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(man)
it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = Sicilian , demographics1_info1 = 98% , demographics1_title2 = , demographics1_info2 = , demographics1_title3 = , demographics1_info3 = , timezone1 =
CET CET or cet may refer to: Places * Cet, Albania * Cet, standard astronomical abbreviation for the constellation Cetus * Colchester Town railway station (National Rail code CET), in Colchester, England Arts, entertainment, and media * Comcast Enter ...
, utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = CEST , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = , postal_code = , area_code_type =
ISO 3166 code ISO 3166 is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined ...
, area_code = IT-82 , blank_name_sec1 =
GDP (nominal) Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period. List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita, GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect di ...
, blank_info_sec1 = €89.2 billion (2018) , blank1_name_sec1 =
GDP per capita Lists of countries by GDP per capita list the countries in the world by their gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time peri ...
, blank1_info_sec1 = €17,800 (2018) , blank2_name_sec1 =
HDI The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
(2019) , blank2_info_sec1 = 0.845
· 21st of 21 , blank_name_sec2 = , blank_info_sec2 = ITG , website
PTI.Regione.Sicilia.it
, footnotes = Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the largest island in the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
and one of the 20
regions In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wor ...

regions
of
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and is officially referred to as ''Regione Siciliana''. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its
capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of the government. A capita ...
is
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. Sicily is in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regi ...
, from which it is separated by the narrow
Strait of Messina The Strait of Messina ( it, Stretto di Messina, Sicilian: Strittu di Missina) is a narrow strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel o ...

Strait of Messina
. Its most prominent landmark is
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
, one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe, and one of the most active in the world, currently high. The island has a typical
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
. The earliest
archaeological evidence The archaeological record is the body of physical (Recorded history, not written) scientific evidence, evidence about the past. It is one of the core concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the ar ...
of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
n and a dozen
Greek coloniesGreek colonization was an organised colonial expansion by the Archaic Greeks into the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by lan ...
and it was later the site of the
Sicilian Wars The Sicilian Wars, or Greco-Punic Wars, were a series of conflicts fought between ancient Carthage and the Greek city-states led by Syracuse, Sicily over control of Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note ...
and the
Punic Wars The Punic Wars were a series of wars (taking place between 264 and 146BC) that were fought between the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run thr ...
. After the end of the Roman province of
Sicilia (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , de ...
with the fall of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
by the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic people Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors. They are also ...
, the
Ostrogoths The Ostrogoths ( la, Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were a Roman-era Germanic people Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mention ...
, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, and the
Emirate of Sicily The Emirate of Sicily ( ar, إِمَارَة صِقِلِّيَة, ʾImārat Ṣiqilliya) was an Islamic kingdom that ruled the island of Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of the ...
. The
Norman conquest of southern Italy The Norman conquest of southern Italy lasted from 999 to 1139, involving many battles and independent conquerors. In 1130, the territories in southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known ...
led to the creation of the
County of Sicily The County of Sicily, also known as County of Sicily and Calabria, was a Italo-Normans, Norman state comprising the islands of Sicily and Malta and part of Calabria from 1071 until 1130. The county began to form during the Norman conquest of sout ...
in 1071, that was succeeded by
Kingdom of Sicily Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. L ...

Kingdom of Sicily
, a state that existed from 1130 until 1816. Later, it was unified under the
House of Bourbon The House of Bourbon (, also ; ) is a European of French origin, a branch of the , the royal . Bourbon kings first ruled France and in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the held thrones in , , , and . Spain and have monarchs ...

House of Bourbon
with the
Kingdom of Naples The Kingdom of Naples ( la, Regnum Neapolitanum; it, Regno di Napoli; nap, Regno 'e Napule), also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the south of the between 1282 and 1816. It was established by the (1282–13 ...

