy. The most prominent and by far the earliest of these, the Sicani, who (Thucydides writes) arrived from the Iberian Peninsula (perhaps Catalonia). Some modern scholars, however, suggest classifying the Sicani as possibly an Illyrians, Illyrian tribe. Important historical evidence has been discovered in the form of cave drawings by the Sicani, dated from the end of the Pleistocene epoch around 8000 BC. The arrival of the first humans on the island correlates with the extinction of the Sicilian hippopotamus and the Elephas mnaidriensis, Sicilian dwarf elephant. The Elymians, thought to have come from the area of the Aegean Sea, became the next tribe to join the Sicanians on Sicily. Recent discoveries of dolmens on the island (dating to the second half of the third millennium BC) seem to offer new insights into the culture of primitive Sicily. It is well known that the Mediterranean region went through quite intricate prehistory, so much so that it is difficult to piece together the muddle of different peoples who have followed each other. The impact of two influences is clear, however: the European one coming from the Northwest, and the Mediterranean influence of a clear eastern heritage. No evidence survives of any warring between the tribes, but the Sicanians moved eastwards when the Elymians settled in the northwest corner of the island. The Sicels are thought to have originated in Liguria; they arrived from mainland Italy in 1200 BC and forced the Sicanians to move back across Sicily and to settle in the middle of the island. Other minor Ancient peoples of Italy, Italic groups who settled in Sicily included the Ausones ( , Milazzo) and the Morgetes of Morgantina.
AntiquityThe n settlements in the western part of the island predate the arrival of Greek people, Greek colonists. From about 750 BC, the Greeks began to live in Sicily ( grc , Σικελία – ''Sikelia''), establishing many significant settlements. The most important colony was in Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse; others grew up at Agrigentum, Akragas, , Gela, Himera and Messina, Zancle. The native Sicani and Sicel peoples became Cultural assimilation, absorbed into the Ancient Greece, Hellenic culture with relative ease, and the area became part of ''Magna Graecia'' - along with the coasts of the southern Italy, south of the Italian peninsula, which the Greeks had also colonised. Sicily had very fertile soils, and the successful introduction of olives and grape vines fostered a great deal of profitable trading. Culture of Greece, Greek culture significantly included Religion in ancient Greece, Greek religion, and the settlers built many Ancient Greek temple, temples throughout Sicily, including several in the ''Valley of the Temples'' at . Politics on the island became intertwined with those of Greece; Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse became desired by the Athenians who set out on the Sicilian Expedition (415–413 BC) during the Peloponnesian War. Syracuse gained Sparta and Ancient Corinth, Corinth as allies and, as a result, defeated the Athenian expedition. The victors destroyed the Athenian army and their ships, selling most of the survivors into Slavery in ancient Greece, slavery. Greek Syracuse controlled eastern Sicily while Carthage controlled the West. The two cultures began to clash, leading to the Greek-Punic wars (between 580 and 265 BC). The Greek states had begun to make peace with the Roman Republic in 262 BC, and the Romans sought to Annexation, annex Sicily as their republic's first Roman province, province. Rome attacked Carthage's holdings in Sicily in the First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) and won, making Sicily the first Roman province outside of the by 242 BC. In the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC), the Carthaginians attempted to recapture Sicily. Some of the Greek cities on the island sided with the Carthaginians. Archimedes, who lived in Syracuse, helped the Carthaginians, Roman troops killed him after they invaded Syracuse in 213 BC. The Carthaginian attempt failed, and Rome was even more unrelenting in its annihilation of the invaders this time; Roman consul Marcus Valerius Laevinus, M. Valerian told the Roman Senate in 210 BC that "no Carthaginian remains in Sicily". As the Roman Republic's granary, Sicily ranked as an important province, divided into two quaestor ships: Syracuse to the east and Lilybaeum to the west. Some attempt was made under Augustus (Roman Emperor from 27 BC to 14 AD) to introduce the Latin language to the island, but Sicily was allowed to remain largely Greek in a cultural sense. The once prosperous and contented island went into sharp decline when Verres became governor of Sicily (73 to 71 BC). In 70 BC noted figure Cicero condemned the misgovernment of Verres in his oration ''In Verrem''. Various groups used the island as a power base at different times: slave insurgents occupied it during the first Servile War, First (135−132 BC) and Second Servile War, Second (104−100 BC) Servile Wars, and Sextus Pompey had his headquarters there during the War between Sextus Pompey and the Second Triumvirate, Sicilian revolt of 44 to 36 BC. Christianity first appeared in Sicily during the years following AD 200; between this time and AD 313, when Emperor Constantine I, Constantine the Great finally lifted the prohibition on Christianity, a significant number of Sicilians had become martyrs, including Agatha of Sicily, Agatha, Saint Christina of Bolsena, Christina, Saint Lucy, Lucy, and Euplius. Christianity grew rapidly in Sicily over the next two centuries. Sicily remained a Roman province for around 700 years.
Germanic rule (469-535)The Western Roman Empire began falling apart after the great invasion of , Alans, and Sueves Crossing of the Rhine, across the Rhine on the last day of 406. Eventually the Vandals, after roaming about western and southern Hispania (present-day Iberia) for 20 years, moved to North Africa in 429. They occupied Carthage in 439. (The Franks moved south from present-day Belgium. The Visigoths moved west and eventually settled in Aquitaine in 418; the Burgundians settled in present-day Savoy in 443). The Vandals found themselves in a position to threaten Sicily - only 100 miles away from their North African bases. After taking Carthage the Vandals, personally led by King Gaiseric, laid siege to Palermo in 440 as the opening act in an attempt to wrest the island from Roman rule. The Vandals made another attempt to take the island one year after the 455 sack of Rome, at Agrigento, but were defeated decisively by Ricimer, Ricimir in a Battle of Corsica, naval victory off Corsica in 456. The island remained under Roman rule until 469. The Vandals lost possession of the island 8 years later in 477 to the Germanic peoples, East Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths, who then controlled Italy and Dalmatia. The island was returned for payment of tribute to Odoacer, king of the Ostrogoths. He ruled Italy from 476 to 488 in the name of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor. The Vandals kept a toehold in Lilybaeum, a port on the west coast. They lost this in 491 after making one last attempt to conquer the island from this port. The Ostrogoths, Ostrogothic conquest of Sicily (and of Italy as a whole) under Theodoric the Great began in 488. The Byzantine Emperor Zeno (emperor), Zeno had appointed Theodoric as a military commander in Italy. The Goths were Germanic, but Theodoric fostered Roman culture and government and allowed freedom of religion. In 461 from the age of seven or eight until 17 or 18 Theodoric had become a Byzantine hostage; he resided in the great palace of Constantinople, was favored by Emperor Leo I (emperor), Leo I () and learned to read and write and do arithmetic.
