Sicily

Sicily

Overview
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana (Sicilian Autonomous Region)

Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

, music
Music of Sicily
The Music of Sicily refers to music created by peoples from the isle of Sicily. It was shaped by the island's history, from the island's great presence as part of Magna Grecia 2,500 years ago through various historical incarnations as past of the Roman Empire, then an integral part of the Kingdom...

, literature, cuisine, architecture
Sicilian Baroque
Sicilian Baroque is the distinctive form of Baroque architecture that took hold on the island of Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 and language
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

. The Sicilian economy is diversified. The agriculture sector is significant with citrus fruits (mainly oranges and lemons), olives and olive oil, grapes and wine.
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Unanswered Questions
Timeline

535   Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year.

878   Syracuse, Italy is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

902   Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily, is captured by the Aghlabid army.

1266   Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeats a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily. Manfred is killed in the battle and Pope Clement IV invests Charles as king of Sicily and Naples.

1266   Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeats a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily. Manfred is killed in the battle and Pope Clement IV invests Charles as king of Sicily and Naples.

1282   The people of Sicily rebel against the Angevin king Charles I, in what becomes known as the Sicilian Vespers.

1693   Mt. Etna erupts in Sicily, Italy. A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.

1693   Mt. Etna erupts in Sicily, Italy. A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.

1848   The Palermo rising takes place in Sicily against the Bourbon kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1849   Troops of the Two Sicilies take Palermo and crush the republican government of Sicily

 
Encyclopedia
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana (Sicilian Autonomous Region)

Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

, music
Music of Sicily
The Music of Sicily refers to music created by peoples from the isle of Sicily. It was shaped by the island's history, from the island's great presence as part of Magna Grecia 2,500 years ago through various historical incarnations as past of the Roman Empire, then an integral part of the Kingdom...

, literature, cuisine, architecture
Sicilian Baroque
Sicilian Baroque is the distinctive form of Baroque architecture that took hold on the island of Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 and language
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

. The Sicilian economy is diversified. The agriculture sector is significant with citrus fruits (mainly oranges and lemons), olives and olive oil, grapes and wine. Tourism and real estate are economically important for the island. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica
Necropolis of Pantalica
The Necropolis of Pantalica is a large necropolis in Sicily with over 5000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. Pantalica is situated in the valleys of the rivers Anapo and Calcinara, between the towns of Ferla and Sortino in south-eastern Sicily...

, the Valley of the Temples
Valle dei Templi
The Valle dei Templi is an archaeological site in Agrigento , Sicily, southern Italy. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy...

 and Selinunte
Selinunte
Selinunte is an ancient Greek archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily, southern Italy, between the valleys of the rivers Belice and Modione in the province of Trapani. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis...

.

Geography




Sicily has roughly triangular shape, which earned it the name Trinacria. It is separated to the east from the Italian region of Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 through the Strait of Messina
Strait of Messina
The Strait of Messina is the narrow passage between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria in the south of Italy. It connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Ionian Sea, within the central Mediterranean...

. The distance between the island and mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina is about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide in the north, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) in the south of the Strait.

The terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly, and intensively cultivated wherever it was possible. Along the northern coast, mountain ranges of Madonie
Madonie
The Madonie are one of the principal mountain groups in Sicily, southern Italy, part of the Sicilian portion of the Apennines. It is located in Palermo Province...

 (2000 m), Nebrodi
Nebrodi
The Nebrodi a mountain range that runs along the north east of Sicily. Together with the Madonie and the Peloritani, they form the Sicilian Apennines....

 (1800 m) and Peloritani
Peloritani
The Peloritani are a mountain range of north-eastern Sicily, in southern Italy, extending for some 65 km from Capo Peloro to the Nebrodi Mountains. At North and West they are bordered by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, respectively.The highest peaks are the Montagna Grande and the Rocca Novara...

 (1300 m) represent an extension of mainland Appennines. The cone of Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

 dominates over the eastern coast. In the south-east lie lower Hyblaean Mountains
Hyblaean Mountains
The Hyblaean Mountains are a mountain range in south-eastern Sicily, Italy. They are included in the provinces of Ragusa, Syracuse and Catania, and reaches the highest altitude with Monte Lauro, at 986 m.-Geology:...

 (1000 m). The mines
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 of the Enna
Enna
Enna is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily, southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside...

 and Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta is a city and comune located on the western interior of Sicily, capital of the province of Caltanissetta...

 district were a leading sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s.

Sicily and its small surrounding islands have highly active volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

es. Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

, located in the east of mainland Sicily with a height of 3320 m (10,892.4 ft), is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

 in the Tyrrhenian Sea
Tyrrhenian Sea
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy.-Geography:The sea is bounded by Corsica and Sardinia , Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and Sicily ....

, to the northeast of mainland Sicily, exhibit a volcanic complex including Stromboli
Stromboli
Stromboli is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is one of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic arc north of Sicily. This name is a corruption of the Ancient Greek name Strongulē which was given to it...

. Currently active also are the three dormant volcanoes of Vulcano
Vulcano
thumb| The Gran Cratere. A sense of scale is provided by the tourist visible near the centre of the crater.thumb|right|250px|View of Vulcano from the island of Lipari. The green islet centre left is Vulcanello, which is connected to Vulcano by an isthmus...

, Vulcanello and Lipari
Lipari
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, and the name of the island's main town. It has a permanent population of 11,231; during the May–September tourist season, its population may reach up to 20,000....

. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea
Ferdinandea
Ferdinandea is a submerged volcanic island which forms part of the underwater volcano Empedocles, south of Sicily, and which is one of a number of submarine volcanoes known as the Campi Flegrei del Mar di Sicilia. Currently a seamount, eruptions have raised it above sea level several times...

, which is part of the larger Empedocles
Empedocles (volcano)
Empedocles is a large underwater volcano located 40 km off the southern coast of Sicily named after the Greek philosopher Empedocles who believed that everything on Earth was made up of the four elements....

, last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of Agrigento
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

 and the island of Pantelleria
Pantelleria
Pantelleria , the ancient Cossyra, is an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Sicily and just east of the Tunisian coast. Administratively Pantelleria is a comune belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani...

 (which itself is a dormant volcano), on the underwater Phlegraean Fields of the Strait of Sicily
Strait of Sicily
The Strait of Sicily is the strait between Sicily and Tunisia. It is about wide and divides the Tyrrhenian Sea and the western Mediterranean Sea from the eastern Mediterranean. Its maximum depth is ....

.

The autonomous region also contains several neighboring islands: Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands
The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

, Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

, Pantelleria
Pantelleria
Pantelleria , the ancient Cossyra, is an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Sicily and just east of the Tunisian coast. Administratively Pantelleria is a comune belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani...

 and Lampedusa
Lampedusa
Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The comune of Lampedusa e Linosa is part of the Sicilian province of Agrigento which also includes the smaller islands of Linosa and Lampione. It is the southernmost part of Italy. Tunisia, which is about ...

.

Rivers


The island is drained
Drainage
Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. Many agricultural soils need drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.-Early history:...

 by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 at the port of Licata
Licata
Licata is a city and comune located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River , about midway between Agrigento and Gela...

. To the east, there is the Alcantara
Alcantara (river)
The Alcantara is a river in Sicily. It has its source on the south side of Monti Nebrodi and its mouth in the Ionian Sea at Capo Schiso in Giardini-Naxos. The river is long....

 in the province of Messina, which exits at Giardini Naxos; and the Simeto
Simeto
The Simeto is a 113 km long river in Sicily, southern Italy. It is the second longest river on the island after the Salso , but the most important in terms of watershed and for the population of the areas near it...

 which exits into the Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea
The Ionian Sea , is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and...

 south of Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

. Other important rivers on the island are to the southwest with Belice
Belice
The Belice is a river, 77 km in length, of western Sicily. From its main source near Piana degli Albanesi it runs south and west for 45.5 km as the Belice Destra until it is joined on the left by its secondary branch, the 42 km Belice Sinistro , which rises on the slopes of Rocca Busambra...

 and Platani
Platani
Platani , known in ancient times as Alico is a river in southern Sicily, Italy. It is the fifth longest in the island after Imera Meridionale, Simeto, Belice and Dittaino, with a course of 103 km, and the third for drainage basin with 1,785 km², after the Simeto and Imera Meridionale...

.
 
River length in km
Salso 144
Simeto
Simeto
The Simeto is a 113 km long river in Sicily, southern Italy. It is the second longest river on the island after the Salso , but the most important in terms of watershed and for the population of the areas near it...

113
Belice
Belice
The Belice is a river, 77 km in length, of western Sicily. From its main source near Piana degli Albanesi it runs south and west for 45.5 km as the Belice Destra until it is joined on the left by its secondary branch, the 42 km Belice Sinistro , which rises on the slopes of Rocca Busambra...

107
Dittaino
Dittaino
The Dittaino is a river of central Sicily which rises in the Heraean Mountains, not far from the modern towns of Gangi and Enna...

105
Platani
Platani
Platani , known in ancient times as Alico is a river in southern Sicily, Italy. It is the fifth longest in the island after Imera Meridionale, Simeto, Belice and Dittaino, with a course of 103 km, and the third for drainage basin with 1,785 km², after the Simeto and Imera Meridionale...

103
Gornalunga
Gornalunga
The Gornalunga is a 81 km long river located in central-eastern Sicily.The river springs from Monte Rossomanno, on the Erean Mountains, in the province of Enna...

81
Gela (river)
Gela (river)
The Gela river is located in Sicily. It originates from the Disueri lake and, after about 59 kilometers, flows into the Strait of Sicily of the Mediterranean Sea, near the homonymous town.-Overview:...

74
Salso Cimarosa 72
Torto 58
Irminio
Irminio
The Irminio is a 55km long river located in south-eastern Sicily and is also the most important of the rivers of the province of Ragusa.The river springs from Monte Lauro, the main peak of the Hyblaean Mountains, which form the main part of the mountainous southeast of Sicily and runs across the...

57
Dirillo
Dirillo
The Dirillo, or Acate, is a river in Sicily which springs from the Hyblaean Mountains and flows through the areas of Vizzini, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarrone, Chiaramonte Gulfi, Acate, Vittoria, Gela. It enters the Strait of Sicily south-east of the town of Gela...

54
Verdura
Verdura
Verdura is a river of southern Sicily. Its source is in Lake Favara, and flows into the Sicily Channel at Torre Verdura, between Sciacca and Ribera.-Course:...

53
Alcantara
Alcantara (river)
The Alcantara is a river in Sicily. It has its source on the south side of Monti Nebrodi and its mouth in the Ionian Sea at Capo Schiso in Giardini-Naxos. The river is long....

52
Tellaro
Tellaro
Tellaro is a village on the east coast of the Gulf of La Spezia in Liguria, northern Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of Lerici.-Notes and references:...

45
Anapo 40

Climate


Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers.

According to the Regional Agency for Waste and Water, on 10 August 1999 the weather station of Catenanuova (EN) recorded a maximum temperature of 48.5 °C (119 °F), which is the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe by the use of reliable instruments. The official European record – measured by minimum/maximum thermometers – is recognized to Athens, Greece, as communications reported a maximum of 48 °C (118 °F) in 1977.

Flora and fauna



Sicily is an often-quoted example of man-made deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

, which was practiced since Roman times, when the island was made an agricultural region. This gradually dampened the climate, leading to decline of rainfall and drying of rivers. Today, entire central and southwest provinces are practically without any forests. That also affected the island's wild fauna, of which is little left in the pastures and crop fields of the inland.

The Nebrodi Mountains Regional Park, established August 4, 1993, with its 86,000 ha is the largest protected natural area of Sicily, here is the largest forest of Sicily, called forest Caronia, that is also the second name of Nebrodi Mountains.
A number of bird species are found in Sicily. In some cases Sicily is a delimited point of a species range. For example, the subspecies of Hooded Crow
Hooded Crow
The Hooded Crow is a Eurasian bird species in the crow genus. Widely distributed, it is also known locally as Scotch Crow, Danish Crow, and Corbie or Grey Crow in Ireland, which is what its Welsh name, Brân Lwyd, translates as...

, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, but no further south.

The Hundred Horse Chestnut (Castagno dei Cento Cavalli), located on Linguaglossa road in Sant'Alfio
Sant'Alfio
Sant'Alfio is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 160 km east of Palermo and about 25 km north of Catania...

, on the eastern slope of Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

 is the largest and oldest known chestnut
Chestnut
Chestnut , some species called chinkapin or chinquapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.-Species:The chestnut belongs to the...

 tree in the world, dated between 2000 and 4000 years.

Ancient tribes


The original inhabitants of Sicily were three defined groups of the Ancient peoples of Italy. The most prominent and by far the earliest of these was the Sicani
Sicani
The Sicani or Sicanians were one of three ancient peoples of Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and Greek colonization.-History:The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name...

, who according to Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

 arrived from the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 (perhaps Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

). Important historical evidence has been discovered in the form of cave drawings by the Sicani, dated from the end of the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 epoch, around 8000 BC. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of dwarf hippos
Sicilian Hippopotamus
Hippopotamus pentlandi is an extinct hippopotamus. It arrived after the Messinian salinity crisis and lived during the Pleistocene on Sicily...

 and dwarf elephants
Elephas mnaidriensis
Elephas mnaidriensis or Palaeoloxodon mnaidriensis is an extinct species of elephant from Sicily closely related to the modern Asian elephant. This elephant is a separate species with respect to the European mainland straight-tusked elephant and not just a smaller insular form...

. The Elymians
Elymians
The Elymians were an ancient people who inhabited the western part of Sicily during the Bronze Age and Classical antiquity.-Origins:...

, thought to be from the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, were the next tribe to migrate to join the Sicanians on Sicily.

Although there is no evidence of any wars between the tribes, when the Elymians settled in the north-west corner of the island, the Sicanians moved across eastwards. From mainland Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, thought to originally have been Ligures
Ligures
The Ligures were an ancient people who gave their name to Liguria, a region of north-western Italy.-Classical sources:...

 from Liguria
Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

, came the Sicels
Sicels
The Sicels were an Italic people who inhabited ancient Sicily. The Sicels gave Sicily the name it has held since antiquity, but they rapidly fused into the culture of Magna Graecia.-History:...

 in 1200 BC; forcing the Sicanians to move back across Sicily settling in the middle of the island. Other minor Italic groups who settled in Sicily were the Ausones
Ausones
The Ausones were an ancient Italic tribe settled in the southern part of Italy. Often confused with the Aurunci, they share with them only a probably common origin.-History:...