Kingdom of Naples
as the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ( nap, Regno d’ ’e Ddoje Sicilie; scn, Regnu dî Dui Sicili; it, Regno delle Due Sicilie; es, Reino de las Dos Sicilias) was a kingdom located in Southern Italy from 1816 to 1860. The kingdom was the larg ...
. The island became part of
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
in 1860 following the
Expedition of the Thousand The Expedition of the Thousand ( it, Spedizione dei Mille) was an event of the Italian Risorgimento Italian unification ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the Risorgimento (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and ...
, a revolt led by
Giuseppe Garibaldi Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi ( , ;In his native Ligurian language, he is known as ''Gioxeppe Gaibado. 4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, revolutionary, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification Italia ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi
during the
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
, and a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an
autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
on 15 May 1946, 18 days before the Italian institutional referendum of 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the
arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...
,
cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, List of cooking techniques, techniques and dish (food), dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region. Regional food preparation traditions ...
, and
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...
. It is also home to important
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
and ancient sites, such as the
Necropolis of Pantalica The Necropolis of Pantalica is a collection of cemeteries with rock-cut chamber tombs in southeast Sicily, Italy. Dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC., there was thought to be over 5,000 tombs, although the most recent estimate suggests a ...
, the ,
Erice Erice (; scn, Èrici) is a historic town and ''comune'' in the province of Trapani, Sicily, in southern Italy. Geography The main town of Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the lo ...

Erice
and
Selinunte Selinunte (; grc, Σελινοῦς, ''Selinoūs''; la, Selinus) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the south-western coast of Sicily in Italy. It was situated between the valleys of the Cottone and Modione rivers. It now lies in the ...

Selinunte
.
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
,
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
,
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
and
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
rule over Sicily has led to a blend of cultural influences.


Geography

Sicily has a roughly triangular shape, earning it the name ''Trinacria''. To the north-east, it is separated from
Calabria it, Calabrese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demogr ...

Calabria
and the rest of the Italian mainland by the
Strait of Messina The Strait of Messina ( it, Stretto di Messina, Sicilian: Strittu di Missina) is a narrow strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel o ...

Strait of Messina
, 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
estimated Estimation (or estimating) is the process of finding an estimate, or approximation, which is a value that is usable for some purpose even if input data may be incomplete, uncertainty, uncertain, or Instability, unstable. The value is nonetheless ...
at . The total area of the island is , while the
Autonomous Region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
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
Madonie 300px, Monte S. Salvatore in Madonie Regional Natural Park. The Madonie (; Sicilian: ''Madunìi'') are one of the principal mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain sy ...

Madonie
, ,
Nebrodi The Nebrodi ( it, Monti Nebrodi, ; Sicilian: ''Munti Nèbbrudi'') is a mountain range that runs along the north east of Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title ...

Nebrodi
, , and
Peloritani 300px, A pine forest in the territory of Mili San Pietro, in the ''comune'' of Messina The Peloritani (Sicilian language, Sicilian: , it, Monti Peloritani) are a mountain range of north-eastern Sicily, in southern Italy, extending for some ...
, , are an extension of the mainland
Apennines The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...

Apennines
. The cone of
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower
Hyblaean Mountains The Hyblaean Mountains (Italian: Monti Iblei) is a mountain range in south-eastern Sicily, Italy. It straddles the provinces of province of Ragusa, Ragusa, province of Siracusa, Syracuse and province of Catania, Catania. The highest peak of the r ...

Hyblaean Mountains
, . The mines of the
Enna Enna (; scn, Castrugiuvanni; grc, Ἔννα; la, Henna, less frequently ''Haenna''), known until 1926 as Castrogiovanni, is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The pr ...

Enna
and
Caltanissetta Caltanissetta (; scn, Cartanissètta) is a ''comune'' in the central interior of Sicily, Italy, and the capital of the Province of Caltanissetta. Its inhabitants are called ''Nisseni''. In 2017, the city had a population of 62,797. It is the 14t ...

Caltanissetta
districts were part of a leading
sulphur Sulfur (in nontechnical British English: sulphur) is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consis ...

sulphur
-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
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
. 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,
Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma A somma volcano (also known as a sommian) is a volcano, volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central volcanic cone, ...
. In
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
, the deadly monster
Typhon Typhon (; el, Τυφῶν, ), also Typhoeus (; ), Typhaon () or Typhos (), was a monstrous serpentine giant and one of the deadliest creatures in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, a ...
was trapped under the mountain by
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is widely regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily. File:Mt Etna and Catania1.jpg, Mount Etna rising over suburbs of Catania The
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
in the
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, and include
Stromboli Stromboli ( , ; scn, Struògnuli ; grc, Στρογγύλη, Strongýlē) is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, ...