Byzantine period (535–965)After taking areas occupied by the Vandals in North Africa, Justinian decided to retake Italy as an ambitious attempt to recover the lost provinces in the West. The re-conquests marked an end to over 150 years of accommodationist policies with tribal invaders. His first target was Sicily (known as the Gothic War (535–554) began between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the ). His general Belisarius was assigned the task. Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples, Rome, Milan. It took five years before the Ostrogoth capital Ravenna fell in 540. However, the new Ostrogoth king Totila counterattacked, moving down the Italian peninsula, plundering and conquering Sicily in 550. Totila was defeated and killed in the Battle of Taginae by Byzantine general Narses in 552 but Italy was in ruins. At the time of the reconquest Greek was still the predominant language spoken on the island. Sicily was invaded by the Rashidun army, Arab forces of Uthman Ibn Affan, Caliph Uthman in 652, but the Arabs failed to make any permanent gains. They returned to Syria with their booty. Raids seeking loot continued until the mid-8th century. The Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II (Byzantine Empire), Constans II decided to move from Constantinople to Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse in 660. The following year he launched an assault from Sicily against the Lombardy, Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which occupied most of southern Italy. Rumors that the capital of the empire was to be moved to Syracuse probably cost Constans his life, as he was assassinated in 668. His son Constantine IV succeeded him. A brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius was quickly suppressed by this emperor. Contemporary accounts report that the Greek language was widely spoken on the island during this period. In 740 Emperor Leo III the Isaurian transferred Sicily from the jurisdiction of the church of Rome to that of Constantinople, placing the island within the eastern branch of the Church. In 826 Euphemius (Sicily), Euphemius, the Byzantine commander in Sicily, having apparently killed his wife, forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered general Constantine to end the marriage and cut off Euphemius' head. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine, and then occupied Syracuse; he, in turn, was defeated and driven out to North Africa. He offered the rule of Sicily to Ziyadat Allah I of Aghlabids, Ziyadat Allah, the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia, in return for a position as a general and a place of safety. A Muslim conquests, Muslim army was then sent to the island consisting of s, Berber people, Berbers, Cretans, and Persian people, Persians. The Muslim conquest of Sicily was a see-saw affair and met with fierce resistance. It took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered; the largest city, Syracuse, held out until 878 and the Greek city of Taormina fell in 962. It was not until 965 that all of Sicily was conquered by the Arabs. In the 11th-century Byzantine armies carried out a partial reconquest of the island under George Maniakes, but it was their italo-Norman, Norman mercenaries who would eventually complete the island's reconquest at the end of the century.
Arab Period (827–1091)The Arabs Arab Agricultural Revolution, initiated land reforms, which increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, undermining the dominance of the latifundium, latifundia. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems. The language spoken in Sicily under Arab rule was Siculo-Arabic and Influence of Arabic on other languages, Arabic influence is still present in some Sicilian words today. Although long extinct in Sicily, the language has developed into what is now the Maltese language on the islands of Malta today. A description of was given by Ibn Hawqal, an History of Islamic economics, Arab merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb, called the Al-Kasr (the palace), is the centre of Palermo to this day, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of al-Khalisa (modern Kalsa) contained the Sultan's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqal reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops. Palermo was initially ruled by the Aghlabids; later it was the centre of Emirate of Sicily under the nominal suzerainty of the Fatimid Caliphate. During the reign of this dynasty revolts by Byzantine Sicilians continuously occurred especially in the east where Greek-speaking Christians predominated. Parts of the island were re-occupied before revolts were being quashed. During Muslim rule agricultural products such as oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugarcane were brought to Sicily. Under the Arab rule the island was divided in three valli of Sicily, three administrative regions, or "vals", roughly corresponding to the three "points" of Sicily: Val di Mazara in the west; Val Demone in the northeast; and Val di Noto in the southeast. As dhimmis, that is as members of a protected class of approved monotheists the Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Christians were allowed freedom of religion, but had to pay a tax, the jizya (in lieu of the obligatory alms tax, the zakat, paid by Muslims), and were restricted from active participation in public affairs. The began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarreling fractured the Muslim regime. During this time, there was also a small Jewish presence.