 (Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

, Milazzo
Milazzo
Milazzo is a town and comune in the province of Messina, Sicily, Italy.The city is situated between two bays, one of Milazzo and the east to the west of Patti, in a strategic place in the north-eastern Sicily.Located 43 km from the provincial capital, is part of the metropolitan area of the Strait...

) and the Morgetes (Morgantina
Morgantina
Morgantina is an archaeological site in east central Sicily, southern Italy. It is sixty kilometres from the coast of the Ionian Sea, in the province of Enna. The closest modern town is Aidone, two kilometres southwest of the site...

). There are many studies of genetic records which show inhabitants of various parts of the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 mixed with the oldest inhabitants of Sicily. Among these were Egyptian, Phoenician, and Iberian. The Phoenicians also were early settlers before the Greeks. Palermo is a name of Phoenician origin.

Greek and Roman period




About 750 BC, the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 began to colonize Sicily (Sikelia), establishing many important settlements. The most important colony was Syracuse; other significant ones were Akragas, Selinunte
Selinunte
Selinunte is an ancient Greek archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily, southern Italy, between the valleys of the rivers Belice and Modione in the province of Trapani. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis...

, Gela
Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

, Himera
Himera
thumb|250px|Remains of the Temple of Victory.thumb|250px|Ideal reconstruction of the Temple of Victory.Himera , was an important ancient Greek city of Sicily, situated on the north coast of the island, at the mouth of the river of the same name , between Panormus and Cephaloedium...

, and Zancle. The native Sicani and Sicel peoples were absorbed by the Hellenic culture
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 with relative ease, and the area was part of Magna Graecia along with the rest of southern Italy, which the Greeks had also colonised. Sicily was very fertile, and the introduction of olives and grape vines flourished, creating a great deal of profitable trading; a significant part of Greek culture on the island was that of Greek religion and many temples were built across Sicily, such as the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

.

Politics on the island was intertwined with that of Greece; Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

 became desired by the Athenians, who during the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 set out on the Sicilian Expedition
Sicilian Expedition
The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. The expedition was hampered from the outset by uncertainty in its purpose and command structure—political maneuvering in Athens swelled a lightweight force of twenty ships into a...

. Syracuse gained Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 and Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

 as allies, and as a result the Athenian expedition was defeated. The Athenian army and ships were destroyed, with most of the survivors being sold into slavery.


While Greek Syracuse controlled much of Sicily, there were a few Carthaginian
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 colonies in the far west of the island. When the two cultures began to clash, the Greek-Punic wars erupted, the longest wars of antiquity. Greece began to make peace with the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 in 262 BC and the Romans sought to annex
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 Sicily as its republic's first province. Rome intervened in the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

, crushing Carthage so that by 242 BC Sicily had become the first Roman province outside of the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

.

The Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

, in which Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

 was murdered, saw Carthage trying to take Sicily from the Roman Republic. They failed and this time Rome was even more unrelenting in the annihilation of the invaders; during 210 BC the Roman consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 M. Valerian, told the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 that "no Carthaginian remains in Sicily".

Sicily served a level of high importance for the Romans as it acted as the empire's granary
Granary
A granary is a storehouse for threshed grain or animal feed. In ancient or primitive granaries, pottery is the most common use of storage in these buildings. Granaries are often built above the ground to keep the stored food away from mice and other animals.-Early origins:From ancient times grain...

. It was divided into two quaestor
Quaestor
A Quaestor was a type of public official in the "Cursus honorum" system who supervised financial affairs. In the Roman Republic a quaestor was an elected official whereas, with the autocratic government of the Roman Empire, quaestors were simply appointed....

ships, in the form of Syracuse to the east and Lilybaeum to the west. Although under Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 some attempt was made to introduce the Latin language to the island, Sicily was allowed to remain largely Greek in a cultural sense, rather than a complete cultural Romanisation. When Verres
Verres
Gaius Verres was a Roman magistrate, notorious for his misgovernment of Sicily. It is not known what gens he belonged to, though some give him the nomen Licinius.-As governor:...

 became governor of Sicily, the once prosperous and contented people were put into sharp decline. In 70 BC, noted figure Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 condemned the misgovernment of Verres in his oration In Verrem
In Verrem
In Verrem is a series of speeches made by Cicero in 70 BC, during the corruption and extortion trial of Gaius Verres, the former governor of Sicily...

.

The island was used as a base of power numerous times, being occupied by slave insurgents during the First
First Servile War
The First Servile War of 135–132 BC was an unsuccessful rebellion of slaves against the Roman Republic. The war was prompted by slave revolts in Enna on the island of Sicily. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming to be a prophet, and Cleon, a Cilician who became Eunus's military commander...

 and Second Servile War
Second Servile War
The Second Servile War was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Roman Republic on the island of Sicily. The war lasted from 104 BC until 100 BC....

s, and by Sextus Pompey during the Sicilian revolt
Sicilian revolt
The Sicilian revolt was a revolution against the Second Triumvirate of the Roman Republic which occurred between 44 BC and 36 BC. The revolt was led by Sextus Pompeius, and ended in a Triumvirate victory.- Context :...

. Christianity first appeared in Sicily during the years following AD 200; between this time and AD 313 when Constantine the Great
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 finally lifted the prohibition on Christianity, a significant number of Sicilians became martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s such as Agatha
Agatha of Sicily
Saint Agatha of Sicily is a Christian saint. Her memorial is on 5 February. Agatha was born at Catania, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251...

, Christina, Lucy
Saint Lucy
Saint Lucy , also known as Saint Lucia, was a wealthy young Christian martyr who is venerated as a saint by Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. Her feast day in the West is 13 December; with a name derived from lux, lucis "light", she is the patron saint of those who are...

, Euplius
Euplius
Saint Euplius is venerated as a martyr and saint by the Catholic Church. With Saint Agatha, he is a co-patron of Catania in Sicily.-Biography:...

 and many more. Christianity grew rapidly in Sicily during the next two centuries. The period of history where Sicily was a Roman province lasted for around 700 years in total.

Early Middle Ages




Germanic


As the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 was falling apart, a Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 tribe known as the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 took Sicily in AD 440 under the rule of their king Geiseric. The Vandals had already invaded parts of Roman France and Spain, asserting themselves as an important power in western Europe. However, they soon lost these newly acquired possessions to another East Germanic tribe
East Germanic tribes
The Germanic tribes referred to as East Germanic constitute a wave of migrants who may have moved from Scandinavia into the area between the Oder and Vistula rivers between the years 600 and 300 BC. Later they went to the south...

 in the form of the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

. The Ostrogothic conquest of Sicily (and Italy as a whole) under Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths , ruler of Italy , regent of the Visigoths , and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 began in 488; although the Goths were Germanic, Theodoric sought to revive Roman culture and government and allowed freedom of religion.

Byzantine


In the 6th century, the Gothic War took place between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be taken under general Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 who was commissioned by Eastern Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

, this campaign being part of an ambitious project of restoring the whole Roman Empire, uniting the Eastern and the Western halves. Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, Rome, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and the Ostrogoth capital Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 falling within five years. However, a new Ostrogoth king Totila
Totila
Totila, original name Baduila was King of the Ostrogoths from 541 to 552 AD. A skilled military and political leader, Totila reversed the tide of Gothic War, recovering by 543 almost all the territories in Italy that the Eastern Roman Empire had captured from his Kingdom in 540.A relative of...

, drove down the Italian peninsula, plundering and conquering Sicily in 550. Totila, in turn, was defeated and killed in the Battle of Taginae
Battle of Taginae
At the Battle of Taginae in June/July 552, the forces of the Byzantine Empire under Narses broke the power of the Ostrogoths in Italy, and paved the way for the temporary Byzantine reconquest of the Italian Peninsula.From as early as 549 the Emperor Justinian I had planned to dispatch a major army...

 by the Byzantine general Narses
Narses
Narses was, with Belisarius, one of the great generals in the service of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I during the "Reconquest" that took place during Justinian's reign....

 in 552.

In 535, Emperor Justinian I made Sicily a Byzantine province, and for the second time in Sicilian history, the Greek language became a familiar sound across the island. As the power of the Byzantine Empire waned, Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces
Rashidun army
The Rashidun Caliphate Army or Rashidun army was the primary military body of the Rashidun Caliphate's armed forces during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, serving alongside the Rashidun Navy...

 of Caliph Uthman in 652. The Arabs failed to make any permanent gains, and returned to Syria after gathering some booty.

Byzantine Emperor Constans II decided to move from the capital Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 to Syracuse in Sicily during 660. The following year he launched an assault from Sicily against the Lombard
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 Duchy of Benevento
Duchy of Benevento
The Duchy and later Principality of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in medieval Italy, centred on Benevento, a city central in the Mezzogiorno. Owing to the Ducatus Romanus of the popes, which cut it off from the rest of Lombard Italy, Benevento was from the first practically...

, which then occupied most of southern Italy. The 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
Constantine IV
Constantine IV , , sometimes incorrectly called Pogonatos, "the Bearded", by confusion with his father; was Byzantine emperor from 668 to 685...

 succeeded him, a brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius
Mezezius
Mezezius was an Armenian noble who served as a general of Byzantium, later usurping the Byzantine throne in Sicily from 668 to 669.According to a letter from Pope Gregory II to Emperor Leo III, he was Count of the Opsikion, the imperial retinue , and a later Syriac chronicle describes him as a...

 being quickly suppressed by the new emperor. Contemporary accounts report that the Greek language was widely spoken on the island during this period.
By 826, Euphemius
Euphemius (King of Sicily)
Euphemius was a Byzantine admiral, probably born in Messina. At ca. 826 according to Michele Amari, the Emperor appointed a new governor of Sicily called either Constantine or Photinus, who in turn entrusted a naval command to Euphemius, a landowner with a large following; accused on a perhaps...

 the commander of the Byzantines killed his wife in Sicily and forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II
Michael II
Michael II , surnamed the Amorian or the Stammerer , reigned as Byzantine emperor from December 820 to his death on 2 October 829, and the first ruler of the Phrygian or Amorian dynasty....

 caught wind of the matter and ordered that general Constantine 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 rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah
Ziyadat Allah I of Aghlabids
Ziyadat Allah I was the third Aghlabid Emir in Ifriqiya 817 until his death.Abu Muhammand Ziyadat Allah I succeeded his brother Abdallah I to the Emirate of Ifriqiya. During his rule the relationship between the ruling dynasty on the one hand and the jurists and Arab troops on the other remained...

 the Aghlabid
Aghlabid
The Aghlabids were a dynasty of emirs, members of the Arab tribe of Bani Tamim, who ruled Ifriqiya, nominally on behalf of the Abbasid Caliph, for about a century, until overthrown by the new power of the Fatimid.-History:...

 Emir of Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 in return for a place as a general and safety; a Muslim army
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

 of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s, Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

, Spaniards of Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 (which was then an Islamic region), Cretans and Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 was sent. The conquest
History of Islam in southern Italy
The history of Islam in southern Italy begins with the Islamic conquest and subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta, a process that started in the 9th century. Islamic rule over Sicily was effective from 902, and the complete rule of the island lasted from 965 until 1061...

 was a see-saw
See-Saw
See-Saw is a Japanese pop duo originally from Tokyo, Japan. Its members include Chiaki Ishikawa and Yuki Kajiura; former member left the group in April 1994 to pursue a writing career...

 affair and met with much resistance. It took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held for a long time, Taormina
Taormina
Taormina is a comune and small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century...

 fell in 902, and all of Sicily was eventually conquered by Arabs in 965.

Arab Sicily (965–1072)



The Arabs initiated land reforms
Muslim Agricultural Revolution
The Arab Agricultural Revolution is a term coined by the historian Andrew Watson in his influential 1974 paper postulating a fundamental transformation in agriculture from the 8th century to the 13th century in the Muslim...

 which in turn, increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholding
Smallholding
A smallholding is a farm of small size.In third world countries, smallholdings are usually farms supporting a single family with a mixture of cash crops and subsistence farming. As a country becomes more affluent and farming practices become more efficient, smallholdings may persist as a legacy of...

s, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

. The Arabs further improved irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 systems. A description of Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 was given by Ibn Hawqal
Ibn Hawqal
Muḥammad Abū’l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal was a 10th century Muslim writer, geographer, and chronicler. His famous work, written in 977, is called Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ ....

, an Arab merchant
Islamic economics in the world
Islamic economics in practice, or economic policies supported by self-identified Islamic groups, has varied throughout its long history. Traditional Islamic concepts having to do with economics included...

 who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Al-Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo to this day, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa
Kalša
Kalša is a village and municipality in Košice-okolie District in the Kosice Region of eastern Slovakia.-History:In historical records, the village was first mentioned in shabgfohusa 1270.-Geography:...

 (Kalsa
Kalša
Kalša is a village and municipality in Košice-okolie District in the Kosice Region of eastern Slovakia.-History:In historical records, the village was first mentioned in shabgfohusa 1270.-Geography:...

) contained the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqal
Ibn Hawqal
Muḥammad Abū’l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal was a 10th century Muslim writer, geographer, and chronicler. His famous work, written in 977, is called Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ ....

 reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops.

Throughout this reign, revolts by Byzantine Sicilians continuously occurred, especially in the east, and parts of the island were re-occupied before being quashed. Agricultural items such as oranges, lemons, pistachio
Pistachio
The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia , which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan , as well as in the United States,...

 and sugar cane were brought to Sicily. Under Arab rule the island was aligned in 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
Val di Noto
Val di Noto is a geographical area of south east Sicily; it is dominated by the limestone Iblean plateau.-The Val di Noto in the Arts:...

 in the southeast.

As dhimmi
Dhimmi
A , is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. Linguistically, the word means "one whose responsibility has been taken". This has to be understood in the context of the definition of state in Islam...

s, the native Christians (Eastern Orthodox) were allowed freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, but had to pay a tax--Jizya
Jizya
Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria...

--and had limitations placed on their occupations, dress and ability to participate in public affairs. The Emirate of Sicily
Emirate of Sicily
The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state on the island of Sicily , which existed from 965 to 1072.-First Arab invasions of Sicily:...

 began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarreling fractured the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 regime. During this time there was also a minor Jewish presence.

Norman Sicily (1068-1194)


By the 11th century, mainland southern Italian powers hired Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 mercenaries, who conquered Sicily
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

 from the Arabs under Roger I
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

. After taking Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

, he occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger was victorious at Misilmeri
Misilmeri
Misilmeri is a town and comune in the province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy. It is located approximately from Palermo and its name means "the resting place or the messuage of the Emir", and dates from when the Saracens ruled Sicily and named it Manzil-Al-Emir.The population is approximately 24,000...

, but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which in 1072 led to Sicily coming under Norman control.