Stromboli
. The three volcanoes of
Vulcano Vulcano ( scn, Vurcanu) or Vulcan is a small volcanic island Geologically, a high island or volcanic island is an island of volcano, volcanic origin. The term can be used to distinguish such islands from low islands, which are formed fr ...

Vulcano
,
Vulcanello Vulcano ( scn, Vurcanu) or Vulcan is a small volcanic island Geologically, a high island or volcanic island is an island of volcano, volcanic origin. The term can be used to distinguish such islands from low islands, which are formed from ...

Vulcanello
and
Lipari Lipari (; scn, Lìpari; la, Lipara; grc, Μελιγουνίς, Meligounís, or , ''Lipára'') is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, southern Italy; it is also the name of the island's main ...

Lipari
are also currently active, although the latter is usually dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, which is part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
and the island of
Pantelleria Pantelleria (;), the ancient Cossyra or Cossura, is an Italian island and comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and functi ...

Pantelleria
(which itself is a dormant volcano). From a geographical perspective, also forming a part of Sicily is the Maltese Archipelago, the islands home to the
republic of Malta Malta (, ; in Maltese: ; Italian: ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta) and formerly Melita, is a Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern subregion of Europe Europe is a continent ...
. The
autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
also includes several neighbouring islands: the
Aegadian Islands The Aegadian Islands ( it, Isole Egadi; scn, Ìsuli Ègadi, la, Aegates Insulae; gr, Aἰγάται Νῆσοι, , the islands of goats) are a group of five small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea ...
, the Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria and
Lampedusa Lampedusa (; scn, Lampidusa ; grc, Λοπαδοῦσσα, Lopadoussa) is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Medite ...

Lampedusa
.


Rivers

The island is
drained ''Drained'', (Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''O Cheiro do Ralo_'' is a 2006 Brazilian Black comedy, dark comedy film based on a novel by Lourenço Mutarelli. It was directed by Heitor Dhalia, and stars Selton Mello. The film was produced by Gera ...

drained
by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The
Salso The Salso ( Sicilian: ''Salsu''), also known as the Imera Meridionale (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country l ...
flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
at the port of
Licata Licata (, ; grc, Φιντίας, whence la, Phintias or ''Plintis''), formerly also Alicata (), is a city and ''comune'' located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River (the ancient ''Himera''), about midway between Agrigen ...

Licata
. To the east, the
Alcantara Alcantara, Alcântara (Portuguese language, Portuguese), Alcántara (Spanish language, Spanish), Alcàntara, Alcàntera, El-Qantarah and (El) Kantara are all transliterations of the Arabic language, Arabic word ''al qantara'' (القنطرة), mean ...
flows through the province of
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger u ...

Messina
and enters the sea at
Giardini Naxos Giardini NaxosSometimes spelled as Giardini-Naxos. However, the official form as used in the statuto comunale'' is not hyphenated. ( scn, Giaddini) is a ''comune'' in the Metropolitan City of Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. It is ...
, and the
Simeto The Simeto (; scn, Simetu; la, Symaethus; el, Σύμαιθος) is a long river in Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...

Simeto
, which flows into the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, suc ...

Ionian Sea
south of
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
. Other important rivers on the island are the
Belice The Belice, , is a river of western Sicily. It is about long. From its main source near Piana degli Albanesi it runs south and west for as the Belice Destro ("right Belice") until it is joined near Poggioreale by its secondary branch, the Beli ...

Belice
and Platani in the southwest.


Climate

Sicily has a typical
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
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
Nebrodi The Nebrodi ( it, Monti Nebrodi, ; Sicilian: ''Munti Nèbbrudi'') is a mountain range that runs along the north east of Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title ...

Nebrodi
,
Madonie 300px, Monte S. Salvatore in Madonie Regional Natural Park. The Madonie (; Sicilian: ''Madunìi'') are one of the principal mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain sy ...