Norman Sicily (1038–1198)In 1038, seventy years after losing their last cities in Sicily, the Byzantines under the Greek general George Maniakes invaded the island together with their Varangian guard, Varangian and mercenaries. Maniakes was killed in a Byzantine civil war in 1043 before completing a reconquest and the Byzantines withdrew. The Normans invaded in 1061."Italy during the Crusades – Sicily under the Normans"
Kingdom of SicilyRoger died in 1101. His wife Adelaide del Vasto, Adelaide ruled until 1112 when their son Roger II of Sicily came of age. Having succeeded his brother Simon of Sicily, Simon as Count of Sicily, Roger II was ultimately able to raise the status of the island to a kingdom in 1130, along with his other holdings, which included the Maltese Islands and the Duchies of Duchy of Apulia, Apulia and Duchy of Calabria, Calabria. Roger II appointed the powerful Greek George of Antioch to be his "emir of emirs" and continued the syncretism of his father. During this period, the Kingdom of Sicily was prosperous and politically powerful, becoming one of the wealthiest states in all of Europe—even wealthier than the Kingdom of England. The court of Roger II became the most luminous centre of culture in the Mediterranean, both from Europe and the Middle East, like the multi-ethnic Caliphate of Córdoba, then only just eclipsed. This attracted scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and artisans of all kinds. Laws were issued in the language of the community to whom they were addressed in Norman Sicily, at the time when the culture was still heavily Arab and Greek. Governance was by rule of law which promoted justice. Muslims, Jews, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards, and Normans worked together fairly amicably. During this time many extraordinary buildings were constructed."Norman Sicily of the 12th Century"
Italian unificationThe led by captured Sicily in 1860, as part of the . The conquest started at Marsala, and native Sicilians joined him in the capture of the southern Italian peninsula. Garibaldi's march was completed with the Siege of Gaeta (1861), Siege of Gaeta, where the final Bourbons were expelled and Garibaldi announced his dictatorship in the name of Victor Emanuel II of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia. Sicily became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia after a referendum where more than 75% of Sicily voted in favour of the annexation on 21 October 1860 (but not everyone was allowed to vote). As a result of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, Sicily became part of the kingdom on 17 March 1861. The Sicilian economy (and the wider ''mezzogiorno'' economy) remained relatively underdeveloped after the , in spite of the strong investments made by the Kingdom of Italy in terms of modern infrastructure, and this caused an unprecedented Italian diaspora, wave of emigration. In 1894, organisations of workers and peasants known as the ''Fasci Siciliani'' protested against the bad social and economic conditions of the island, but they were suppressed in a few days. The 1908 Messina earthquake, Messina earthquake of 28 December 1908 killed more than 80,000 people. This period was also characterized by the first contact between the Sicilian mafia (the crime syndicate also known as Cosa Nostra) and the Italian government. The Mafia's origins are still uncertain, but it is generally accepted that it emerged in the 18th century initially in the role of private enforcers hired to protect the property of landowners and merchants from the groups of bandits (''Briganti'') who frequently pillaged the countryside and towns. The battle against the Mafia made by the Kingdom of Italy was controversial and ambiguous. The Carabinieri (the military police of Italy) and sometimes the Regio Esercito, Italian army were often involved in terrible fights against the mafia members, but their efforts were frequently useless because of the secret cooperation between the mafia and local government and also because of the weakness of the Italian judicial system.
20th and 21st centuriesIn the 1920s, the Italian fascism, Fascist regime began a stronger military action against the Mafia, which was led by prefect Cesare Mori, who was known as the "Iron Prefect" because of his iron-fisted campaigns. This was the first time in which an operation against the Sicilian mafia ended with considerable success. There was an Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II starting on 10 July 1943. In preparation for the invasion, the Allies Collaborations between the United States government and Italian Mafia, revitalised the Mafia to aid them. The invasion of Sicily contributed to the 25 Luglio, 25 July crisis; in general, the Allied victors were warmly embraced by Sicily. Italy Birth of the Italian Republic, became a Republic in 1946 and, as part of the Constitution of Italy, Sicily was one of the five Regions of Italy, regions given special status as an . Both the partial Italian land reform and special funding from the Italian government's ''Cassa per il Mezzogiorno'' (Fund for the South) from 1950 to 1984 helped the Sicilian economy. During this period, the economic and social condition of the island was generally improved thanks to important investments on infrastructures such as motorways and airports, and thanks to the creation of important industrial and commercial areas. In the 1980s, the Mafia was deeply weakened by a second important campaign led by magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Between 1990 and 2005, the unemployment rate fell from about 23% to 11%. The Cosa Nostra has traditionally been the most powerful group in Sicily, especially around Palermo. A police investigation in summer 2019 also confirmed strong links between the Palermo area Sicilian Mafia and American organized crime, particularly the Gambino crime family. According to ''La Repubblica'', "Off they go, through the streets of Passo di Rigano, Boccadifalco, Torretta and at the same time, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey. Because from Sicily to the US, the old mafia has returned".
DemographicsAbout five million people live in Sicily, making it the List of regions of Italy#List of regions, fourth most populated region in Italy. In the first century after the , Sicily had one of the most negative net migration rates among the regions of Italy because of the emigration of millions of people to Northern Italy, other European countries, North America, South America and Australia. Like the South of Italy and Sardinia, immigration to the island is very low compared to other regions of Italy because workers tend to head to Northern Italy instead, due to better employment and industrial opportunities. According to Istituto Nazionale di Statistica, ISTAT figures from 2017, show around 175,000 immigrants out of the total 5,029,615 population; Romanians with more than 50,000 make up the most immigrants, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankans, Albanians, and others mostly from Eastern Europe. As in the rest of Italy, the official language is Italian and the primary religion is Roman Catholicism.
EmigrationItalian emigration started shortly after the and has not stopped ever since. After the , Sicily, along with the entire Italian peninsula, has also been strongly marked by Forced displacement, coerced emigration. Most of the assets of the 's former national bank, ''Banco di Napoli, Banco delle Due Sicilie'', were transferred to Piedmont. During the first decades of Risorgimento, a rising number of southern Italian manufactories were driven into ruin due to high taxation imposed by the central government. Furthermore, an embargo imposed on goods coming from southern Italian manufacturers, that effectively barred them from exporting to the north and abroad, were also key factors that led to further impoverishment of the entire region. The aforementioned factors, along with a failed land reform, resulted in a never-before-seen wave of Sicilians emigrating, first to the United States between the 1880s and the 1920s, later to Northern Italy, and from the 1960s onwards also to Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, as well as Australia and South America. Today, Sicily is the Italian region with the highest number of expatriates: as of 2017, 750,000 Sicilians, 14.4% of the island's population, lived abroad. For lack of employment, every year many Sicilians, especially young graduates, still leave the island to seek jobs abroad. Today, an estimated 10 million people of Sicilian origins live around the world.
Largest citiesThese are the ten largest cities of Sicily:
ReligionAs in most Italian regions, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religious denomination in Sicily, and the church still plays an important role in the lives of most people. There is also a notable small minority of Eastern-rite Byzantine Catholics which has a mixed congregation of ethnic Albanians; it is operated by the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Most people still attend church weekly or at least for religious festivals, and many people get married in churches. There was a wide presence of Jews in Sicily for at least 1,400 years and possibly for more than 2,000 years. Some scholars believe that the Sicilian Jewry are partial ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews. However, much of the Jewish community faded away when they were Expulsion of the Jews from Sicily, expelled from the island in 1492. Islam was present during the , although Muslims were also expelled. Today, mostly due to immigration to the island, there are also several religious minorities, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. There are also a fair number of evangelicalism, evangelical Christians who live on the island.