Roger died in 1101. He was succeeded by his son, Roger II, who was the first King of Sicily. The elder Roger was married to Adelaide
Adelaide del Vasto
Adelaide del Vasto was the third wife of Roger I of Sicily and mother of Roger II of Sicily, as well as Queen consort of Jerusalem due to her later marriage to Baldwin I of Jerusalem, as his third wife.-Family:She was the daughter of Manfred del Vasto Adelaide del Vasto (Adelasia, Azalaïs) (c....

, who ruled until her son came of age in 1112.

The Normans, the Hautevilles, who were descended from the Vikings, came to appreciate and admire the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. Many Normans in Sicily adopted some of the attributes of Muslim rulers in dress, language, literature, and even in the presence of palace Eunuchs and according to some accounts, a harem. Like the multi-ethnic Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba ruled the Iberian peninsula and part of North Africa, from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous...

, then only just eclipsed, the court of Roger II became the most luminous center of culture in the Mediterranean, both from Europe and the Middle East. This attracted scholars, scientists, poets, artists and artisans of all kinds. In Norman Sicily, still with heavy Arab influence, laws were issued in the language of the community to whom they were addressed: the governance was by the rule of law so there was justice. Muslims, Jews, Byzantine Greeks, and Latin Normans worked together to form a society that historians have said have created some of the most extraordinary buildings the world has ever seen.

Kingdom of Sicily




Palermo continued on as the capital under the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

. Roger's son, Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

, having succeeded his brother Simon of Sicily as Count of Sicily, was ultimately able to raise the status of the island to a kingdom in 1130, along with his other holdings which included the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria and the Maltese Islands. 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
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

.

Significantly, immigrants from Northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 and Campania
Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

 arrived during this period. Linguistically, the island became Latinised. In terms of church, it would become completely Roman Catholic; previously, under the Byzantines, it had been more Eastern Christian.

Holy Roman Emperor


After a century the Norman Hauteville
Hauteville family
The family of the Hauteville was a petty baronial Norman family from the Cotentin which rose to prominence in Europe, Asia, and Africa through its conquests in the Mediterranean, especially Southern Italy and Sicily...

 dynasty died out; the last direct descendant and heir of Roger, Constance
Constance of Sicily
Constance of Hauteville was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

, married Emperor Henry VI
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 to 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 to 1197 and King of Sicily from 1194 to 1197.-Early years:Born in Nijmegen,...

. This eventually led to the crown of Sicily being passed on to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, who were Germans from Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

. The last of the Hohenstaufens was one of the greatest and most cultured men of the middle ages, Frederick II
Frederick II
Frederick II may refer to:* Frederick II, Duke of Swabia * Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor , king 1211/12–1250, emperor from 1220* Frederick II of Austria , Duke of Austria 1230–1246* Frederick III of Sicily...

, the only son of Constance
Constance
Constance is a female given name that derives from Latin and means "constant." Variations of the name include Connie, Constancia, Constanze, Constanza, Stanzy, and Konstanze.Constance may refer to:-People:*Constance Bennett , American actress...

. His mother's will had asked Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

 to undertake the guardianship of her son. The pope gladly accepted the role, as it allowed him to detach Sicily from the rest of The Holy Roman Empire, thus ending the specter of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 being surrounded. Frederick was four when , at Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 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
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

. There he picked up the many languages he heard spoken there, such as Arabic and Greek, and learned some of the lore of the Jewish community. He grew familiar with different peoples, garb, customs and faiths, so that he became unusually tolerant for that period. At age twelve, he dismissed Innocent's deputy regent and took over the government; at fifteen he married Constance of Aragon
Constance of Aragon
Constance of Aragon was an Aragonese infanta who was by marriage firstly Queen consort of Hungary, and secondly Queen consort of Germany and Sicily and Holy Roman Empress...

, and began his reclamation of the imperial crown.

Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

 crowning the French prince
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 Charles, count of Anjou and Provence, as the king of both Sicily and Naples.


Sicilian Vespers


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
War of the Sicilian Vespers
The War of the ' Vespers started with the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers against Charles of Anjou in 1282 and finally ended with the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302...

, which eventually saw almost the entire French population on the island killed. During the war the Sicilians turned to Peter III of Aragon
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

, son-in-law of the last Hohenstaufen king, for support after being rejected by the Pope. Peter gained control of Sicily from the French though the French retained control of the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

. A crusade was launched in August 1283 against Peter III and the Aragon Kingdom by Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death....

 (a pope from Île-de-France
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

), but it failed. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta
Peace of Caltabellotta
The Peace of Caltabellotta, signed on 31 August, 1302, was the last of a series of treaties, including those of Tarascon and Anagni, designed to end the conflict between the Houses of Anjou and Barcelona for ascendancy in the Mediterranean and especially Sicily and the Mezzogiorno.The peace divided...

 in 1302, which saw Peter's son Frederick III
Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick II was the regent and subsequently King of Sicily from 1295 until his death. He was the third son of Peter III of Aragon and served in the War of the Sicilian Vespers on behalf of his father and brothers, Alfonso and James...

 recognised as king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II
Charles II of Naples
Charles II, known as "the Lame" was King of Naples, King of Albania, Prince of Salerno, Prince of Achaea and Count of Anjou.-Biography:...

 was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII , born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.- Biography :Gaetani was born in 1235 in...

. 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
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

. In October 1347, in Messina, Sicily, the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 first arrived in Europe.


The onset of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 in 1492 led to Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 decreeing the expulsion of every single Jew from Sicily. The island was hit by two very serious earthquakes in the east in both 1542 and 1693, just a few years before the latter earthquake the island was struck by a ferocious plague. The earthquake
1693 Sicily earthquake
The 1693 Sicily earthquake refers to a powerful earthquake that struck parts of southern Italy, notably Sicily, Calabria and Malta on January 11, 1693 around 9 pm local time. This earthquake was preceded by a damaging foreshock on January 9th...

 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. Pirate
Barbary corsairs
The Barbary Corsairs, sometimes called Ottoman Corsairs or Barbary Pirates, were pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast, a term derived from the name of its Berber...

 raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century. The Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

 in 1713 saw Sicily assigned to the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

, however this period of rule lasted only seven years as it was exchanged for the island of Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 with Emperor Charles VI
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire. He succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia , Hungary and Croatia , Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711...

 of the Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n Habsburg Dynasty.

While the Austrians were concerned with the War of the Polish Succession
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

, a Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 prince, Charles
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 from Spain was able to conquer Sicily and Naples. At first Sicily was able to remain as an independent kingdom under personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

, while the Bourbons ruled over both from Naples. However the advent of Napoleon
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

's First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 saw Naples taken at the Battle of Campo Tenese
Battle of Campo Tenese
The Battle of Campo Tenese was a battle on 10 March 1806 between the II Corps of Napoleon's Army of Naples under General Reynier and the Royal Neapolitan Army under General Damas...

 and Bonapartist Kings of Naples were instated. Ferdinand III
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

 the Bourbon was forced to retreat to Sicily which he was still in complete control of with the help of British naval
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 protection.

Following this Sicily joined the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, after the wars were won Sicily and Naples formally merged as the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons. Major revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 movements occurred in 1820 and 1848 against the Bourbon government with Sicily seeking independence; the second of which, the 1848 revolution
Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848
The Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848 occurred in a year replete with revolutions and popular revolts. It commenced on 12 January 1848, and therefore was one of the first of the numerous revolutions to occur that year...

 was successful and resulted in a period of independence for Sicily.

Italian unification


In 1860, as part of the , the Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand
The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

 led by Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 captured Sicily. The conquest started at Marsala
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

, and native Sicilians, lured by Garibaldi's promises of an Italian republic and equality for Sicilians, joined him in the capture of the southern Italian peninsula. Garibaldi's march was finally completed with the Siege of Gaeta, where the final Bourbons were expelled and Garibaldi announced his dictatorship in the name of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

. Sicily then became part of the
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

. With the imposition of a monarchy, Sicilians got neither the promised republic, nor equality, since important police, judicial and political positions were filled by northern Italians. An anti-Savoy revolt pushing for Sicilian independence erupted in 1866 at Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

; it was quelled brutally by the Italians within a week.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa , was a Sicilian writer. He is most famous for his only novel, Il Gattopardo which is set in Sicily during the Risorgimento...

 wrote in his book Il Gattopardo
Il gattopardo
Il gattopardo may refer to:*The Leopard, a novel*The Leopard , a film based on the novel...

 that the Sicilians viewed the unification of Italy as a conquest of the south by the north. The Sicilian (and the wider mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

) economy collapsed, leading to an unprecedented wave of emigration
Italian diaspora
The term Italian diaspora refers to the large-scale migration of Italians away from Italy in the period roughly beginning with the unification of Italy in 1861 and ending with the Italian economic miracle in the 1960s...

. Organizations of workers and peasants known as the Fasci Siciliani
Fasci Siciliani
The Fasci Siciliani, short for Fasci Siciliani dei Lavoratori , were a popular movement of democratic and socialist inspiration, which arose in Sicily in the years between 1889 and 1894...

, who were leftist
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 and separatist groups, rose and caused the Italian government to impose martial law again in 1894. The Messina earthquake
1908 Messina earthquake
The 1908 Messina earthquake and tsunami took some 100,000–200,000 lives on December 28, 1908 in Sicily and Calabria, southern Italy.-Quake:On December 28, 1908 from about 05:20 to 05:21 an earthquake of 7.2 on the moment magnitude scale occurred centered on the of city Messina, in Sicily. Reggio...

 of 28 December 1908 killed over 80,000 people.

The Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

, a loose confederation of organized crime networks, emerged in the middle of the 19th century initially in the role of private enforcers hired to protect the property of landowners and merchants from the groups of bandits
Bandits
Bandits is a 2001 American crime-comedy drama film directed by Barry Levinson. It stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. Filming began in October 2000 and ended in February 2001. It helped Thornton earn a National Board of Review Best Actor Award for 2001...

 (briganti) who frequently pillaged the countryside and towns. The Fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 regime began suppressing them in the 1920s with considerable success. There was an allied invasion of Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis . It was a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign.Husky began on the night of...

 during World War II starting on 10 July 1943. In preparation of the invasion of Sicily, the Allies revitalised the Mafia to aid them. The invasion of Sicily contributed to the 25 July crisis; in general the Allied victors were warmly embraced by the Sicilian population. The Mafia continues to run rampant in Sicily and provides many problems for the government of Italy.

Italy became a Republic
Birth of the Italian Republic
The Italian constitutional referendum which officially took place on 2 June 1946, is a key event of Italian contemporary history. Until 1946, Italy was a kingdom ruled by the House of Savoy, kings of Italy since the Risorgimento and previously rulers of Savoy...

 in 1946 and as part of the Constitution of Italy
Constitution of Italy
The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 13 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947...

, Sicily was one of the five regions
Regions of Italy
The regions of Italy are the first-level administrative divisions of the state, constituting its first NUTS administrative level. There are twenty regions, of which five are constitutionally given a broader amount of autonomy granted by special statutes....

 given special status as an autonomous region. Both the partial Italian land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 and special funding from the Italian government's Cassa per il Mezzogiorno
Cassa per il Mezzogiorno
The Cassa del Mezzogiorno was a public effort by the government of Italy to stimulate economic growth and development in the less developed southern regions of Italy. It was established in 1950 primarily to construct public works and infrastructure projects, and to provide credit subsidies and...

(Fund for the South) from 1950 to 1984, helped the Sicilian economy improve, though the imposition of northerners in important administrative positions continued.

Economy



Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil due to the volcanic eruptions in the past and present. The island is still known for its pleasant climate and natural beauty. It has a long, hot growing season, but summer droughts are frequent. Agriculture is the chief economic activity but has long been hampered by absentee ownership, primitive methods of cultivation, and inadequate irrigation. The establishment (1950) of the now-defunct Cassa per il Mezzogiorno
Cassa per il Mezzogiorno
The Cassa del Mezzogiorno was a public effort by the government of Italy to stimulate economic growth and development in the less developed southern regions of Italy. It was established in 1950 primarily to construct public works and infrastructure projects, and to provide credit subsidies and...

 (Southern Italy Development Fund) by the national government led to land ownership reforms, an increase in the amount of land available for cultivation and the general development of the island's economy. However, the Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

, which is still influential, has hindered governmental efforts to institute reforms in the region, and Sicily continues to have an extremely low per capita income and high unemployment, although many work under the table, or have unreported jobs with no pension. Billions of euros have been infused in Sicily to bring the region up to current times. Prices rose 500% and many families decided to move back to the family residences to be able to afford to live. Although policies have begun to change, there is a large group of people that also rely on the revenue from NAS Sigonella
Naval Air Station Sigonella
Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

, the American naval air station that is situated near Catania.

Agriculture



The main agricultural products are citrons
Diamante citron
The Diamante citron is a variety of citron named after the city of Diamante which is its most known cultivation point. Diamante is located in the province of Cosenza, Calabria, on the south-western coast of Italy...

, oranges, lemons, olive
Olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s, olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, almonds, grapes, Sicilian pistachios and wine; cattle, mules, donkeys, and sheep are raised.

Sicily produces more wine than New Zealand, Austria and Hungary combined, but was previously known mainly for fortified Marsala wine
Marsala wine
Marsala is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala wine first received Denominazione di Origine Controllata status in 1969....

s. In recent decades the wine industry has improved, new winemakers are experimenting with less-known native varietals, and Sicilian wines have become better known. The best known local varietal is Nero d'Avola
Nero d'Avola
Nero d'Avola is "the most important red wine grape in Sicily" and is one of Italy's most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavours...

, named for a small town not far from Syracuse; the best wines made with these grapes come from Noto
Noto
Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . Its located 32 km southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains and gives its name to the surrounding valley, Val di Noto...

, a famous old city close to Avola.

There are important tuna and sardine fisheries.

Industry and manufacturing


In addition to wine, Sicily manufactures processed food, chemicals, refined petroleum, fertilizers, textiles, ships, leather goods, and forest products. There are petroleum fields in the southeast, and natural gas and sulfur are also produced. Improvements in Sicily's road system have helped to promote industrial development. The chief ports of the island are Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

, Augusta and Messina.