Madonie
, 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
sirocco Sirocco (), scirocco, ghibli, jugo or, rarely, siroc (see below) is a Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also ...

sirocco
, 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 fauna

Sicily is an often-quoted example of man-made
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
, 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 and 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. 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
Strait of Messina The Strait of Messina ( it, Stretto di Messina, Sicilian: Strittu di Missina) is a narrow strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel o ...

Strait of Messina
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.


History

The name ''
Sicilia (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , de ...
'' 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).


Prehistory

The 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 (
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
, Milazzo) and the Morgetes of Morgantina.


Antiquity

The
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
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,
Selinunte Selinunte (; grc, Σελινοῦς, ''Selinoūs''; la, Selinus) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the south-western coast of Sicily in Italy. It was situated between the valleys of the Cottone and Modione rivers. It now lies in the ...

Selinunte
, 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
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
. 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
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regi ...
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
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic people Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors. They are also ...
, 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
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
). 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
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
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
Emirate of Sicily The Emirate of Sicily ( ar, إِمَارَة صِقِلِّيَة, ʾImārat Ṣiqilliya) was an Islamic kingdom that ruled the island of Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of 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
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
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"
– History of the Crusades – Boise State University – Retrieved 15 July 2011.
After taking Apulia and
Calabria it, Calabrese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demogr ...

Calabria
, Roger occupied
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger u ...

Messina
with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger was victorious at Misilmeri. Most crucial was the siege of Palermo, whose fall in 1071 eventually resulted in all Sicily coming under Norman control. The conquest was completed in 1091 when they captured Noto the last Arab stronghold. Palermo continued to be the capital under the Normans. The Norman Hauteville family, descendants of Vikings, appreciated and admired the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. They also introduced their own culture, customs, and politics in the region. Many Normans in Sicily adopted the habits and comportment of Muslim rulers and their Byzantine subjects in dress, language, literature, even to the extent of having palace eunuchs and, according to some accounts, a harem.


Kingdom of Sicily

Roger 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"
– Inter-American Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural History – Retrieved 15 July 2011.
However this situation changed as the Normans to secure the island imported immigrants from Normandy, England, Lombardy, Piedmont, Provence and Campania. Linguistically, the island shifted from being one-third Greek- and two-thirds Arabic-speaking at the time of the Norman conquest to becoming fully Linguistic Latinisation, Latinised. In terms of religion the island became completely Roman Catholic (bearing in mind that until 1054 the Churches owing allegiance to the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople belonged to one Church); Sicily before the Norman conquest was under Eastern Orthodox Patriarch. After Pope Innocent III made him Papal Legate in 1098, Roger I created several Catholic bishoprics while still allowing the construction of 12 Greek-speaking monasteries (the Greek language, monasteries, and 1500 parishes continued to exist until the adherents of the Greek Rite were forced in 1585 to convert to Catholicism or leave; a small pocket of Greek-speakers still live in Messina). After a century, the Norman Hauteville family, Hauteville dynasty died out; the last direct descendant and heir of Roger, Constance of Sicily, Constance, married Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Henry VI. This eventually led to the crown of Sicily being passed on to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, who were Germans from Swabia. The last of the Hohenstaufens, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, the only son of Constance of Sicily, Constance, was one of the greatest and most cultured men of the Middle Ages. His mother's will had asked Pope Innocent III to undertake the guardianship of her son. Frederick was four when at
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
, he was crowned King of Sicily in 1198. Frederick received no systematic education and was allowed to run free in the streets of
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. There he picked up the many languages he heard spoken, such as Arabic and Greek, and learned some of the lore of the Jewish community. At age twelve, he dismissed Innocent's deputy regent and took over the government; at fifteen he married Constance of Aragon, and began his reclamation of the imperial crown. Subsequently, due to Muslim rebellions, Frederick II destroyed the remaining Muslim presence in Sicily, estimated at 60,000 persons, moving all to the city of Lucera in Apulia between 1221 and 1226. Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led, in 1266, to Pope Innocent IV crowning the Capetian House of Anjou, French prince Charles I of Naples, Charles, count of Anjou and List of rulers of Provence, Provence, as the king of both Sicily and Naples. Strong opposition to French officialdom due to mistreatment and taxation saw the local peoples of Sicily rise up, leading in 1282 to an insurrection known as the War of the Sicilian Vespers, which eventually saw almost the entire French population on the island killed. During the war, the Sicilians turned to Peter III of Aragon, son-in-law of the last Hohenstaufen king, for support after being rejected by the Pope. Peter gained control of Sicily from the French, who, however, retained control of the
Kingdom of Naples The Kingdom of Naples ( la, Regnum Neapolitanum; it, Regno di Napoli; nap, Regno 'e Napule), also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the south of the between 1282 and 1816. It was established by the (1282–13 ...