PoliticsThe politics of Sicily takes place in a framework of a presidential system, presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The capital of Sicily is . Traditionally, Sicily votes for centre-right parties during elections. From 1943-51, there was also a separatism, separatist political party called Sicilian Independence Movement (''Movimento Indipendentista Siciliano'', MIS). Their most successful result was at the Italian general election, 1946, 1946 general election, when MIS obtained 0.7% of national votes (8.8% of votes in Sicily), and four seats. However, the movement lost all their seats following the Italian general election, 1948, 1948 general election and the 1951 regional election. Even though it has never been formally disbanded, today the movement is no longer part of the politics of Sicily. After World War II, Sicily became a stronghold of the Christian Democracy (Italy), Christian Democracy, in opposition to the Italian Communist Party. The Italian Communist Party, Communists and their successors (the Democratic Party of the Left, the Democrats of the Left and the present-day Democratic Party (Italy), Democratic Party) had never won any seats in the region until Sicilian regional election, 2012, 2012. Sicily is now governed by a centre-right coalition. Nello Musumeci is the current President and has served since 2017.
Administrative divisionsAdministratively, Sicily is divided into nine provinces, each with a capital city of the same name as the province. Small surrounding islands are also part of various Sicilian provinces: the (Messina), isle of Ustica (Palermo), (Trapani), isle of (Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).
EconomyThanks to the regular growth of the last years, Sicily is the eighth largest regional economy of Italy in terms of total GDP (see List of Italian regions by GDP (PPP), List of Italian regions by GDP). A series of reforms and investments on agriculture such as the introduction of modern irrigation systems have made this important industry competitive. In the 1970s there was a growth of the industrial sector through the creation of some factories. In recent years the importance of the service industry has grown for the opening of several shopping malls and for modest growth of financial and telecommunication activities. Tourism is an important source of wealth for the island thanks to its natural and historical heritage. Today Sicily is investing a large amount of money on structures of the hospitality industry, in order to make tourism more competitive. However, Sicily continues to have a GDP per capita below the Italian average and higher unemployment than the rest of Italy. This difference is mostly caused by the negative influence of the Mafia that is still active in some areas although it is much weaker than in the past.
AgricultureSicily has long been noted for its fertile soil due to volcanic eruptions. The local agriculture is also helped by the pleasant climate of the island. The main agricultural products are wheat, Diamante citron, citrons, oranges ''(Blood orange, Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP)'', lemons, tomatoes ''(Pomodoro di Pachino, Pomodoro di Pachino IGP)'', olives, olive oil, artichokes, Opuntia ficus-indica, prickly pear ''(Fico d'India dell' DOP)'', almonds, grapes, pistachios ''(Pistacchio di Bronte, Sicily, Bronte DOP)'' and wine. Cattle and sheep are raised. The cheese productions are particularly important thanks to the Ragusano cheese, Ragusano DOP and the Pecorino Siciliano, Pecorino Siciliano DOP. Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa is noted for its honey (''Miele Ibleo'') and chocolate (''Cioccolato di Modica IGP'') productions.economia-sicilia
Industry and manufacturingImprovements in Sicily's road system have helped to promote industrial development. The region has three important industrial districts: * '' Industrial District'', where there are several food industries and one of the best European electronics industry centres called ''Etna Valley'' (in honour of the best known Silicon Valley) which contains offices and factories of international companies such as STMicroelectronics and Numonyx; * ''Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse Petrochemical District'' with chemical industry, chemical industries, oil refineries and important power stations (as the innovative Archimede combined cycle power plant); * the latest '' Industrial District'' in which there are food industries. In there are important shipyards (such as Fincantieri), Mechanical engineering, mechanical factories of famous Italian companies as Ansaldo Breda, publishing and textile industries. chemical industry, Chemical industries are also in the Province of Messina (Milazzo) and in the Province of Caltanissetta (Gela). There are petroleum, natural gas and asphalt fields in the Southeast (mostly near Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa) and massive deposits of halite in Central Sicily. The Province of Trapani is one of the largest sea salt producers in Italy.
GDP growthA table showing Sicily's different GDP (nominal and per capita) growth between 2000 and 2008:
Economic sectorsAfter the table which shows Sicily's GDP growth, this table shows the sectors of the Sicilian economy in 2006:
Unemployment rateThe unemployment rate stood at 21.5% in 2018 and was one of the highest in Italy and Europe.
RoadsHighways have been built and expanded in the last four decades. The most prominent Sicilian roads are the motorways (known as ) in the north of the island. Much of the motorway network is elevated on pillars due to the island's mountainous terrain. Other main roads in Sicily are the ''Strade Statali'', such as the SS.113 that connects Trapani to Messina (via Palermo), the SS.114 Messina-Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse (via Catania) and the SS.115 Syracuse-Trapani (via Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa, Gela and ).
RailwaysThe first railway in Sicily was opened in 1863 (Palermo-Bagheria) and today all of the Sicilian provinces are served by a network of railway services, linking to most major cities and towns; this service is operated by Trenitalia. Of the of railway tracks in use, over 60% has been Railway electrification system, electrified whilst the remaining are serviced by Dieselisation, diesel engines. 88% of the lines (1.209 km) are single-track and only are double-track serving the two main routes, Messina-Palermo (Tyrrhenian Sea, Tyrrhenian) and Messina-Catania-Syracuse (Ionian Sea, Ionian), which are the main lines of this region. Of the narrow-gauge railways the Ferrovia Circumetnea is the only one that still operates, going round . From the major cities of Sicily, there are services to Naples, Rome and Milan; this is achieved by the trains being loaded onto ferries which cross the Strait. In there is an Rapid transit, underground railway service (metropolitana di Catania); in the national railway operator Trenitalia operates a commuter rail (Palermo metropolitan railway service), the Sicilian Capital is also served by 4 AMAT (Comunal Public Transport Operator) tramlines; is served by a Trams in Messina, tramline.