Statistics



GDP growth


A table showing Sicily's different GDP (nominal and per capita) growth between 2000 and 2008:
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008
Gross Domestic Product
(Millions of Euros)
67,204 70,530 72,855 75,085 77,327 80,358 82,938 88,328
GDP (PPP) per capita
(Euro)
13,479 14,185 14,662 15,053 15,440 16,023 16,531 17,533

Economic sectors


After the table which shows Sicily's GDP growth, this table shows the sectors of the Sicilian economy in 2006:
Economic activity GDP (mil. €) % sector
(region)
% sector
(Italy)
Agriculture, farming, fishing 2,923.3 3.52% 1.84%
Industry 7,712.9 9.30% 18.30%
Constructions 4,582.1 5.52% 5.41%
Commerce, hotels and restaurants, transport, services and (tele)communications 15,159.7 18.28% 20.54%
Financial activity and real estate 17,656.1 21,29% 24,17%
Other economic activities 24.011,5 28.95% 18.97%
VAT and other forms of taxes 10,893.1 13.13% 10.76%
GDP of Sicily 82,938.6

Transport



Roads


Highways have recently been built and expanded in the last four decades. The most prominent Sicilian roads are the motorway (known as ) running through the northern section of the island. Much of the motorway network is elevated by columns due to the mountainous terrain of the island. Other main roads in Sicily are the Strade Statali like the SS.113 that connects Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

 to Messina (via Palermo), the SS.114 Messina-Syracuse (via Catania) and the SS.115 Syracuse-Trapani (via Ragusa
Ragusa, Italy
Ragusa is a city and comune in southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Ragusa, on the island of Sicily, with around 75,000 inhabitants. It is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica...

, Gela
Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

 and Agrigento
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

).
Sign Motorway Length (km) Toll Services
A18 Messina-Catania
Autostrada A18 (Italy)
The Autostrada A18 is a motorway on the Ionian coast of Sicily that links Messina to Catania. The motorway is linked to the A20 Messina-Palermo at its northern-end and to the A19 Palermo-Catania through the RA15 Catania's Ring Road at its southern-end...

76 km Yes Yes
RA15 Catania's By Pass (West)
Autostrada RA15 (Italy)
The motorway RA15, also known as Tangenziale di Catania or Catania's By Pass , is a motorway at the service of Catania in Sicily, running from north to south, west of the city. It is 23.3 km long and it is managed by ANAS. It is also part of the European route E45...

24 km free Yes
Motorway Catania-Siracusa
Autostrada Catania-Siracusa
The Autostrada Catania-Siracusa is a motorway 25 km long in eastern Sicily that connects the cities of Catania and Syracuse. It is part of the European route E45.-History:...

25 km free No
A18 Siracusa-Rosolini
Autostrada A18 (Italy)
The Autostrada A18 is a motorway on the Ionian coast of Sicily that links Messina to Catania. The motorway is linked to the A20 Messina-Palermo at its northern-end and to the A19 Palermo-Catania through the RA15 Catania's Ring Road at its southern-end...

40 km free No
A19 Palermo-Catania
Autostrada A19 (Italy)
The Autostrada A19 is a motorway on the island of Sicily that links Palermo to Catania. The motorway from Palermo follows the Tyrrhenian coast esatwards for 46km and then turns south to go over the Madonie mountains and across the centre of the island to descend into the plain of Catania.The...

199 km free Yes
A20 Palermo-Messina
Autostrada A20 (Italy)
The Autostrada A20 is a motorway on the island of Sicily that links the city of Palermo to Messina. The motorway from Messina follows the Tyrrhenian coast for until it meets the A19 Palermo-Catania at Buonfornello...

181 km Yes Yes
A29 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo
Autostrada A29 (Italy)
The Autostrada A29 is a motorway on the island of Sicily that links Palermo to Mazara del Vallo. The motorway is also called Autostrada del Sale because one of its branches ends at the Salt Pans between Marsala and Trapani....

119 km free No
A29dir Alcamo-Trapani/Marsala 38 km/44 km free No

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
Trenitalia
Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. Trenitalia is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato, itself owned by the Italian Government. It was created in 2000 following the EU directive on the deregulation of rail transport.-Passenger transport:...

. Of the 1378 km (856 mi) of railway tracks in use, over 60% has been electrified
Railway electrification system
A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...

 whilst the remaining 583 km (362 mi) are serviced by diesel
Dieselisation
Dieselisation or dieselization is a term generally used for the increasingly common use of diesel fuel in vehicles, as opposed to gasoline or steam engines.-Water Transport:...

 engines. 88% of the lines (1.209 km) are single-track and only 169 km (105 mi) are double-track serving the two main routes, Messina-Palermo (Tyrrhenian
Tyrrhenian Sea
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy.-Geography:The sea is bounded by Corsica and Sardinia , Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and Sicily ....

) and Messina-Catania-Syracuse (Ionian
Ionian Sea
The Ionian Sea , is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and...

). Of the narrow gauge railways the Ferrovia Circumetnea
Ferrovia Circumetnea
The Ferrovia Circumetnea is a 950 mm gauge narrow-gauge regional railway line in Sicily...

 is the only one that still operates, going round Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

. From the major cities of Sicily, there are services to Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 and Rome; this is achieved by the trains being loaded onto ferries which cross to the mainland. In two of the main cities there are underground railway
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 services; these feature in the cities of Palermo and Catania
Metropolitana di Catania
The Catania Metro is a metro system serving the city of Catania in Sicily, southern Italy and the southern most metro in Europe....

 whilst Messina is served by a light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 service.

Airports



Mainland Sicily has several airports which serve numerous Italian and European destinations and some extra-European;
  • Catania-Fontanarossa Airport
    Catania-Fontanarossa Airport
    -See also:*Palermo Airport Falcone e Borsellino - also known as Punta Raisi Airport, another of Sicily's international airports* Trapani Birgi Airport Vincenzo Florio - another of Sicily's international airports...

    , located on the east-coast is the busiest on the island (and one of the busiest in all of Italy).
  • Palermo International Airport
    Palermo International Airport
    -The Company:GESAP S.p.a. is the airport management company of "Falcone e Borsellino" Airport in Palermo. It has a fully paid-up share capital of € 15,912,332.00 divided between the Regional Province of Palermo, the Comune of Palermo, the Chamber of Commerce, the Comune of Cinisi and other minor...

    , which is also 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 of traffic thanks to a low-cost carrier
    Low-cost carrier
    A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

    .
  • Comiso-Ragusa Airport
    Comiso Airport
    Comiso Airport , also known as Vincenzo Magliocco Airport is located in the Sicilian province of Ragusa, 5 km from Comiso and 15 km from Ragusa. It changed from military to civil use during 2005-2008...

    , has recently been refurbished and re-converted from military use to civil airport but to the date (9 March) it is still closed to the general traffic.
  • Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport
    Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport
    Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport , also known as Emanuele Notarbartolo Airport, is the elder of two facilities which serve the Sicilian capital Palermo, in Italy. Located on the outskirts of the city, just before Monte Cuccio, it is one of the oldest airports in the country. Today it houses a Botanical...

     is the old airport of Palermo and has internal flights to the Waterdrome of Enna and the Aeolian Islands
    Aeolian Islands
    The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

     (operated with amphibious aircraft
    Amphibious aircraft
    An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an aircraft that can take off and land on either land or water. Fixed-wing amphibious aircraft are seaplanes that are equipped with retractable wheels, at the expense of extra weight and complexity, plus diminished range and fuel economy compared to planes...

    s).
  • NAS Sigonella Airport
    Naval Air Station Sigonella
    Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

    , it is an Italian Air Force and U.S. Navy installation. Between the NATO Bases, Sigonella, is called "The Hub of the Med".
  • Lampedusa Airport
    Lampedusa Airport
    Lampedusa Airport is an airport in Lampedusa, Province of Agrigento, Sicily, Italy . It is located a few hundred meters away from the city centre, and reaches its traffic peaks in the summer period, as several airlines run flights to the island for tourism-related reasons.-Airlines and...

     and Pantelleria Airport
    Pantelleria Airport
    Pantelleria Airport is an airport in Pantelleria, Italy. It is distant 5 km from the town centre and runs both regular and charter flights from and to Sicily and mainland Italy.-Airlines and destinations:-External links:**...

     are also two small airports on smaller islands which are considered part of Sicily.

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 (route to Villa San Giovanni
    Villa San Giovanni
    Villa San Giovanni is a town and comune in the province of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, southern Italy. As of 2010 its population was of 13,747.-Geography:...

     and Salerno
    Salerno
    Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

    ), the busiest passenger port in Italy, Palermo
    Palermo
    Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

     (routes to Genoa
    Genoa
    Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

    , Civitavecchia
    Civitavecchia
    Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome, across the Mignone river. The harbor is formed by two piers and a breakwater, on which is a lighthouse...

     and Naples
    Naples
    Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

    ) and Catania
    Catania
    Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

     (route to Naples
    Naples
    Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

    ) .
  • Sicily's small surrounding islands: The port of Milazzo
    Milazzo
    Milazzo is a town and comune in the province of Messina, Sicily, Italy.The city is situated between two bays, one of Milazzo and the east to the west of Patti, in a strategic place in the north-eastern Sicily.Located 43 km from the provincial capital, is part of the metropolitan area of the Strait...

     serves the Aeolian Islands
    Aeolian Islands
    The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

    , the ports of Trapani
    Trapani
    Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

     and Marsala
    Marsala
    Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

     the Aegadian Islands
    Aegadian Islands
    The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

     and the port of Porto Empedocle
    Porto Empedocle
    Porto Empedocle is a town and comune in Italy on the coast of the Strait of Sicily, administratively part of the province of Agrigento. It is the namesake of Empedocles , a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of the city of Agrigentum , in his day a Greek colony in Sicily...

     the Pelagie Islands
    Pelagie Islands
    The Pelagie Islands , from the Greek pélagos - πέλαγος meaning "open sea", are the three small islands of Lampedusa, Linosa, and Lampione, located in the Mediterranean Sea between Malta and Tunisia, south of Sicily. To the northwest lie the island of Pantelleria and the Strait of Sicily...

    . From Palermo there is a service to the island of Ustica
    Ustica
    Ustica is the name of a small island, about 9 km across, situated 52 km north of Capo Gallo, Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea...

     and to Sardinia
    Sardinia
    Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

    .
  • International connections: From Palermo and Trapani there are weekly services to Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

     and there is also a daily service between Malta
    Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

     and Pozzallo
    Port of Pozzallo
    The Port of Pozzallo is the major port of the province of Ragusa on the Mediterranean coast of Sicily and is one of the most important harbours on the island....

    .
  • Commercial/Cargo Ports: The port of Augusta is the 5th largest cargo port in Italy which handles tonnes of goods. Other major cargo ports are Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Pozzallo
    Port of Pozzallo
    The Port of Pozzallo is the major port of the province of Ragusa on the Mediterranean coast of Sicily and is one of the most important harbours on the island....

     and Termini Imerese
    Termini Imerese
    Termini Imerese is a town and comune in the province of Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily, southern Italy.-Ancient:The site where the town now sits has been populated since prehistoric times, as many archeologial excavations have shown through the years...

    .
  • Touristic ports: Several "Touristic 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
    Marina di Ragusa
    Marina di Ragusa is a village in southern Italy, a frazione of the comune of Ragusa. The site is noted for its beautiful beaches and lively nightlife. Marina di Ragusa is located on the Mediterranean coast of the island of Sicily, directly opposite the island of Malta...

    , Riposto
    Riposto
    Riposto is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 170 km east of Palermo and about 25 km northeast of Catania.-External links:*...

    , Portorosa, Syracuse, Cefalù
    Cefalù
    Cefalù is a city and comune in the province of Palermo, located on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea about 70 km east from the provincial capital and 185 km west of Messina...

     and Sciacca
    Sciacca
    Sciacca , also Schiacca, is a town and comune in the province of Agrigento on the southwestern coast of Sicily...

    .
  • Fishing ports: As all islands, Sicily also has many fishing ports. The most important is in Mazara del Vallo
    Mazara del Vallo
    Mazara del Vallo is a town and comune in southwestern Sicily, Italy, which lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river, administratively part of the province of Trapani....

     followed by Castellamare del Golfo, Licata
    Licata
    Licata is a city and comune located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River , about midway between Agrigento and Gela...

    , Scoglitti
    Scoglitti
    Scoglitti is a small fishing village near the town of Vittoria on the south coast of Sicily.In addition to its fishing industry, the village derives a substantial part of its income from tourism...

     and Portopalo di Capo Passero
    Portopalo di Capo Passero
    Portopalo di Capo Passero is a comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . It's located about 220 km southeast of Palermo and about 45 km southwest of Syracuse...

    .

The 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
Suspension bridge
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. Outside Tibet and Bhutan, where the first examples of this type of bridge were built in the 15th century, this type of bridge dates from the early 19th century...

, the Strait of Messina Bridge
Strait of Messina Bridge
The Strait of Messina Bridge is a long-planned suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina, a narrow section of water between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of mainland Italy. In 2006, under Prime Minister Romano Prodi the project was cancelled...

. Planning for the project has experienced several false starts over the past few years. On 6 March 2009, Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

'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 EUR as a contribution to the bridge's total cost, estimated at 6.1 billion EUR.
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.

Demographics



The people of Sicily are often portrayed as very proud of their island, identity and culture and it is not uncommon for people to describe themselves as Sicilian, before the more national description of Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Despite the existence of major cities such as Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

, Messina and Syracuse, popular stereotypes of Sicilians commonly allude to ruralism, for example the coppola
Coppola (cap)
The coppola is a traditional kind of flat cap typically worn in Sicily. First used by English nobles during the late 18th century, the coppola began being used in Sicily in the early 20th century as a driving cap, usually worn when at the wheel driving the car...

is one of the main symbols of Sicilian identity; it is derived from the flat cap
Flat cap
A flat cap is a rounded men or women's cap with a small stiff brim in front. Cloths used to make the cap include original wool, tweed , and cotton. Less common materials may include leather. Cord flat caps are also worn in various colours. The inside of the cap is usually lined with silk for...

 of rural Northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

 which arrived in 1800 when Bourbon king Ferdinand I
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

 had fled to Sicily and was protected by the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

.

Sicily received a variety of different cultures, including the original Italic people, the Greeks, Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Saracens, Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

, and Spaniards, each contributing to the island's culture, particularly in the areas of cuisine and architecture. Ethnic Sicilians are descended from the native Sicani
Sicani
The Sicani or Sicanians were one of three ancient peoples of Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and Greek colonization.-History:The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name...

 people, early Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 settlers, Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, and Northern Italians. Sicilian people tend to most closely associate themselves with other southern Italian
Southern Italian
Southern Italian , or Napoletano-Calabrese, is a group of Italo-Dalmatian Romance dialects spoken in Southern Lazio, Southern Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia, and Northern Calabria....

s, with whom they share a common history. The island of Sicily has a population of approximately five million, and there are an additional ten million people of Sicilian descent around the world, mostly in North America, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia and other European and Latin American countries. Like the rest of southern Italy, immigration to the island is very low compared to other regions of Italy because workers tend to head to Northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 instead, due to better employment and industrial opportunities. The most recent ISTAT
Istituto Nazionale di Statistica
Istituto Nazionale di Statistica is the Italian national statistical institute.-History:Istat was created in 1926 to collect and organize essential data about the nation. Administering the census is one of its activities...

 figures show around 100 thousand immigrants out of the total five million population, that is nearly 2 percent of the population; Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 with more than 17 thousand make up the most immigrants, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Sri Lankans
Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora
The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora refers to the global diaspora of the people of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. It can be said to be a subset of the larger Sri Lankan as well as Tamil diaspora....

, Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

, and others mostly from Eastern Europe.

Major settlements


In Sicily there are only two metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

s
, Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 that has a Larger Urban Zone of about 900.000 people and Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

 whose LUZ is of 650.000 people. Overall on the island there are fifteen cities and towns which have a population above 50.000 people, these are:
Comune Population (May. 2011)
Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

655.343
Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

292.855
Messina 242.121
Siracusa 123.248
Marsala
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

82.812
Gela
Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

77.295
Ragusa
Ragusa, Italy
Ragusa is a city and comune in southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Ragusa, on the island of Sicily, with around 75,000 inhabitants. It is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica...

73.756
Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

70.642
Vittoria 63.393
Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta is a city and comune located on the western interior of Sicily, capital of the province of Caltanissetta...

60.221
Agrigento
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

59.190
Bagheria
Bagheria
Bagheria is a town and comune in the Province of Palermo in Sicily, Italy.-Etymology:According to some sources, the name Bagheria originates from the Phoenician term Bayharia meaning "land that descends toward the sea." Other sources claim that it derives from the Arabic Bāb al-Gerib, or "windy...

56.421
Modica
Modica
-External links:*...

55.294
Acireale
Acireale
Acireale is a coastal city and commune in the north-east of the province of Catania, Sicily, Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is a diocese, famous for its churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Peter's Basilica, St...

53.205
Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is a town and comune in southwestern Sicily, Italy, which lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river, administratively part of the province of Trapani....

51.413

Population genetics



Y-Dna haplogroups were found at the following frequencies in Sicily :
R1
Haplogroup R1 (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup R1 is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, a subgroup of haplogroup R, associated with the M173 mutation. It is dominated in practice by two very common Eurasian clades, R1a and R1b, which together are found all over Eurasia except in Southeast Asia and East Asia...

 (30.09%), J
Haplogroup J (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup J is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It is one of the major male lines of all living men...

 (29.65%), E1b1b (18.21%), I
Haplogroup I (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup I is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, a subgroup of haplogroup IJ, itself a derivative of Haplogroup IJK....

 (7.62%), G
Haplogroup G (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup G is a Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is a branch of Haplogroup F . Haplogroup G has an overall low frequency in most populations but is widely distributed within many ethnic groups of the Old World in Europe, northern and western Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East,...

 (5.93%), T
Haplogroup T (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup T is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. From 2002 to 2008, it was known as Haplogroup K2. It should not be confused with the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup T, of the same name....

 (5.51%), Q
Haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup Q is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup Q is one of the two branches of haplogroup P . Haplogroup Q is believed to have arisen in Central Asia approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. It has had multiple origins proposed...

 (2.54%). R1 and I haplogroups are typical in West European populations while J and E1b1b consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe. According to two recent studies in 2008 and 2009, Greek male influence was estimated at 37% while North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n male influence was estimated between 6% and 7.5%.
N E-V12 E-V13 E-V22 E-V65 E-M81
Haplogroup E1b1b1b (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, E1b1b1b , is the name of a major Y chromosome haplogroup mainly found in North Africa and to a lesser extent in Western Asia and Europe. E1b1b1b is dominated by its dominant sub-clade E1b1b1b1 , formerly known as E1b1b1b, E3b1b, and E3b2, which was discovered first, and has...

E-M123 G
Haplogroup G (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup G is a Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is a branch of Haplogroup F . Haplogroup G has an overall low frequency in most populations but is widely distributed within many ethnic groups of the Old World in Europe, northern and western Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East,...

I
Haplogroup I (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup I is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, a subgroup of haplogroup IJ, itself a derivative of Haplogroup IJK....

J1
Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Y DNA haplogroup J1, also known as J-M267, is a sub-haplogroup of Y DNA haplogroup J, along with its sibling clade Y DNA haplogroup J2. Men with this type of Y DNA share a common paternal ancestry, which is demonstrated and defined by the presence of the SNP mutation referred to...

J2
Haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup J2 is a Y-chromosome haplogroup which is a subdivision of haplogroup J. It is further divided into two complementary clades, J2a-M410 and J2b-M12.-Origins:...

T
Haplogroup T (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup T is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. From 2002 to 2008, it was known as Haplogroup K2. It should not be confused with the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup T, of the same name....

L
Haplogroup L (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup L is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup L is associated with South Asia. It has also been found at low frequencies among populations of Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and Southern Europe along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea...

Q
Haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup Q is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup Q is one of the two branches of haplogroup P . Haplogroup Q is believed to have arisen in Central Asia approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. It has had multiple origins proposed...

R1a
Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA)
Haplogroup R1a is the phylogenetic name of a major clade of Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups. In other words, it is a way of grouping a significant part of all modern men according to a shared male-line ancestor. It is common in many parts of Eurasia and is frequently discussed in human...

R1b
Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)
The point of origin of R1b is thought to lie in Eurasia, most likely in Western Asia. T. Karafet et al. estimated the age of R1, the parent of R1b, as 18,500 years before present....

Study
236 1.27% 5.93% 3.81% 0.42% 2.12% 4.66% 5.93% 7.62% 3.81% 25.84% 5.51% 0.42% 2.54% 5.51% 24.58% Di Gaetano et al . (2009)

Most common surnames


20 most common surnames in the region of Sicily are:

1. Russo
Russo
Russo is an Italian surname, a variant of Rossi, and may refer to southern Italian variation of the ROSSI surname which means "red-haired or ruddy-complexioned individual." It is derived from the nickname "rosso," meaning red, whereas "russo" would mean "Russian".* Aaron Russo, libertarian...



2. Messina

3. Caruso
Caruso
Caruso is an Italian surname and may refer to:*Anthony Caruso *Carmine Caruso , American brass instrument pedagog*Dave Caruso , American ice hockey goaltender*David Caruso , American actor...



4. Lombardo
Lombardo
Lombardo is an Italian surname, often held by the descendants of migrants from Sicily and other parts of Italy.It may refer to:-Surname:*Andrea Lombardo , Canadian football player...



5. Marino
Marino (name)
-People surnamed Marino:* Dan Marino, an American football player* Eugene Antonio Marino, an African American archbishop* Giambattista Marino, an Italian 17th century poet* Giuliana Marino, a German model* Frank Marino, a Canadian Rock guitarist...



6. Rizzo
Rizzo (surname)
Rizzo is a surname of Italian origin. Like "Ricci," it is derived from the adjective riccio, meaning curly, as a way to describe someone with curly hair...



7. Greco
Greco (surname)
Greco is an Italian surname, one of the most common in the whole country, and it literally means "Greek". Historically, its popularity is due to the frequent relationships between Italy and Greece: in particular, it spread within the Griko communities in the South of Italy and the Arbëreshë...



8. Romano
Romano
- People :* Romano AKA the Man in the Hat, a character in the TV series Ghost Whisperer* Aldo Romano , Italian-French jazz drummer* Andrea Romano, voice actress* Andy Romano, American actor* Ángel Romano , Uruguayan footballer...



9. Grasso
Grasso
Grasso is a surname, and may refer to:* Ella T. Grasso, , American politician* Domenico Grasso, American engineer and educator* Francis Grasso, , American disc jockey...



10. Di Stefano
Di Stefano
Di Stefano may refer to:* Alfredo Di Stéfano, the Argentine footballer* Andrea Di Stefano, the Italian actor* Francesco di Stefano, the Italian painter* Giuseppe Di Stefano, the Italian tenor* Vincenzo di Stefano da Verona, another Italian painter...


11. Amato
Amato (disambiguation)
Amato is a comune and town in the province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region of Italy.Amato may also refer to:* Amato , winner of the 1838 Derby Stakes* Amato Lusitano , Portuguese Jewish physician...



12. Costa
Costa (surname)
Costa, sometimes Da Costa or da Costa, is an Italian , Portuguese and Catalan surname. And, because of immigration, is common in Brazil and Argentina...



13. Parisi
Parisi
Parisi is a municipality in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. The population in 2004 is 2,170 and the area is 84.852 km². The elevation is 496 m....



14. La Rosa

15. Bruno

16. Puglisi
Pino Puglisi
Giuseppe 'Pino' Puglisi was a Roman Catholic priest in the rough Palermo neighbourhood of Brancaccio. He openly challenged the Mafia who controlled the neighbourhood, and was killed by them on his 56th birthday...



17. Vitale
Vitale
Vitale is a surname of Italian origin. The name refers to:*Ami Vitale , American photojournalist*Anthony Vitale , American mobster with the Bonanno crime family of New York...



18. Arena
Arena (disambiguation)
An arena, from Latin "sand", is an enclosed area that showcases theater, musical performances, or sporting events.Arena may also refer to:In architecture:...



19. Pappalardo
Salvatore Pappalardo
Salvatore Pappalardo STD JUD was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who was Archbishop of Palermo for over 25 years, from 1970 to 1996...



20. Catalano
Catalano
Catalano, originally an adjective or derived substantive indicating something or someone Catalan, can refer to the following persons:*Eduardo Catalano, Argentinian architect and sculptor*Giuseppe Catalani, Roman liturgist*Professor Nick Catalano, author...


Ethno-linguistic minorities


In Sicily there is the historical group ethnic and languages​​ largest of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Arbëreshë
Arbëreshë
The Arbëreshë are a linguistic and ethnic Albanian minority community living in southern Italy, especially the regions of Apulia, Basilicata, Molise, Calabria and Sicily...

, namely the Albanians of Italy. There are three Albanian communities identified within the province of Palermo
Province of Palermo
The Province of Palermo is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily, a major island in Southern Italy. Its capital is the city of Palermo. The Province of Palermo has 82 comuni , 1,239,272 inhabitants, and is 4,992 km² .-External links:...

, which have maintained unchanged, with different aspects together, the ethnic, linguistic and religious origins. The countries are: Contessa Entellina
Contessa Entellina
Contessa Entellina is a small comune of 1,981 inhabitants in the province of Palermo, in Sicily, southern Italy...

, Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi is a comune with 6,427 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.The town is the most important and populous Arbëreshë community in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Byzantine Catholic Church...

 and Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela is an Arbëreshë village in the province of Palermo in Sicily.The country, along with Contessa Entellina and Piana degli Albanesi, is one of three ethnic Albanian community in Sicily, where the old Albanian language is still spoken...

.

The largest center is Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi is a comune with 6,427 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.The town is the most important and populous Arbëreshë community in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Byzantine Catholic Church...

, which, besides being the hub religious
Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi
The Eparchia di Piana degli Albanesi , in Sicily, has been an eparchy since 1941. It was founded in 1937, and has 15 parishes, being subject to the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Church.-Territory:...

 and socio-cultural communities, has guarded and defended their peculiarities intact over time. There are two other communities with a strong historical and linguistic heritage.

Government and politics



The politics of Sicily takes place in a framework of a presidential
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and of a pluriform multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 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
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

.

Sicilian Independence Movement



The Sicilian Independence Movement (Movimento Indipendentista Siciliano, MIS) was a separatist
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

 Sicilian political party active in on the island from 1943 to 1951. Its best electoral result was in 1947, when it won 8.8% of the votes and nine regional deputies were elected.

The party was supported by Sicilians from a very wide of political stances: both conservatives
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 and socialists were involved at some point. The purpose was first to gain independence for Sicily. Once this was accomplished MIS planned to sort out the politics of the island themselves, with the movement splintering to found new Sicilian political parties with their own personal stances.

In the 1946 general election
Italian general election, 1946
The Italian general election of 2 June 1946 was the first Italian election after World War II and elected 556 deputies to a Constituent Assembly...

, MIS obtained 0.7% of national votes (8.8% of votes in Sicily), and four seats, including its leader Finocchiaro Aprile. During the 1947 congress, Antonino Varvaro, former secretary and leading member of the left wing, was expelled from the party by a majority. The reasons remained unknown. Following these events, Varvaro founded a rival independentist movement, MISDR, which did not achieve much success and disbanded soon. In the first Sicilian elections held in 1947, MIS obtained circa 9% of votes, and eight seats. However, the movement lost all its seats following the 1948 general election
Italian general election, 1948
The Italian elections of 1948 were the second democratic elections with universal suffrage ever held in Italy, taking place after the 1946 elections to the Constituent Assembly, responsible for drawing up a new Italian Constitution...

 and the 1951 regional election. Soon after the latter, Finocchiaro Aprile and several other members resigned from MIS and the movement entered into a sort of political hiatus, never being formally disbanded.

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: Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

 of Messina, isle of Ustica
Ustica
Ustica is the name of a small island, about 9 km across, situated 52 km north of Capo Gallo, Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea...

 (Palermo), Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands
The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

 (Trapani), isle of Pantelleria
Pantelleria
Pantelleria , the ancient Cossyra, is an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Sicily and just east of the Tunisian coast. Administratively Pantelleria is a comune belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani...

 (Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).
Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Agrigento
Province of Agrigento
Agrigento is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. It has an area of 3,042 km², and a total population of 454,370...

3,042 453,594 149.1
Province of Caltanissetta
Province of Caltanissetta
The Province of Caltanissetta is a province in the southern part of Sicily, Italy...

2,128 271,168 127.4
Province of Catania
Province of Catania
Catania is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Catania.It has an area of 3,552 km², and a total population of 1,073,881 . There are 58 comunes in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Catania...

3,552 1,090,620 307.0
Province of Enna
Province of Enna
Enna is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Enna.It has an area of 2,562 km², and a total population of 177,200 . There are 20 comunes in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Enna...

2,562 172,159 67.2
Province of Messina
Province of Messina
Messina is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Messina.-Geography and demography :...

3,247 652,742 201.0
Province of Palermo
Province of Palermo
The Province of Palermo is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily, a major island in Southern Italy. Its capital is the city of Palermo. The Province of Palermo has 82 comuni , 1,239,272 inhabitants, and is 4,992 km² .-External links:...

4,992 1,249,744 250.3
Province of Ragusa
Province of Ragusa
The Province of Ragusa is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily in Italy, located in the south-east of the island. Its capital is the city of Ragusa, which is the most southerly provincial capital in Italy.-Geography:...