Kingdom of Naples
. A crusade was launched in August 1283 against Peter III and the Kingdom of Aragon by Pope Martin IV (a pope from Île-de-France), but it failed. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Peter's son Frederick III of Sicily, Frederick III recognized as the king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II of Naples, Charles II was recognized as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII. Sicily was ruled as an independent kingdom by relatives of the kings of Aragon until 1409 and then as part of the Crown of Aragon. In October 1347, in Messina, Sicily, the Black Death first arrived in Europe. Between the 15th-18th centuries, waves of Greeks from the Peloponnese (such as the Maniots) and Arvanites migrated to Sicily in large numbers to escape persecution after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, Ottoman conquest of the Peloponnese. They brought with them Eastern Orthodoxy as well as the Greek language, Greek and Arvanitika languages to the island, once again adding onto the extensive
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
/Greek Culture, Greek influence. The onset of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 led to Ferdinand II of Aragon, Ferdinand II decreeing the expulsion of all Jews from Sicily. The eastern part of the island was hit by very destructive earthquakes in 1542 and 1693. Just a few years before the latter earthquake, the island was struck by a ferocious plague (disease), plague. The 1693 Sicily earthquake, earthquake in 1693 took an estimated 60,000 lives. There were revolts during the 17th century, but these were quelled with significant force, especially the revolts of Palermo and Messina. Barbary pirates, North African Barbary slave trade, slave raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 saw Sicily assigned to the House of Savoy; however, this period of rule lasted only seven years, as it was exchanged for the island of Sardinia with Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Charles VI of the Austrian House of Habsburg, Habsburg Dynasty. While the Austrians were concerned with the War of the Polish Succession, a House of Bourbon, Bourbon prince, Charles III of Spain, Charles from Spain was able to conquer Sicily and Naples. At first Sicily was able to remain as an independent kingdom under personal union, while the Bourbons ruled over both from Naples. However, the advent of Napoleon I, Napoleon's First French Empire saw Naples taken at the Battle of Campo Tenese and Bonapartist King of Naples were installed. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand III the Bourbon was forced to retreat to Sicily which he was still in complete control of with the help of Royal Navy, British naval protection. Following this, Sicily joined the Napoleonic Wars, and subsequently the British under Lord William Bentinck established a military and diplomatic presence on the island to protect against a French invasion. After the wars were won, Sicily and Naples formally merged as the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons. Major revolutionary movements occurred in 1820 and 1848 against the Bourbon government with Sicily seeking independence; the second of which, the Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848, 1848 revolution resulted in a short period of independence for Sicily. However, in 1849 the Bourbons retook control of the island and dominated it until 1860.


Italian unification

The
Expedition of the Thousand The Expedition of the Thousand ( it, Spedizione dei Mille) was an event of the Italian Risorgimento Italian unification ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the Risorgimento (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and ...
led by
Giuseppe Garibaldi Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi ( , ;In his native Ligurian language, he is known as ''Gioxeppe Gaibado. 4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, revolutionary, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification Italia ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi
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
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
, 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 centuries

In 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
autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country sub ...
. 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".


Demographics

About 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
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
, 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.


Emigration

Italian emigration started shortly after the
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
and has not stopped ever since. After the
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
, Sicily, along with the entire Italian peninsula, has also been strongly marked by Forced displacement, coerced emigration. Most of the assets of the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ( nap, Regno d’ ’e Ddoje Sicilie; scn, Regnu dî Dui Sicili; it, Regno delle Due Sicilie; es, Reino de las Dos Sicilias) was a kingdom located in Southern Italy from 1816 to 1860. The kingdom was the larg ...
'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 cities

These are the ten largest cities of Sicily:


Religion

As 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
Emirate of Sicily The Emirate of Sicily ( ar, إِمَارَة صِقِلِّيَة, ʾImārat Ṣiqilliya) was an Islamic kingdom that ruled the island of Sicily Sicily ( it, Sicilia ; scn, Sicilia ) is the in the and one of the 20 of . It is one of 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.