AirportsMainland Sicily has several airports that serve numerous Italian and European destinations and some extra-European. * Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, located on the east coast, is the busiest on the island (and one of the busiest in all of Italy). * Palermo International Airport, which is also a substantially large airport with many national and international flights. * Trapani-Birgi Airport, a military-civil joint-use airport (third for traffic on the island). Recently the airport has seen an increase in traffic thanks to a low-cost carrier. * Comiso Airport, Comiso-Ragusa Airport, has recently been refurbished and re-converted from military use to a civil airport. It was opened to commercial traffic and general aviation on 30 May 2013. * Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport is the old airport of Palermo and is currently used for general aviation and as a base for the Guardia di Finanza and police helicopters. * Naval Air Station Sigonella, NAS Sigonella Airport, it is an Italian Air Force and US Navy installation. * Lampedusa Airport. * Pantelleria Airport.
PortsBy sea, Sicily is served by several ferry routes and cargo ports, and in all major cities, cruise ships dock on a regular basis. * Mainland Italy: Ports connecting to the mainland are (route to Villa San Giovanni and Salerno), the busiest passenger port in Italy, (routes to Genoa, Civitavecchia and Naples) and (route to Naples). * Sicily's small surrounding islands: The port of Milazzo serves the , the ports of Trapani and Marsala the and the port of Porto Empedocle the Pelagie Islands. From Palermo there is a service to the island of Ustica and to Sardinia. * International connections: From Palermo and Trapani there are weekly services to Tunisia and there is also a daily service between Malta and Port of Pozzallo, Pozzallo. * Commercial and cargo ports: The port of Augusta, Sicily, Augusta is the fifth-largest cargo port in Italy and handles tonnes of goods. Other major cargo ports are Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Port of Pozzallo, Pozzallo and Termini Imerese. * Touristic ports: Several ports along the Sicilian coast are in the service of private boats that need to moor on the island. The main ports for this traffic are in Marina di Ragusa, Riposto, Portorosa, Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse, Cefalù and Sciacca. In Sicily, Palermo is also a major centre for boat rental, with or without crew, in the Mediterranean. * Fishing ports: Like all islands, Sicily also has many fishing ports. The most important is in Mazara del Vallo followed by Castellamare del Golfo, , Scoglitti and Portopalo di Capo Passero.
Planned bridgePlans for a bridge linking Sicily to the mainland have been discussed since 1865. Throughout the last decade, plans were developed for a road and rail link to the mainland via what would be the world's longest suspension bridge, the Strait of Messina Bridge. Planning for the project has experienced several false starts over the past few years. On 6 March 2009, Silvio Berlusconi's government declared that the construction works for the Messina Bridge will begin on 23 December 2009, and announced a pledge of €1.3 billion as a contribution to the bridge's total cost, estimated at €6.1 billion. The plan has been criticized by environmental associations and some local Sicilians and Calabrians, concerned with its environmental impact, economical sustainability and even possible infiltrations by organized crime.
TourismSicily's sunny, dry climate, scenery, cuisine, history, and architecture attract many tourists from mainland Italy and abroad. The tourist season peaks in the summer months, although people visit the island all year round. , the beaches, the archaeological sites, and major cities such as , , Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse and Ragusa, Sicily, Ragusa are the favourite tourist destinations, but the old town of Taormina and the neighbouring seaside resort of draw visitors from all over the world, as do the , , Castellammare del Golfo, Cefalù, , the Pelagie Islands and Capo d'Orlando. The last features some of the best-preserved temples of the ancient Greek period. Many Mediterranean cruise ships stop in Sicily, and many wine tourists also visit the island. Some scenes of several Hollywood and Cinecittà films were shot in Sicily. This increased the attraction of Sicily as a tourist destination.
UNESCO World Heritage SitesThere are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Sicily. By the order of inscription: * Valle dei Templi (1997) is one of the most outstanding examples of Magna Graecia, Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The site is located in . * Villa Romana del Casale (1997) is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about outside the town of Piazza Armerina. It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world.R. J. A. Wilson: ''Piazza Armerina''. In: Akiyama, Terakazu (Ed.): ''The dictionary of Art. Vol. 24: Pandolfini to Pitti.'' Oxford 1998, . * (2000) are a Volcano, volcanic archipelago in the , named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The Aeolian Islands are a tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually. * Val di Noto, Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (2002) "represent the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe". It includes several towns: Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, , Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa and Scicli. * (2005) is a large Necropolis in Sicily with over 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres and architecture. They are situated in south-eastern Sicily. * (2013) is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity and generated myths, legends and naturalistic observation from Greek, Celts and Roman classic and medieval times. * Arab-Norman and the cathedral churches of Cefalù and Monreale; includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130–1194)
Tentative Sites* Taormina, Taormina and Isola Bella; * Motya and Marsala, Libeo Island: The Phoenician-Punic Civilisation in Italy; * Scala dei Turchi; * .
Archeological sitesBecause many different cultures settled, dominated or invaded the island, Sicily has a huge variety of archaeological sites. Also, some of the most notable and best preserved temples and other structures of the Greek world are located in Sicily.. Here is a short list of the major archaeological sites: * Sicels/Sicans/Elymians/Greeks: Segesta, Eryx (Sicily), Eryx, Ispica, Cava Ispica, Thapsos, Pantalica; * Greeks: Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse, , Segesta, , Gela, Kamarina, Sicily, Kamarina, Himera, Megara Hyblaea, Naxos (Sicily), Naxos, Heraclea Minoa; * Phoenicians: Motya, Soluntum, Marsala, ; * Romans: Piazza Armerina, Centuripe, Taormina, ; * Arabs: , Mazara del Vallo. The excavation and restoration of one of Sicily's best known archaeological sites, the in Agrigento, was at the direction of the archaeologist Domenico Lo Faso Pietrasanta, Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta, Fifth Duke of Serradifalco, known in archaeological circles simply as ''"Serradifalco"''. He also oversaw the restoration of ancient sites at Segesta, , Syracuse, Sicily, Siracusa and Taormina.