1,614 318,980 197.6
Province of Syracuse
Province of Syracuse
The Province of Syracuse is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Syracuse.It has an area of 2,109 km², and a total population of 396,167 ....

2,109 403,559 191.3
Province of Trapani
Province of Trapani
Trapani is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Trapani.It has an area of 2,460 km², and a total population of 425,121...

2,460 436,240 177.3

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, the beaches, the archeological sites, and the two major cities of Catania and Palermo are the favourite tourist destinations, but the old town of Taormina
Taormina
Taormina is a comune and small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century...

 and the neighbouring seaside resort of Giardini Naxos draw visitors from all over the world, as do the Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

, Erice
Erice
Erice is a historic town and comune in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito to the north-east, and...

, Cefalù
Cefalù
Cefalù is a city and comune in the province of Palermo, located on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea about 70 km east from the provincial capital and 185 km west of Messina...

, Syracuse, and Agrigento
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

. The latter 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.


World Heritage Sites

  • Archeological park Valle dei Templi
    Valle dei Templi
    The Valle dei Templi is an archaeological site in Agrigento , Sicily, southern Italy. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy...

     of Agrigento
    Agrigento
    Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

    , since 1997.
  • Villa Romana del Casale
    Villa Romana del Casale
    Villa Romana del Casale is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 5 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, southern Italy...

     of Piazza Armerina
    Piazza Armerina
    Piazza Armerina is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.-History:...

     inscribed in 1997.
  • The Aeolian Islands
    Aeolian Islands
    The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolians . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to...

     (Natural site) inscribed 2000.
  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
    Val di Noto
    Val di Noto is a geographical area of south east Sicily; it is dominated by the limestone Iblean plateau.-The Val di Noto in the Arts:...

     since 2002.
  • Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
    Necropolis of Pantalica
    The Necropolis of Pantalica is a large necropolis in Sicily with over 5000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. Pantalica is situated in the valleys of the rivers Anapo and Calcinara, between the towns of Ferla and Sortino in south-eastern Sicily...

     since 2005.

Sicilian Baroque


The Sicilian Baroque
Sicilian Baroque
Sicilian Baroque is the distinctive form of Baroque architecture that took hold on the island of Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 has a unique architectural identity. Noto
Noto
Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . Its located 32 km southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains and gives its name to the surrounding valley, Val di Noto...

, Caltagirone
Caltagirone
Caltagirone is a town and comune in the province of Catania, on the island of Sicily, about 70 km southwest of Catania. It is bounded by the comuni of Acate, Gela, Grammichele, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarino, Mazzarrone, Mineo, Mirabella Imbaccari, Niscemi, Piazza Armerina, San Michele di...

, Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

, Ragusa
Ragusa, Italy
Ragusa is a city and comune in southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Ragusa, on the island of Sicily, with around 75,000 inhabitants. It is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica...

, Modica
Modica
-External links:*...

, Scicli
Scicli
*...

 and particularly Acireale
Acireale
Acireale is a coastal city and commune in the north-east of the province of Catania, Sicily, Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is a diocese, famous for its churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Peter's Basilica, St...

 contain some of Italy's best examples of Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 architecture, carved in the local red sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

. 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 palazzi
Palazzo
Palazzo, an Italian word meaning a large building , may refer to:-Buildings:*Palazzo, an Italian type of building**Palazzo style architecture, imitative of Italian 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
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, and Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of 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 characterise in words.

Archeological sites


Because many different cultures settled, dominated or invaded the island, Sicily has a huge variety of archeological 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 archeological sites:
  • Sicels/Sicans/Elymians: Segesta
    Segesta
    Segesta was the political center of the Elymian people, located in the northwestern part of Sicily, in what are now the province of Trapani and the comune of Calatafimi-Segesta....

    , Eryx
    Eryx (Sicily)
    Eryx , was an ancient city and a mountain in the west of Sicily, about 10 km from Drepana , and 3 km from the sea-coast...

    , Cava Ispica
    Ispica
    Ispica is a city and comune in the south of Sicily, Italy. It is 30 km from Ragusa, 50 km from Syracuse, and 90 km away from La Valletta, on the coast of Malta...

    , Thapsos, Pantalica.
  • Greeks: Syracuse, Agrigento
    Agrigento
    Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

    , Selinunte
    Selinunte
    Selinunte is an ancient Greek archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily, southern Italy, between the valleys of the rivers Belice and Modione in the province of Trapani. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis...

    , Gela
    Gela
    Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

    , Kamarina, Himera
    Himera
    thumb|250px|Remains of the Temple of Victory.thumb|250px|Ideal reconstruction of the Temple of Victory.Himera , was an important ancient Greek city of Sicily, situated on the north coast of the island, at the mouth of the river of the same name , between Panormus and Cephaloedium...

    , Megara Hyblaea
    Megara Hyblaea
    Megara Hyblaea – perhaps identical with Hybla Major – is the name of an ancient Greek colony in Sicily, situated near Augusta on the east coast, north-northwest of Syracuse, Italy, on the deep bay formed by the Xiphonian promontory...

    , Naxos
    Naxos (Sicily)
    Naxos or Naxus , was an ancient city of Sicily, on the east coast of the island between Catana and Messana...

    , Heraclea Minoa
    Heraclea Minoa
    Heraclea Minoa , in Sicily, was an ancient Greek city, situated on the south coast of the island, at the mouth of the river Halycus , 25 km west of Agrigentum , near modern Montallegro...

    ,
  • Phoenicians: Motya
    Motya
    Motya , was an ancient and powerful city on an island off the west coast of Sicily, between Drepanum and Lilybaeum...

    , Soluntum
    Soluntum
    Soluntum or Solus was an ancient city of Sicily, one of the three chief Phoenician settlements in the island, situated on the north coast, about east of Panormus , and immediately to the east of the bold promontory called Capo Zafferano...

    , Marsala
    Marsala
    Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

    .
  • Romans: Piazza Armerina
    Piazza Armerina
    Piazza Armerina is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.-History:...

    , Centuripe
    Centuripe
    Centuripe is a town and comune in the province of Enna . The city is located 61 km from Enna, in the hill country between the Rivers Dittaìno and Salso.The economy is mostly based on agriculture...

    , Taormina
    Taormina
    Taormina is a comune and small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century...

    .
  • Arabs: Palermo
    Palermo
    Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

    , Mazara del Vallo
    Mazara del Vallo
    Mazara del Vallo is a town and comune in southwestern Sicily, Italy, which lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river, administratively part of the province of Trapani....

    .

Castles


Province Castles Commune
Caltanisetta
Province of Caltanissetta
The Province of Caltanissetta is a province in the southern part of Sicily, Italy...

Castello Manfredonico Mussomeli
Mussomeli
Mussomeli is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy.-History:Mussomeli was founded in the 14th century by Manfredo III Chiaramonte with the name Manfredi, but later the current name, probable of Arab origin, was reimposed. In 1549 it became a county under the Lanza family...

U Cannuni Mazzarino
Mazzarino
Mazzarino is a city and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the region of Sicily, Italy.The city emerged in the second half of the 13th century. In 1507, the lords of the manor received the title Count of Mazzarini.It is home to two castles.In the 50s, the local friary was theater for the...

Castelluccio di Gela Gela
Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

Catania
Province of Catania
Catania is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Catania.It has an area of 3,552 km², and a total population of 1,073,881 . There are 58 comunes in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Catania...

Castello Ursino
Castello Ursino
Castello Ursino is a castle in Catania, Sicily, southern Italy.-History:Built circa from 1239 to 1250, it belonged to Emperor Frederick II, King of Sicily, and was considered impregnable at the time. In 1295, during the Sicilian Vespers, the Parliament which declared deposed James II of Aragon as...

Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

Castello Normanno Adrano
Adrano
Adrano is a town and comune in the province of Catania on the east coast of Sicily.It is situated around 41 km northwest of Catania, which is also the capital of the province to which Adrano belongs. It lies near the foot of Mount Etna, at the confluence of the Simeto and Salso rivers. It is...

Castello Normanno Paternò
Paternò
Paternò is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy.-History:The site of Paternò was settled before 3500 BCE. Its inhabitants were probably the Sicani, although it was located in mainly Sicel territory; its initial name was Inessa. The modern name derives form the Greek...

Castello di Aci Aci Castello
Aci Castello
Aci Castello is a city and comune in the Province of Catania in Sicily, Italy. The city is located 9 km north of Catania on the Mediterranean coast. The primary economic sectors are agriculture and industry...

Messina
Province of Messina
Messina is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Messina.-Geography and demography :...

Forte dei Centri Messina
Castello di Milazzo Milazzo
Milazzo
Milazzo is a town and comune in the province of Messina, Sicily, Italy.The city is situated between two bays, one of Milazzo and the east to the west of Patti, in a strategic place in the north-eastern Sicily.Located 43 km from the provincial capital, is part of the metropolitan area of the Strait...

Castello di Sant'Alessio Siculo Sant'Alessio Siculo
Sant'Alessio Siculo
Sant'Alessio Siculo is a comune in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 km east of Palermo and about 35 km southwest of Messina....

Castello di Pentefur Savoca
Savoca
Savoca is a comune in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 170 km east of Palermo and about 30 km southwest of Messina....

Castello di Schisò
Schisò Castle
Schisò Castle is a 16th century fortress on Cape Schisò in Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy.- History :Schisò Castle, which overlooks the bay of Giardini Naxos, was originally constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries...

Giardini Naxos
Palermo
Province of Palermo
The Province of Palermo is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily, a major island in Southern Italy. Its capital is the city of Palermo. The Province of Palermo has 82 comuni , 1,239,272 inhabitants, and is 4,992 km² .-External links:...

Zisa, Palermo
Zisa, Palermo
The Zisa is a castle in the western part of Palermo, Sicily.The construction was begun in the 12th century by Arabian craftsmen for king William I of Sicily, and completed by his son William II...

Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

Castello di Caccamo Caccamo
Caccamo
Caccamo is a town and comune located on the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily in the Province of Palermo.-History:The official founding of Caccamo was not until 1093, when the Normans began building the castle on a rocky spur overlooking a cliff. The castle itself is actually now being slowly converted...

Castello di Carini Carini
Carini
Carini is a town and comune in the Province of Palermo, Sicily, 13 miles by rail WNW of Palermo. It has a population of 25,752....

Castello dei Ventimiglia Castelbuono
Castelbuono
Castelbuono is a town and comune in the province of Palermo, Sicily . It is especially famous for the castle which its name derives, and around which the city grew up in the 14th century.-History:...

Ragusa
Province of Ragusa
The Province of Ragusa is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily in Italy, located in the south-east of the island. Its capital is the city of Ragusa, which is the most southerly provincial capital in Italy.-Geography:...

Castello di Donnafugata Ragusa
Ragusa, Italy
Ragusa is a city and comune in southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Ragusa, on the island of Sicily, with around 75,000 inhabitants. It is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica...

Torre Cabrera Pozzallo
Pozzallo
Pozzallo is a town and comune in the province of Ragusa, Sicily, Italy. The beaches of Pozzallo have received the Blu Flag by FEE award. A prestigious award given to beaches which meet strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management,...

Castello Dei Conti Modica
Modica
-External links:*...

Syracuse
Province of Syracuse
The Province of Syracuse is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Syracuse.It has an area of 2,109 km², and a total population of 396,167 ....

Castello Maniace
Castello Maniace
The Castello Maniace is a citadel and castle in Syracuse, Sicily. It stands on a large promontory, where it was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Emperor Frederick II. It bears the name of George Maniakes, the Byzantine general who besieged and took the city in 1038.The castle could be...

Syracuse
Trapani
Province of Trapani
Trapani is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Trapani.It has an area of 2,460 km², and a total population of 425,121...

Castello di Venere Erice
Erice
Erice is a historic town and comune in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito to the north-east, and...


Arts




Sicily has long been associated with the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

; many poets, writers, philosophers
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

s, architects and painters have roots on the island. The history of prestige in this field can be traced back to Greek philosopher Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

, a Syracuse native who has gone on to become renowned as one of the greatest mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

s of all time. Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

 and Empedocles
Empedocles
Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements...

 are two other highly noted early Sicilian-Greek philosophers, while the Syracusan Epicharmus
Epicharmus of Kos
Epicharmus is thought to have lived within the hundred year period between c. 540 and c. 450 BC. He was a Greek dramatist and philosopher often credited with being one of the first comic writers, having originated the Doric or Sicilian comedic form. Aristotle writes that he and Phormis invented...

 is held to be the inventor of comedy. The golden age of Sicilian poetry began in the early 13th century with the Sicilian School
Sicilian School
The Sicilian School was a small community of Sicilian, and to a lesser extent, mainland Italian poets gathered around Frederick II, most of them belonging to his court, the Magna Curia. Headed by Giacomo da Lentini, they produced more than three-hundred poems of courtly love between 1230 and 1266,...

, which was highly influential. Some of the most noted figures in the area of Sicilian poetry and writing are Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello was an Italian dramatist, novelist, and short story writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934, for his "bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage." Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of which are written...

, Salvatore Quasimodo
Salvatore Quasimodo
Salvatore Quasimodo was an Italian author and poet. In 1959 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times". Along with Giuseppe Ungaretti and Eugenio Montale, he is one of the foremost Italian poets...

, Antonio Veneziano and Giovanni Verga
Giovanni Verga
Giovanni Carmelo Verga was an Italian realist writer, best known for his depictions of life in Sicily, and especially for the short story "Cavalleria Rusticana" and the novel I Malavoglia .-Life and career:The first son of Giovanni Battista Catalano Verga and Caterina Di Mauro,...

. On the political side notable Sicilian philosophers include: Giovanni Gentile
Giovanni Gentile
Giovanni Gentile was an Italian neo-Hegelian Idealist philosopher, a peer of Benedetto Croce. He described himself as 'the philosopher of Fascism', and ghostwrote A Doctrine of Fascism for Benito Mussolini. He also devised his own system of philosophy, Actual Idealism.- Life and thought :Giovanni...

 who wrote The Doctrine of Fascism and Julius Evola
Julius Evola
Barone Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola also known as Julius Evola, was an Italian philosopher and esotericist...

.
Terracotta ceramics
Ceramics (art)
In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

 from the island are well known, the art of ceramics on Sicily goes back to the original ancient peoples named the Sicani
Sicani
The Sicani or Sicanians were one of three ancient peoples of Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and Greek colonization.-History:The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name...

ans, it was then perfected during the period of Greek colonisation and is still prominent and distinct to this day. There are two prominent folk art
Folk art
Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic....

 traditions on Sicily, both draw heavily from Norman influence; Sicilian cart
Sicilian cart
The Sicilian cart is an ornate, colorful style of horse or donkey-drawn cart native to the island of Sicily, in Italy.-History:...

 is the painting of wooden carts with intricate decorations of scenes from the Norman romantic poems, such as The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various manuscript versions which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries...