Politics

The 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. 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 divisions

Administratively, 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
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
(Messina), isle of Ustica (Palermo),
Aegadian Islands The Aegadian Islands ( it, Isole Egadi; scn, Ìsuli Ègadi, la, Aegates Insulae; gr, Aἰγάται Νῆσοι, , the islands of goats) are a group of five small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea ...
(Trapani), isle of
Pantelleria Pantelleria (;), the ancient Cossyra or Cossura, is an Italian island and comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and functi ...

Pantelleria
(Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).


Economy

Thanks 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.


Agriculture

Sicily 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
insicilia.org. Retrieved on 19 December 2012.
Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy (the world's largest wine producer) after Veneto and Emilia Romagna. The region is known mainly for fortified Marsala wines. In recent decades the wine industry has improved, new winemakers are experimenting with less-known native varieties, and Sicilian wines have become better known. The best known local variety is Nero d'Avola, named for a small town not far from Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse; the best wines made with these grapes come from Noto, a famous old city close to Avola. Other important native varieties are Nerello, Nerello Mascalese used to make the Etna DOC, Etna Rosso DOC wine, Frappato that is a component of the Frappato, Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG wine, Muscat of Alexandria, Moscato di Pantelleria (also known as ''Zibibbo'') used to make different
Pantelleria Pantelleria (;), the ancient Cossyra or Cossura, is an Italian island and comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and functi ...

Pantelleria
wines, Malvasia#Italian varieties, Malvasia di Lipari used for the Malvasia#Italian varieties, Malvasia di Lipari DOC wine and Catarratto mostly used to make the white wine Alcamo wine, Alcamo DOC. Furthermore, in Sicily high quality wines are also produced using non-native varieties like Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot. Sicily is also known for its liqueurs, such as the Amaro Averna produced in
Caltanissetta Caltanissetta (; scn, Cartanissètta) is a ''comune'' in the central interior of Sicily, Italy, and the capital of the Province of Caltanissetta. Its inhabitants are called ''Nisseni''. In 2017, the city had a population of 62,797. It is the 14t ...

Caltanissetta
and the local limoncello. Fishing is another fundamental resource for Sicily. There are important tuna, sardine, swordfish and European anchovy fisheries. Mazara del Vallo is the largest fishing centre in Sicily and one of the most important in Italy.Economia Regione Siciliana
Esploriamo.com. Retrieved on 18 December 2012.


Industry and manufacturing

Improvements in Sicily's road system have helped to promote industrial development. The region has three important industrial districts: * ''
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
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 ''
Enna Enna (; scn, Castrugiuvanni; grc, Ἔννα; la, Henna, less frequently ''Haenna''), known until 1926 as Castrogiovanni, is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The pr ...

Enna
Industrial District'' in which there are food industries. In
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
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.


Statistics


GDP growth

A table showing Sicily's different GDP (nominal and per capita) growth between 2000 and 2008:


Economic sectors

After the table which shows Sicily's GDP growth, this table shows the sectors of the Sicilian economy in 2006:


Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate stood at 21.5% in 2018 and was one of the highest in Italy and Europe.


Transport


Roads

Highways 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
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
).


Railways

The 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
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
. 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
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
there is an Rapid transit, underground railway service (metropolitana di Catania); in
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
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;
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger u ...

Messina
is served by a Trams in Messina, tramline.


Airports

Mainland 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.


Ports

By 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
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger u ...