CastlesIn Sicily there are hundreds of castles, the most relevant are:
Coastal towersThe Coastal towers in Sicily (''Torri costiere della Sicilia'') are 218 old watchtowers along the coast. In Sicily, the first coastal towers date back to 1313 and 1345 of the Aragonese monarchy. From 1360 the threat came from the south, from North Africa to Maghreb, mainly to Barbary pirates and corsairs of Barbary Coast. In 1516, the Turks settled in Algiers, and from 1520, the corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa under the command of Ottoman Empire, operated from that harbor. Most existing towers were built on architectural designs of the Florentine architect Camillo Camilliani from  to 1584 and involved the coastal periple of Sicily. The typology changed completely in '800, because of the new higher fire volumes of cannon vessels, the towers were built on the type of Martello towers that the British built in the UK and elsewhere in the British Empire. The decline of Mediterranean piracy caused by the Second Barbary War led to a smaller number of coastal towers built during the 19th Century.
CultureSicily has long been associated with the arts; many poets, writers, philosophy, philosophers, intellectuals, architects and painters have roots on the island. The history of prestige in this field can be traced back to Greek philosopher Archimedes, a Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse native who has gone on to become renowned as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Gorgias and Empedocles are two other highly noted early Sicilian-Greek philosophers, while the Syracusan-Greek Epicharmus of Kos, Epicharmus is held to be the inventor of comedy.
Art and architectureBaglio (:it:Baglio, it) are traditional living structures in Western Sicily.
CeramicsTerracotta ceramics (art), ceramics from the island are well known, the art of ceramics on Sicily goes back to the original ancient peoples named the Sicanians, it was then perfected during the period of Greek colonisation and is still prominent and distinct to this day. Nowadays, Caltagirone is one of the most important centres in Sicily for the artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Famous painters include Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina, Bruno Caruso, Renato Guttuso and Greek born Giorgio de Chirico who is commonly dubbed the "father of Surrealist art" and founder of the metaphysical art movement. The most noted architects are Filippo Juvarra (one of the most important figures of the Italian Baroque) and Ernesto Basile.
Sicilian BaroqueThe Sicilian Baroque has a unique architectural identity. Noto, Caltagirone, , Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and particularly Acireale contain some of Italy's best examples of Baroque architecture, carved in the local red sandstone. Noto provides one of the best examples of the Baroque architecture brought to Sicily. The Baroque style in Sicily was largely confined to buildings erected by the church, and palazzo, palazzi built as private residences for the Sicilian aristocracy. The earliest examples of this style in Sicily lacked individuality and were typically heavy-handed pastiches of buildings seen by Sicilian visitors to Rome, Florence, and Naples. However, even at this early stage, provincial architects had begun to incorporate certain vernacular features of Sicily's older architecture. By the middle of the 18th century, when Sicily's Baroque architecture was noticeably different from that of the mainland, it typically included at least two or three of the following features, coupled with a unique freedom of design that is more difficult to characterize in words.
Music and filmhosts the Teatro Massimo which is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe. In there is another important opera house, the Teatro Massimo Bellini with 1,200 seats, which is considered one of the best European opera houses for its acoustics. Sicily's composers vary from Vincenzo Bellini, Sigismondo d'India, Giovanni Pacini and Alessandro Scarlatti, to contemporary composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino and Silvio Amato. Many award-winning and acclaimed films of Italian cinema have been filmed in Sicily, amongst the most noted of which are: Luchino Visconti, Visconti's ''"La Terra Trema"'' and ''"Il Gattopardo"'', Pietro Germi's ''"Divorce, Italian Style, Divorzio all'Italiana''" and ''"Seduced and Abandoned, Sedotta e Abbandonata''".
LiteratureThe golden age of Sicilian poetry began in the early 13th century with the Sicilian School of Giacomo da Lentini, which was highly influential on Italian literature. Some of the most noted figures among writers and poets are Luigi Pirandello (Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel laureate, 1934), Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel laureate, 1959), Giovanni Verga (the father of the ''Italian Verismo (literature), Verismo''), Domenico Tempio, Giovanni Meli, Luigi Capuana, Mario Rapisardi, Federico de Roberto, Leonardo Sciascia, Vitaliano Brancati, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Elio Vittorini, Vincenzo Consolo and Andrea Camilleri (noted for his novels and short stories with the fictional character Salvo Montalbano, Inspector Salvo Montalbano as protagonist). On the political side notable philosophers include Gaetano Mosca and Giovanni Gentile who wrote ''The Doctrine of Fascism''. In terms of academic reflection, the historical and aesthetic richness as well as the multi-layered heterogeneity of Sicilian literature and culture have been first grasped methodologically and coined with the term of Transculturation, transculturality by Germans, German scholar of Italian studies Dagmar Reichardt who, after having published an extensive study on the literary work of Giuseppe Bonaviri, was awarded the International Premio Flaiano ("Italianistica") for a trilingual (English, Italian, German) collection about the European liminality of Sicily, Sicilian literature and Sicilian Studies.
LanguageToday in Sicily most people are bilingual and speak both Italian and Sicilian language, Sicilian, a distinct and historical Romance languages, Romance language. Some of the Sicilian language, Sicilian words are loan words from Greek language, Greek, Catalan language, Catalan, French, Arabic language, Arabic, Spanish and other languages. Dialects related to Sicilian are also spoken in and Apulia, Salento; it had a significant influence on the Maltese language. However the use of Sicilian language, Sicilian is limited to informal contexts (mostly in family) and in a majority of cases it is replaced by the so-called ''regional Italian of Sicily'', an Regional Italian, Italian dialect that is a kind of mix between Italian and Sicilian. Sicilian was an early influence in the development of the first Italian standard, although its use remained confined to an intellectual elite. This was a literary language in Sicily created under the auspices of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II and his court of notaries, or ''Magna Curia'', which, headed by Giacomo da Lentini, also gave birth to the Sicilian School, widely inspired by troubadour literature. Its linguistic and poetic heritage was later assimilated into the Florentine by Dante Alighieri, the father of modern Italian who, in his , claims that "In effect, this vernacular seems to deserve higher praise than the others since all the poetry written by Italians can be called Sicilian". It is in this language that appeared the first sonnet, whose invention is attributed to Giacomo da Lentini himself.