. The same tales are told in traditional puppet theatres or teatro dei pupi, which feature hand-made wooden marionette
Marionette
A marionette is a puppet controlled from above using wires or strings depending on regional variations. A marionette's puppeteer is called a manipulator. Marionettes are operated with the puppeteer hidden or revealed to an audience by using a vertical or horizontal control bar in different forms...

s, depicting Normans and Saracens, who engage in mock battles. this is especially popular in Acireale
Acireale
Acireale is a coastal city and commune in the north-east of the province of Catania, Sicily, Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is a diocese, famous for its churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Peter's Basilica, St...

. Famous Sicilian painters include Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 artist Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina, properly Antonello di Giovanni di Antonio was an Italian painter from Messina, Sicily, active during the Italian Renaissance...

, Renato Guttuso
Renato Guttuso
Renato Guttuso was an Italian painter.His best-known paintings include Flight from Etna , Crucifixion and La Vucciria . Guttuso also designed for the theatre and did illustrations for books...

 and Greek born Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico was a pre-Surrealist and then Surrealist Italian painter born in Volos, Greece, to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement...

 who is commonly dubbed the "father of Surrealist art" and founder of the metaphysical art
Metaphysical art
Metaphysical art , style of painting that flourished mainly between 1911 and 1920 in the works of the Italian artists Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà. The movement began with Chirico, whose dreamlike works with sharp contrasts of light and shadow often had a vaguely threatening, mysterious quality...

 movement.
Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 hosts the Teatro Massimo
Teatro Massimo
The Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele is an opera house and opera company located on the Piazza Verdi in Palermo, Sicily. It was dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II....

, which is the largest opera house
Opera house
An opera house is a theatre building used for opera performances that consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building...

 in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe. Sicilian composers vary from Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

, Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India
Sigismondo d'India was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.-Life:D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though...

, Giovanni Pacini
Giovanni Pacini
Giovanni Pacini was an Italian composer, best known for his operas. Pacini was born in Catania, Sicily, the son of the buffo Luigi Pacini, who was to appear in the premieres of many of Giovanni's operas...

 and Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.-Life:Scarlatti was born in...

, to contemporary composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino
Salvatore Sciarrino
Salvatore Sciarrino is an Italian composer of contemporary classical music.-Biography:In his youth, Sciarrino was attracted to the visual arts, but began experimenting with music when he was twelve. Though he had some lessons from Antonino Titone and Turi Belfiore, he is primarily self-taught as a...

 and Silvio Amato
Silvio Amato
Silvio Amato, a composer of classical, contemporary and popular music, was born in the Sicilian city of Catania, Italy . Currently, he resides in Boston, Massachusetts, but maintains a studio in Milan, Italy-Overview:...

. Many award winning and acclaimed films of Italian cinema have been filmed in Sicily, amongst the most noted of which are; Visconti
Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard and Death in Venice .-Life:...

's "La Terra Trema
La terra trema
La terra trema is a 1948 Italian dramatic film directed by Luchino Visconti...

"
and "Il Gattopardo
Il gattopardo
Il gattopardo may refer to:*The Leopard, a novel*The Leopard , a film based on the novel...

"
, Rosi
Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi is an Italian film director. He is the father of actress Carolina Rosi.-Biography:After studying Law, but hoping to study film, Rosi entered the industry as an assistant to Luchino Visconti on La Terra trema...

's "Salvatore Giuliano
Salvatore Giuliano (film)
Salvatore Giuliano is a 1962 Italian film directed by Francesco Rosi. Shot in a neo-realist documentary, non-linear style, it follows the lives of those involved with the famous Sicilian bandit, Salvatore Giuliano...

"
, Marco Risi's "Mery per sempre
Mery per sempre
Mery per sempre , is an Italian language dramatic film directed by Marco Risi and released in 1989. It stars Michele Placido, Claudio Amendola, Alessandro Di Sanzo, Francesco Benigno, Salvatore Termini and Tony Sperandeo.- Synopsis :...

"
and "Ragazzi fuori
Ragazzi fuori
Ragazzi fuori is an Italian language dramatic film directed by Marco Risi in the neo-neorealistic style and written by Aurelio Grimaldi. Released in 1990, it is the sequel to the 1989 film Mery per sempre...

"
, and Antonioni's "L'avventura
L'avventura
L'Avventura is a 1960 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and developed from a story he created. Monica Vitti and Gabriele Ferzetti star. It is noted for its careful pacing, which puts a focus on visual composition and character development, as well as for its unusual narrative structure...

"
.

Language



Many Sicilians are bilingual in Italian and Sicilian
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

, a distinct Romance language
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 which has a sizeable vocabulary, with at least 250,000 words. Some of the words are loan words from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, French, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Spanish, and other languages. The Sicilian language is also spoken to some extent in Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 and Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

; it had a significant influence on the Maltese language
Maltese language
Maltese is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of the country alongside English,while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic...

. In the modern age, as Italian is taught in schools and is the language of the media, Sicilian is now a secondary language amongst much of the youth, especially in some of the urban areas,.
The Sicilian language 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
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 and his court of notaries, or Magna Curia, which, headed by Giacomo da Lentini
Giacomo da Lentini
Giacomo da Lentini, also known as Giàcumu da Lintini and Jacopo Notaro, was an Italian poet of the 13th century. He was a senior poet of the Sicilian School and was a notary at the court of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II...

, also gave birth to the Sicilian School
Sicilian School
The Sicilian School was a small community of Sicilian, and to a lesser extent, mainland Italian poets gathered around Frederick II, most of them belonging to his court, the Magna Curia. Headed by Giacomo da Lentini, they produced more than three-hundred poems of courtly love between 1230 and 1266,...

, widely inspired by troubadour literature. Its linguistic and poetic heritage was later assimilated into the Florentine by Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

, the father of modern Italian who, in his , claims that "In effect this vernacular seems to deserve a 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
Sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

, whose invention is attributed to Giacomo da Lentini himself.

There are also several less common, unofficial languages spoken on the island. In and around three countries, the Albanian language
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 has been spoken since a wave of refugees Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 settled there in the 15th century; these people are predominantly Byzantine rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 and chant Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 at local Byzantine liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. The language of this community is an ancient Albanian language closely related to the one spoken especially in southern Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, and is recognized by national law 482 of December 15, 1999 for the protection of minority ethno-linguistic in Italy. As one might expect, the language bears the marks of 15th century grammar and diction. In some cases, the Church itself encouraged the Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 to settle on formerly monastic lands, particularly in western Sicily. In others, feudal lords welcomed the new residents. In Sicily there are the between much numerous Albanian communities in Italy. Arbëreshë
Arbëreshë
The Arbëreshë are a linguistic and ethnic Albanian minority community living in southern Italy, especially the regions of Apulia, Basilicata, Molise, Calabria and Sicily...

 (Albanians in Italy) communities in which we commonly speak Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 as their mother tongue, are: Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi is a comune with 6,427 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.The town is the most important and populous Arbëreshë community in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Byzantine Catholic Church...

, Contessa Entellina
Contessa Entellina
Contessa Entellina is a small comune of 1,981 inhabitants in the province of Palermo, in Sicily, southern Italy...

 and Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela is an Arbëreshë village in the province of Palermo in Sicily.The country, along with Contessa Entellina and Piana degli Albanesi, is one of three ethnic Albanian community in Sicily, where the old Albanian language is still spoken...

. The Albanian literature of Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi
Piana degli Albanesi is a comune with 6,427 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.The town is the most important and populous Arbëreshë community in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Byzantine Catholic Church...

 is very important, because here began the story in a literal version Toskë Albanian. In more than five centuries of history have achieved significant levels Arbëreshë the cultural and literary Albanian.

There are also several Ennese
Province of Enna
Enna is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Enna.It has an area of 2,562 km², and a total population of 177,200 . There are 20 comunes in the province, see Comunes of the Province of Enna...

 towns where dialects of the Lombard language of the Gallo-Italic family are spoken. Much of these two groups of people are tri-lingual, being able to also speak Italian and Sicilian.

Religion




As in most Italian regions, Christian Roman Catholicism is the most diffused religious denomination in Sicily, and the church still plays an important role in most Sicilians' lives. Before the invasion of the Normans, Sicily was predominantly Eastern Orthodox, which few adherents still remain today. Most still attend church weekly or at least for religious festivals, and many people get married in churches. However, there was a wide presence of Jews in Sicily. There has been a Jewish presence in the insular region 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
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

. However, much of the Jewish community faded away when they were expelled from the island
Expulsion of the Jews from Sicily
The expulsion of the Jews from Sicily began in 1493 when the Spanish Inquisition reached the island of Sicily and its Jewish population of more than 30,000 Jews.-History of the Sicilian Jews:...

 in 1492. Since there was also a strong Arab presence in Sicily, the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic faith was also significant for many centuries. Today, due to notably African and Eastern European immigration to the island, there are also several other religious minorities, such as Islam, Judaism, Temoins Jehovah, and Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

. There are also a fair number of Evangelist
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

 Church members and practitioners who reside on the island.

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 (for example true Cassata is only in Palermo, also if make it in all Sicily, and the same is for Granita which is the Catania speciality). The ingredients are typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the general public The savory dishes of Sicily are viewed to be healthy
Healthy diet
A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It is important for lowering many chronic health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. A healthy diet involves consuming appropriate amounts of all essential nutrients and an adequate amount of...

, using fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, artichoke
Artichoke
-Plants:* Globe artichoke, a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean* Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower with an edible tuber...

s, olive
Olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s (including olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

), citrus
Citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

, apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s, aubergines, onions, bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s, raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

s commonly coupled with sea food, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, including tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, sea bream, sea bass
European seabass
The European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax, also known as Morone labrax, is a primarily ocean-going fish that sometimes enters brackish and fresh waters. It is also known as the sea dace...

, cuttlefish
Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish are marine animals of the order Sepiida. They belong to the class Cephalopoda . Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs....

, swordfish
Swordfish
Swordfish , also known as broadbill in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood...

, sardine
Sardine
Sardines, or pilchards, are several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines are named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which they were once abundant....

s, and others.

Perhaps the most well-known part of Sicilian cuisine is the rich sweet dishes including ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

s and pastries
Pastry
Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked products made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder and/or eggs. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked products are called "pastries."...

. Cannoli
Cannoli
Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo , meaning "little tube", with the etymology stemming from the Latin "canna", or reed. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine...

, a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese
Ricotta is an Italian dairy product made from sheep milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Although typically referred to as ricotta cheese, ricotta is not properly a cheese because it is not produced by coagulation of casein...

, is in particular strongly associated with Sicily worldwide. Biancomangiare, biscotti ennesi (cookies native to Enna
Enna
Enna is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily, southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside...

), braccilatte a Sicilian version of doughnuts, buccellato
Buccellato
A Buccellato is a Sicilian circular cake given by godparents to the godchild and family on the christening day. The cake is supposed to be as large as possible to ensure good luck. Legend has it that the cake has even once reached the size of a Ferris wheel...

, ciarduna
Ciarduna
Ciarduna is a type of Italian pastry.Ciarduna siciliana is a traditional sweet pastry from the province of Palermo, Sicily . It consists of an almond cookie shell filled with a ricotta or mascarpone filling. Some variants are also covered with a shell of chocolate or chocolate frosting and...

, pignoli, bruccellati
Bruccellati
Brucellati, in Sicilian, literally "little bracelets" are uniquely Sicilian fig cookies of a sweet dough rolled out and filled with figs as well as numerouus other ingredients. The ingredients are as varied as the names the cookies are called by, apparently a function of the town or region in...

, sesame seed cookies, a sweet confection with sesame seeds and almonds (torrone in Italy) is cubbaita, frutta martorana
Frutta martorana
Frutta martorana are traditional marzipan sweets, in the form of fruits and vegetables, from the province of Palermo, Sicily....

, cassata
Cassata
Cassata or Cassata siciliana is a traditional sweet from the area of Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Cassata may also refer to a Neapolitan ice cream containing candied or dried fruit and nuts....

, pignolata
Pignolata
Pignolata is a Sicilian pastry, and is also common in Calabria. It is a soft pastry, covered in chocolate and lemon flavoured syrup/icing. This pastry is half covered or iced in one flavouring and the other half in the other flavour, which hardens when the pignolata is ready to be served...

, granita
Granita
Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, although available all over Italy , it is related to sorbet and italian ice. However, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture...

, cuccidati (a variety of fig cookie; also known as buccellati) and cuccìa
Cucciá
Cuccìa is a traditional Sicilian dish containing boiled wheat berries, which is eaten on Saint Lucy's feast day . The dish is consumed in Sicily and among Italian-Americans to commemorate the relief from a food shortage in Sicily; the appearance of wheat on the island is attributed to Saint Lucy...

 are amongst some of the most notable sweet dishes.

Like the cuisine of the rest of southern Italy, pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

 plays an important part in Sicilian cuisine, as does rice; for example with arancini
Arancini
Arancini or arancine are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. Arancine are usually filled with ragù , tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas....

. 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
Pecorino Siciliano
Pecorino Siciliano is an origin-protected firm sheep milk cheese from the Italian island and region of Sicily. It is produced throughout the island, but especially in the provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Trapani and Palermo...

 and caciocavallo
Caciocavallo
Caciocavallo is a type of stretched-curd cheese made out of sheep's or cow's milk. It is produced throughout Southern Italy, especially mostly on the Apennine Mountains...

. Spices used include saffron
Saffron
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel...

, nutmeg
Nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia...

, clove
Clove
Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world...

, pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, and cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

, which were introduced by the Arabs. Parsley
Parsley
Parsley is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region , naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice and a vegetable.- Description :Garden parsley is a bright green hairless biennial herbaceous plant in temperate...

 is used abundantly in many dishes. Although Sicilian cuisine is commonly associated with sea food, meat dishes, including goose
Goose
The word goose is the English name for a group of waterfowl, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller....

, lamb
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

, goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

, and turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, are also found in Sicily. It was the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 and Swabians
Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 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
Nero d'Avola
Nero d'Avola is "the most important red wine grape in Sicily" and is one of Italy's most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavours...

 made near the baroque of town of Noto
Noto
Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . Its located 32 km southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains and gives its name to the surrounding valley, Val di Noto...

.