Messina
(route to Villa San Giovanni and Salerno), the busiest passenger port in Italy,
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
(routes to Genoa, Civitavecchia and Naples) and
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
(route to Naples). * Sicily's small surrounding islands: The port of Milazzo serves the
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
, the ports of Trapani and Marsala the
Aegadian Islands The Aegadian Islands ( it, Isole Egadi; scn, Ìsuli Ègadi, la, Aegates Insulae; gr, Aἰγάται Νῆσοι, , the islands of goats) are a group of five small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea ...
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,
Licata Licata (, ; grc, Φιντίας, whence la, Phintias or ''Plintis''), formerly also Alicata (), is a city and ''comune'' located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River (the ancient ''Himera''), about midway between Agrigen ...

Licata
, Scoglitti and Portopalo di Capo Passero.


Planned bridge

Plans 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.


Tourism

Sicily'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.
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
, the beaches, the archaeological sites, and major cities such as
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
,
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
, Syracuse, Sicily, Syracuse and Ragusa, Sicily, Ragusa are the favourite tourist destinations, but the old town of Taormina and the neighbouring seaside resort of
Giardini Naxos Giardini NaxosSometimes spelled as Giardini-Naxos. However, the official form as used in the statuto comunale'' is not hyphenated. ( scn, Giaddini) is a ''comune'' in the Metropolitan City of Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. It is ...
draw visitors from all over the world, as do the
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
,
Erice Erice (; scn, Èrici) is a historic town and ''comune'' in the province of Trapani, Sicily, in southern Italy. Geography The main town of Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the lo ...

Erice
, Castellammare del Golfo, Cefalù,
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
, 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 Sites

There 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
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
. * 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, . *
Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands ( ; it, Isole Eolie ; scn, Ìsuli Eoli; el, Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolídes Nísoi), sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group ( , ) after their largest island, are a volcanic A volcano is a ru ...

Aeolian Islands
(2000) are a Volcano, volcanic archipelago in the
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
, 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,
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, Italy, Ragusa and Scicli. *
Necropolis of Pantalica The Necropolis of Pantalica is a collection of cemeteries with rock-cut chamber tombs in southeast Sicily, Italy. Dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC., there was thought to be over 5,000 tombs, although the most recent estimate suggests a ...
(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. *
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
(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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
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; *
Strait of Messina The Strait of Messina ( it, Stretto di Messina, Sicilian: Strittu di Missina) is a narrow strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel o ...

Strait of Messina
.


Archeological sites

Because 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,
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
, Segesta,
Selinunte Selinunte (; grc, Σελινοῦς, ''Selinoūs''; la, Selinus) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the south-western coast of Sicily in Italy. It was situated between the valleys of the Cottone and Modione rivers. It now lies in the ...

Selinunte
, Gela, Kamarina, Sicily, Kamarina, Himera, Megara Hyblaea, Naxos (Sicily), Naxos, Heraclea Minoa; * Phoenicians: Motya, Soluntum, Marsala,
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
; * Romans: Piazza Armerina, Centuripe, Taormina,
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
; * Arabs:
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
, 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,
Selinunte Selinunte (; grc, Σελινοῦς, ''Selinoūs''; la, Selinus) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the south-western coast of Sicily in Italy. It was situated between the valleys of the Cottone and Modione rivers. It now lies in the ...

Selinunte
, Syracuse, Sicily, Siracusa and Taormina.


Castles

In Sicily there are hundreds of castles, the most relevant are:


Coastal towers

The 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 [1583] 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. File:Torre-Capo-Rama-bjs.jpg, Torre-Capo-Rama (Terrasini) File:Altavilla Milicia BW 2012-10-08 18-04-22 b.JPG, Torre di (Altavilla Milicia) File:Torre dello Spalmatore - Ustica.jpg, Torre Spalmatore (Ustica) File:D7A 1568 bis Torre Pozzillo.jpg, Torre Pozzillo (Cinisi) File:Ligny Tower - Trapani.jpg, Ligny Tower - (Trapani) File:Trapani.jpg, Torre Nubia (Paceco) File:Torre di Manfria (Gela).jpg, Torre Manfria (Gela) File:Torre Cabrera, Marina di Ragusa.jpg, Torre Cabrera (Marina di Ragusa) (Marina di Ragusa) File:Pozzallo-TorreCabrera.JPG, Torre Cabrera (Pozzallo) (Pozzallo) File:Vignazzi Tower.JPG, Vignazza Tower (
Giardini Naxos Giardini NaxosSometimes spelled as Giardini-Naxos. However, the official form as used in the statuto comunale'' is not hyphenated. ( scn, Giaddini) is a ''comune'' in the Metropolitan City of Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. It is ...
)


Culture

Sicily 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 architecture

Baglio (:it:Baglio, it) are traditional living structures in Western Sicily.