Sciencehas one of the four laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (National Institute for Nuclear Physics) in which there is a cyclotron that uses protons both for nuclear physics experiments and for particle therapy to treat cancer (proton therapy). Noto has one of the largest radio telescopes in Italy that performs geodetic and astronomical observations. There are observatories in and , managed by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (National Institute for Astrophysics). In the ''Observatory of Palermo'' the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first and the largest asteroid to be identified Ceres (dwarf planet), Ceres (today considered a dwarf planet) on 1 January 1801; has two observatories, one of which is situated on at . Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse is also an experimental centre for the solar technologies through the creation of the project Archimede solar power plant that is the first concentrated solar power, concentrated solar power plant to use molten salt for heat transfer and storage which is integrated with a combined-cycle gas facility. All the plant is owned and operated by Enel. The touristic town of is also an important science place thanks to the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture which embraces 123 schools from all over the world, covering all branches of science, offering courses, seminars, workshops, and annual meetings. It was founded by the physicist Antonino Zichichi in honour of another scientist of the island, Ettore Majorana known for the Majorana equation and Majorana fermions. Sicily's famous scientists include also Stanislao Cannizzaro (chemist), Giovanni Battista Hodierna and Niccolò Cacciatore (astronomers).
EducationSicily has four universities: * The University of Catania dates back to 1434 and it is the oldest university in Sicily. Nowadays it hosts 12 faculties and over 62,000 students and it offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs. hosts also the ''Scuola superiore di Catania, Scuola Superiore'', an academic institution linked to the University of Catania, aiming for excellence in education. * The University of Palermo is the island's second-oldest university. It was officially founded in 1806, although historical records indicate that medicine and law have been taught there since the late 15th century. The Orto botanico di Palermo (Palermo botanical gardens) is home to the university's Department of Botany and is also open to visitors. * The University of Messina, founded in 1548 by Ignatius of Loyola. It is organized in 11 Faculties. * The Kore University of Enna founded in 1995, is the latest Sicilian university and the first university founded in Sicily after the Italian Unification.
CuisineThe island has a long history of producing a variety of noted cuisines and wines, to the extent that Sicily is sometimes nicknamed ''God's Kitchen'' because of this. Every part of Sicily has its speciality (e.g. Cassata is typical of Palermo although available everywhere in Sicily, as is Granita). The ingredients are typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the general public. The savoury dishes of Sicily are viewed to be healthy diet, healthy, using fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, artichokes, olives (including olive oil), citrus, apricots, aubergines, onions, beans, raisins commonly coupled with seafood, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, including tuna, sea bream, European seabass, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish, sardines, and others. The most well-known part of Sicilian cuisine is the rich sweet dishes including ice creams and pastry, pastries. Cannoli (singular: ''cannolo''), a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta, is strongly associated with Sicily worldwide. Biancomangiare, biscotti ennesi (cookies native to ), braccilatte (a Sicilian version of doughnuts), buccellato, ciarduna, pignolo (macaroon), pignoli, Biscotti Regina, giurgiulena, frutta martorana, cassata, pignolata, granita, cuccidati (a variety of fig cookie; also known as buccellati) and cuccìa are some notable sweet dishes. Like the cuisine of the rest of southern Italy, pasta plays an important part in Sicilian cuisine, as does rice; for example with arancini. As well as using some other cheeses, Sicily has spawned some of its own, using both cow's and sheep's milk, such as Pecorino Siciliano, pecorino and caciocavallo. Spices used include saffron, nutmeg, clove, Black pepper, pepper, and cinnamon, which were introduced by the Arabs. Parsley is used abundantly in many dishes. Although Sicilian cuisine is commonly associated with sea food, meat dishes, including goose, domestic sheep, lamb, goat, rabbit, and turkey meat, turkey, are also found in Sicily. It was the Normans and Hohenstaufen, Swabians who first introduced a fondness for meat dishes to the island. Some varieties of wine are produced from vines that are relatively unique to the island, such as the Nero d'Avola made near the baroque of town of Noto.
SportsThe most popular sport in Sicily is association football, football, which came to the fore in the late 19th century under the influence of the English. Some of the oldest football clubs in Italy are from Sicily: the three most successful are U.S. Città di Palermo, Palermo, Calcio Catania, Catania, and A.C.R. Messina, Messina, which have played 29, 17 and 5 seasons in the Serie A respectively. No club from Sicily has ever won Serie A, but football is still deeply embedded in local culture and all over Sicily most towns have a representative team. Palermo and Catania have a heated rivalry and compete in the Derby di Sicilia, Sicilian derby together. Palermo is the only team in Sicily to have played on the European stage, in the UEFA Cup. In the island, the most noted footballer is Salvatore Schillaci, who won the FIFA World Cup awards, Golden Boot at the 1990 FIFA World Cup with Italy national football team, Italy. Other noted players include Giuseppe Furino, Pietro Anastasi, Francesco Coco, Christian Riganò, and Roberto Galia. There have also been some noted managers from the island, such as Carmelo Di Bella and Franco Scoglio. Although football is the most popular sport in Sicily, the island also has participants in other fields. Amatori Catania have competed in the top Italian national rugby union league called Top12, National Championship of Excellence. They have even participated at the European level in the European Challenge Cup. Competing in the basketball variation of Serie A (basketball), Serie A is Orlandina Basket from Capo d'Orlando in the province of Messina, where the sport has a reasonable following. Various other sports that are played to some extent include volleyball, Team handball, handball, and water polo. Previously, in motorsport, Sicily held the prominent Targa Florio sports car race that took place in the Madonie Mountains, with the start-finish line in Cerda. The event was started in 1906 by Sicilian industrialist and automobile enthusiast Vincenzo Florio, and ran until it was canceled due to safety concerns in 1977. From 28 September to 9 October 2005 Trapani was the location of Acts 8 and 9 of the Louis Vuitton Cup. This sailing race featured, among other entrants, all boats that took part in the 2007 America's Cup.