Ceramics

Terracotta 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 Baroque

The Sicilian Baroque has a unique architectural identity. Noto, Caltagirone,
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
, 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 film

Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
hosts the Teatro Massimo which is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe. In
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
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''".


Literature

The 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.


Language

Today 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
Calabria it, Calabrese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demogr ...

Calabria
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.


Science

Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
has 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
and
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
, 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;
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
has two observatories, one of which is situated on
Mount Etna Mount Etna, or simply Etna ( it, Etna or ; scn, Muncibbeḍḍu or ; la, Aetna; grc, Αἴτνα and ), is an active stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional sp ...

Mount Etna
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
Erice Erice (; scn, Èrici) is a historic town and ''comune'' in the province of Trapani, Sicily, in southern Italy. Geography The main town of Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the lo ...

Erice
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).


Education

Sicily 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.
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
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.


Cuisine

The 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
Enna Enna (; scn, Castrugiuvanni; grc, Ἔννα; la, Henna, less frequently ''Haenna''), known until 1926 as Castrogiovanni, is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The pr ...

Enna
), 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.


Sports

The 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 culture

Each 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
; the Gaspare Canino, Canino of Partinico and Alcamo; Crimi, Trombetta and Napoli of
Catania Catania (, , Sicilian and , grc, Κατάνη) is the second largest city in Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , d ...

Catania
, Pennisi and Macri of Acireale, Profeta of
Licata Licata (, ; grc, Φιντίας, whence la, Phintias or ''Plintis''), formerly also Alicata (), is a city and ''comune'' located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River (the ancient ''Himera''), about midway between Agrigen ...

Licata
, Gargano and Grasso of
Agrigento Agrigento (; scn, Girgenti or ; grc, Ἀκράγας, translit=Akragas; la, Agrigentum or ; ar, script=Latn, Kirkent or ) is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading ...

Agrigento
. 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 items

The 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 emblem

The Flag of Sicily, regarded as a regional icon, was first adopted in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers of
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
. 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
Palermo Palermo ( , ; scn, Palermu , locally also or ; la, Panormus, from grc, Πάνορμος, Pánormos; older ar, بَلَرْم‎, Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital (political), capital of both the autonomous area, autonomous r ...

Palermo
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
Symbols of Naples
The triskelion was revived, as a neoclassicism, neoclassic – and non-House of Bourbon, Bourbon – emblem for the new Napoleonic Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, by Joachim Murat in 1808. In the case of Sicily, the triskelion symbol is said to represent the three Cape (geography), capes (headlands or promontory, promontories of the island of Sicily, namely: Punta del Faro, Pelorus (Peloro, Tip of Faro, Messina: North-East); Capo Passero, Pachynus (Passero, Syracuse: South); and Marsala, Lilybæum (Lilibeo, Cape Boeo, Marsala: West), which form three points of a triangle.


See also

* List of islands of Italy * List of people from Sicily


References


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
"The Bridge on the Strait of Messina: 'Lowering' the Right of Innocent Passage?"
''International and Comparative Law Quarterly'' 50: 411 ff. * "From Rome to Sicily: Plane or Train?
Expert Travel Advice, The New York Times, 7 February 2008
The New York Times. *Attilio L. Vinci, ''Magica Sicilia'', Campo, Alcamo (Trapani), 2018. * * * * ''To Noto: or London to Sicily in a Ford'' (London, 1989) by Duncan Fallowell


External links

*
Sicilian Region — Official website

The Wonders of Sicily – The Cities, Architecture, Culture, History, People

Piccolo, Salvatore (2018). ''Bronze Age Sicily''. World History Encyclopedia.
* {{Authority control Sicily, Former countries in Europe Islands of Italy Mediterranean Mediterranean islands NUTS 2 statistical regions of the European Union Regions of Italy Wine regions of Italy Autonomous regions of Italy