Popular cultureEach town and city has its own patron saint, and the feast days are marked by colourful processions through the streets with marching bands and displays of fireworks. Sicilian religious festivals also include the ''presepe vivente'' (living nativity scene), which takes place at Christmas time. Deftly combining religion and folklore, it is a constructed mock 19th-century Sicilian village, complete with a nativity scene, and has people of all ages dressed in the costumes of the period, some impersonating the Holy Family, and others working as artisans of their particular assigned trade. It is normally concluded on Epiphany (holiday), Epiphany, often highlighted by the arrival of the magi on horseback. Oral tradition plays a large role in Sicilian folklore. Many stories passed down from generation to generation involve a character named "Giufà". Anecdotes from this character's life preserve Sicilian culture as well as convey moral messages. Sicilians also enjoy outdoor festivals, held in the local square or ''piazza'' where live music and dancing are performed on stage, and food fairs or ''sagre'' are set up in booths lining the square. These offer various local specialties, as well as typical Sicilian food. Normally these events are concluded with fireworks. A noted ''sagra'' is the ''Sagra del Carciofo'' or ''Artichoke Festival'', which is held annually in Ramacca in April. The most important traditional event in Sicily is the carnival. Famous carnivals are in Acireale, Misterbianco, Regalbuto, Paternò, Sciacca, Termini Imerese. The Opera dei Pupi (Opera of the Puppets; Sicilian language, Sicilian: Òpira dî pupi) is a marionette theatrical representation of Frankish romantic poems such as the Song of Roland or ''Orlando furioso'' that is one of the characteristic cultural traditions of Sicily. The sides of donkey carts are decorated with intricate, painted scenes; these same tales are enacted in traditional puppet theatres featuring hand-made marionettes of wood. The opera of the puppets and the Sicilian tradition of ''cantastorî'' (singers of tales) are rooted in the Provençal troubadour tradition in Sicily during the reign of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the first half of the 13th century. A great place to see this marionette art is the puppet theatres of . The Sicilian marionette theatre Opera dei Pupi was proclaimed in 2001 and inscribed in 2008 in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Today, there are only a few troupes that maintain the tradition. They often perform for tourists. However, there are no longer the great historical families of marionettists, such as the Greco of ; the Gaspare Canino, Canino of Partinico and Alcamo; Crimi, Trombetta and Napoli of , Pennisi and Macri of Acireale, Profeta of , Gargano and Grasso of . One can, however, admire the richest collection of marionettes at the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette Antonio Pasqualino and at the Museo Etnografico Siciliano Giuseppe Pitrè in Palermo. Other elaborate marionettes are on display at the Museo Civico Vagliasindi in Randazzo.
Traditional itemsThe Sicilian cart is an ornate, colourful style of a horse- or donkey-drawn cart native to Sicily. Sicilian woodcarver George Petralia states that horses were mostly used in the city and flat plains, while donkeys or mules were more often used in rough terrain for hauling heavy loads. The cart has two wheels and is primarily handmade out of wood with iron components. The Sicilian coppola (cap), coppola is a traditional kind of flat cap typically worn by men in Sicily. First used by English nobles during the late 18th century, the ''tascu'' began being used in Sicily in the early 20th century as a flat cap, driving cap, usually worn by car drivers. The ''coppola'' is usually made in tweed (cloth), tweed. Today it is widely regarded as a definitive symbol of Sicilian heritage.
Flag and emblemThe Flag of Sicily, regarded as a regional icon, was first adopted in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers of . It is characterised by the presence of the triskelion, triskeles in the middle, depicting the head of Medusa and three wheat ears representing the extreme fertility of the land of Sicily.Radicini, Ninni. "The Trinacria: History and Mythology , The Symbol of the Hellenic Nature of Sicily , Article by Ninni Radicini." The Trinacria: History and Mythology , The Symbol of the Hellenic Nature of Sicily , Article by Ninni Radicini. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014. In early mythology, when Medusa was slain and beheaded by Perseus, the Medusa head was placed in the centre of Athena's shield.Trabia, Carlo. "The Trinacria - Best of Sicily Magazine." The Trinacria - Best of Sicily Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014. Palermo and Corleone were the first two cities to found a confederation against the Capetian House of Anjou, Angevin rule. The triskeles symbol came to be on the Sicilian flag in 1943 during World War II when Andrea Finocchiaro Aprile led an independence movement, in collaboration with the allies. Their plan was to help Sicily become independent and form a free republic. The colours, likewise introduced in the 1940s, respectively represent the cities of and Corleone. The separatist behind the movement used a yellow and red flag with the Trinacria in the centre of it. When World War II ended, Sicily was recognized as an autonomous region in the Italian Republic. The flag became the official public flag of the ''Regione Siciliana'' in January 2000, after the passing of an apposite regional law which advocates its use on public buildings, schools and city halls along with the national Flag of Italy, Italian flag and the flag of EU, European one. Familiar as an ancient symbol of the region, the Triskelion is also featured on Greek coins of Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse, such as coins of Agathocles (317–289 BC).The symbol dates back to when Sicily was part of Magna Graecia, the colonial extension of Greece beyond the Aegean Sea, Aegean.Matthews, Jeff (2005
See also* List of islands of Italy * List of people from Sicily
Further reading* Alio, Jacqueline (2018) ''Sicilian Studies: A Guide and Syllabus for Educators'' (Trinacria Editions, New York, ). * Bonacini, Elisa (2007) ''Il territorio calatino nella Sicilia imperiale e tardoromana'' (British Archeological Reports, International Series: 1694) Archaeopress, Oxford, England, , in Italian with abstract in English * Chaney, Edward. (2000), "British and American Travellers in Sicily from the eighth to the twentieth century", The Evolution of the Grand Tour, Routledge. * Leighton, Robert (1999) ''Sicily before History'' (Duckworth, London; Cornell University Press, Ithaca). * Mendola, Louis; Alio, Jacqueline (2013) ''The Peoples of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy'' (Trinacria Editions, New York, ). * Spadi, Fabio. (2001