Sports



The best known and most popular sport on the island of Sicily is football, which was introduced in the late 19th century under the influence of the English. Some of the oldest football clubs in all of Italy are Sicilian: the three most successful are Palermo
U.S. Città di Palermo
Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo is an Italian football club from Palermo, Sicily which currently plays in Serie A, the top level of Italian football. Formed in 1900 as Anglo Panormitan Athletic and Football Club, the club had various names before assuming its final form in 1987 and is currently...

, Messina
F.C. Messina Peloro
Associazione Calcio Rinascita Messina is an Italian football club based in Messina, Sicily. It currently plays in Serie D.- Brief history :The origins of the team go back to 1900 when Messina F.C was founded in the city. The club has spent most of its history in the lower Italian football leagues...

, and Catania
Calcio Catania
Calcio Catania is an Italian football club founded in 1908 and based in Catania, Sicily. The club has spent much of its history in Serie B, gaining promotion to Italy's top league Serie A five times...

, who have all, at some point, played in the prestigious Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

. To date, no Sicilian side has ever won Serie A; however, football is deeply embeded in local culture, all over Sicily each town has its own representative team.

Palermo and Catania have a heated rivalry and compete in the Sicilian derby
Sicilian derby
The Derby di Sicilia is a local derby between Italian football clubs Calcio Catania and U.S. Città di Palermo. Catania and Palermo are the two main cities on the island of Sicily, and the teams are fierce rivals...

 together: to date, Palermo is the only Sicilian team to have played on the European stage, in the UEFA Cup
UEFA Cup
The UEFA Europa League is an annual association football cup competition organised by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. It is the second most prestigious European club football contest after the UEFA Champions League...

. The most noted Sicilian footballer is Salvatore Schillaci
Salvatore Schillaci
Salvatore Schillaci , commonly referred to by his nickname Totò is a former Italian football player. During his career, he played for Messina , Juventus , Internazionale and Júbilo Iwata...

, who won the Golden Boot
FIFA World Cup awards
At the end of each FIFA World Cup final tournament, several awards are attributed to the players and teams which have distinguished from the rest, in different aspects of the game.These are awards granted during the men's senior tournament...

 at the 1990 FIFA World Cup
1990 FIFA World Cup
The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice. Teams representing 116 national football associations from all six populated...

 with Italy
Italy national football team
The Italy National Football Team , represents Italy in association football and is controlled by the Italian Football Federation , the governing body for football in Italy. Italy is the second most successful national team in the history of the World Cup having won four titles , just one fewer than...

. Other noted Sicilian players include Giuseppe Furino
Giuseppe Furino
Giuseppe Furino is a retired Italian footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.- Career :Having originally started his career at Juventus as a youngster he played for Savona Calcio and U.S...

, Pietro Anastasi
Pietro Anastasi
Pietro Anastasi , nicknamed Petruzzu 'u turcu by fans, was an Italian footballer, playing in the striker role.Anastasi was born in Catania, Sicily. During his career he played for Massiminiana, Varese, Juventus, Internazionale and Ascoli...

, Francesco Coco
Francesco Coco
Francesco Coco is a retired Italian football defender.-Club:Coco spent the majority of his club career with the Milan clubs; first with A.C. Milan between 1993 and 2002 and later with F.C. Internazionale between 2002 and 2007. He also had several loan spells with Vicenza Calcio, Torino F.C. and...

, Christian Riganò
Christian Riganò
Christian Riganò is an Italian football striker who is currently playing with Rondinella Calcio, the second team of Florence.-Career:...

, and Roberto Galia
Roberto Galia
Roberto Galia is an Italian professional football coach and a former player. Currently, he manages S.C. Insubria A.S.D..He represented Italy at the 1988 Summer Olympics.-External links:*...

. There have also been some noted managers from the island, such as Carmelo Di Bella
Carmelo Di Bella
Carmelo Di Bella was an Italian football player and manager. Di Bella spent the vast majority of his career in Sicily where he was a prominent figure in the footballing scene, especially in relation to the island's most successful clubs; Catania and Palermo.-Playing career:Di Bella, a left wing,...

 and Franco Scoglio.

Although football is by far the most popular sport in Sicily, the island also has participants in other fields. Amatori Catania
Amatori Catania
Amatori Catania is an Italian rugby union club who got relegated from the Super 10. They are based in Catania, they are the only professional rugby union team in Sicily. The club was founded in 1963, and play at the Stadio Santa Maria Goretti....

 compete in the top Italian national rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 league called Super 10
Super 10 (Italian premiership)
The withdrawal of Viadana and Benetton Treviso from the league has been compounded by club mergers. Rugby Viadana, Gran Parma and Colorno have merged to form GranDucato Rugby. Overmach Parma and Noceto have merged to form Crociati, both new clubs to be based in Parma. These changes created 2...

. They have even participated at European level in the European Challenge Cup
European Challenge Cup
The European Challenge Cup, currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Amlin Challenge Cup, is one of two annual rugby union competitions organised by European Rugby Cup. The cup was known as the Parker Pen Shield from 2001 to 2003 and Parker Pen Challenge Cup from 2003 to 2005. The European...

. Competing in the basketball variation of Serie A
Serie A (basketball)
Lega Basket Serie A is the highest level club competition in Italian professional basketball where play determines the national champion. The season consists of a home-and-away schedule of 30 games, followed by an eight-team playoff round. Quarterfinals and semifinals series are best-of-five, and...

 is Orlandina Basket
Orlandina Basket
Orlandina Basket, also known for sponsorship reasons as UPEA Capo d'Orlando is an Italian professional basketball club from the town of Capo d'Orlando, Sicily, Italy. It was founded in 1978, and is among the most recently founded basketball clubs in Italy...

 from Capo d'Orlando
Capo d'Orlando
Capo d'Orlando is a comune in the province of Messina, Sicily, Italy and is considered the capital of comprensorio dei Nebrodi. Well-known as a vivacious, active, touristic and commercial center, Capo d'Orlando is also the birthplace of the poet Lucio Piccolo, cousin of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa...

 in the province of Messina
Province of Messina
Messina is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Messina.-Geography and demography :...

, where the sport has a reasonable following. Various other sports that are played to some extent include volleyball, handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

, and water polo
Water polo
Water polo is a team water sport. The playing team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Game play involves swimming, treading water , players passing the ball while being defended by opponents, and scoring by throwing into a...

. Previously, in motorsport
Motorsport
Motorsport or motorsports is the group of sports which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition...

, Sicily held the prominent Targa Florio
Targa Florio
The Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo. Founded in 1906, it was the oldest sports car racing event, part of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973...

 sports car race that took place in the Madonie Mountains, with the start-finish line in Cerda
Cerda
Cerda is a comune in the province of Palermo in the Italian region Sicily, located about 45 km southeast of Palermo.Cerda borders the following municipalities: Aliminusa, Collesano, Sciara, Scillato, Sclafani Bagni, Termini Imerese....

. The event was started in 1906 by Sicilian industrialist and automobile enthusiast Vincenzo Florio
Vincenzo Florio
Vincenzo Florio, Jr. was an Italian industrialist in the wine industry of Sicily, famous for establishing the Targa Florio race....

, and ran until it was cancelled due to safety concerns in 1977.

Sicilian lifestyle and folklore





The family is at the heart of Sicilian culture as it has always been for generations. Family members often live close together, sometimes in the same housing complex, and sons and daughters usually remain at home with their parents until they marry, which tends to occur later than in previous decades. Couples today have fewer children than before, yet babies and children are much revered in Sicilian culture and almost always accompany their parents to social events.

Sicilian weddings are lavish, expensive, and traditional. They are normally held in church. The Catholic Church is an important fixture in Sicilian life. Almost all public places are adorned with crucifixes upon their walls, and most Sicilian homes contain pictures of saints, statues, and other relics. Each town and city has its own patron saint, and the feast days are marked by gaudy processions through the streets with marching bands and displays of fireworks.

Sicilian religious festivals also include the presepe vivente (living nativity scene
Nativity scene
A nativity scene, manger scene, krippe, crèche, or crib, is a depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke...

), 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 Ephiphany, often highlighted by the arrival of the magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

 on horseback.

Oral tradition plays a large role in Sicilian folklore. Many stories passed down from generation to generation involve a character named "Giufà
Giufà
Giufà, or Giucà as he is referred to in some areas of the country, is a character of Italian folklore. His antics have been retold and memorized through centuries of oral tradition. Although the anecdotes from his life mainly revolve around the southern Italian and Sicilian lifestyle, his...

". 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
Artichoke
-Plants:* Globe artichoke, a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean* Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower with an edible tuber...

 Festival
, which is held annually in Ramacca
Ramacca
Ramacca is a comune in a mountainous area in the Province of Catania in the Italian region of Sicily, located about 140 km southeast of Palermo and about 35 km southwest of Catania. It lies west of the Plain of Catania...

 in April. The most important laic event in Sicily is the carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

. Famous carnivals are in Acireale
Acireale
Acireale is a coastal city and commune in the north-east of the province of Catania, Sicily, Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is a diocese, famous for its churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Peter's Basilica, St...

, Misterbianco
Misterbianco
Misterbianco is a comune in the Province of Catania in the Italian region Sicily, located about 160 km southeast of Palermo and about 6 km west of Catania...

, Regalbuto
Regalbuto
Regalbuto is a comune in the province of Enna, in region of Sicily in southern Italy.There is an annual Cattle Fair held in the month of August.- History:...

, Paternò
Paternò
Paternò is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy.-History:The site of Paternò was settled before 3500 BCE. Its inhabitants were probably the Sicani, although it was located in mainly Sicel territory; its initial name was Inessa. The modern name derives form the Greek...

, Sciacca
Sciacca
Sciacca , also Schiacca, is a town and comune in the province of Agrigento on the southwestern coast of Sicily...

, Termini Imerese
Termini Imerese
Termini Imerese is a town and comune in the province of Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily, southern Italy.-Ancient:The site where the town now sits has been populated since prehistoric times, as many archeologial excavations have shown through the years...

.

Symbols and icons


There are several cultural icons and regional symbols in Sicily, including flags, carts, sights and geographical features.

Flag



The Sicilian flag
Flag of Sicily
The flag of Sicily was first adopted in 1282, after the successful Sicilian Vespers revolt against Charles I of Sicily. It is characterized by the presence of the triskelion in its middle, the head of Medusa and three wheat ears. The three bent legs allegedly represent the three points of the...

 is the flag of Sicily, and is regarded as a regional icon. It was first adopted in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

 of Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

. It is characterized by the presence of the triskelion
Triskelion
A triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol with three protrusions and a threefold rotational symmetry. Both words are from Greek or , "three-legged", from prefix "τρι-" , "three times" + "σκέλος" , "leg"...

 (trinacria) in its middle, the (winged) head of Medusa
Medusa
In Greek mythology Medusa , " guardian, protectress") was a Gorgon, a chthonic monster, and a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. The author Hyginus, interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone...

 and three wheat ears. The three bent legs are supposed to represent the three points of the island Sicily itself.

The colours, instead, respectively represent the cities of Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 and Corleone
Corleone
Corleone is a small town and comune of approximately 12,000 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo in Sicily, Italy....

, at those times an agricultural city of renown. Palermo and Corleone were the first two cities to found a confederation against the Angevin
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 rule. It finally became the official public flag of the Autonomous Region of Sicily in January 2000, after the passing of an apposite law which advocates its use on public buildings, schools, city halls, and all the other places in which Sicily is represented.

Trinacria (Sicilian triskelion)



Familiar as an ancient symbol of the region, the triskelion
Triskelion
A triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol with three protrusions and a threefold rotational symmetry. Both words are from Greek or , "three-legged", from prefix "τρι-" , "three times" + "σκέλος" , "leg"...

 is also featured on Greek coins of Syracuse, such as coins of Agathocles
Agathocles
Agathocles , , was tyrant of Syracuse and king of Sicily .-Biography:...

 (317–289 BCE). In Sicily, the first inhabitants mentioned in history are the tribes of the Sicani
Sicani
The Sicani or Sicanians were one of three ancient peoples of Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and Greek colonization.-History:The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name...

 (Greek Sikanoi) and the Sicels
Sicels
The Sicels were an Italic people who inhabited ancient Sicily. The Sicels gave Sicily the name it has held since antiquity, but they rapidly fused into the culture of Magna Graecia.-History:...

 (Greek Sikeloi), who gave Sicily its more familiar modern name. The triskelion was revived, as a neoclassic
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 — and non-Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 — emblem for the new Napoleonic Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, by Joachim Murat
Joachim Murat
Joachim-Napoléon Murat , Marshal of France and Grand Admiral or Admiral of France, 1st Prince Murat, was Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808 and then King of Naples from 1808 to 1815...

 in 1808. The actual name "Trinacria" was also occasionally used in the Kingdom of Sicily after 1302 (the English equivalent word of Trinacria is the Triangle).

The symbol dates back to when Sicily was part of Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

, the colonial extension of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 beyond the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 attributes the origin of the triskelion of Sicily to the triangular
Triangle
A triangle is one of the basic shapes of geometry: a polygon with three corners or vertices and three sides or edges which are line segments. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted ....

 form of the island, the ancient Trinacria, which consists of three large capes equidistant from each other, pointing in their respective directions, the names of which were Pelorus
Punta del Faro
-Historical significance:As the ancient Pelorus, Punta del Faro is one of the most celebrated promontories of Sicily, forming the northeastern extremity of the whole island, and one of the three promontories which were considered to give to it the triangular form from which it derived the name of...

, Pachynus
Capo Passero
Capo Passero or Cape Passero is a celebrated promontory of Sicily, forming the extreme southeastern point of the whole island, and one of the three promontories which were supposed to have given to it the name of "Trinacria." Capo Passero or Cape Passero (Greek: ; Latin: Pachynus or Pachynum) is...

, and Lilybæum
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

.

The three legs of the triskelion are also reminiscent of Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

's three-legged tables that ran by themselves, as mentioned in Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

xviii:
"At the moment Hephaestus was busily
Turning from bellows to bellows, sweating with toil
As he laboured to finish a score of three-legged tables
To stand around the sides of his firm-founded hall. On each
Of the legs he had put a gold wheel, that those magic tables
Might cause all to marvel by going with no other help
To the gathering of gods and by likewise returning to his house."

Coppola


The coppola
Coppola (cap)
The coppola is a traditional kind of flat cap typically worn in Sicily. First used by English nobles during the late 18th century, the coppola began being used in Sicily in the early 20th century as a driving cap, usually worn when at the wheel driving the car...

 is a traditional kind of flat cap
Flat cap
A flat cap is a rounded men or women's cap with a small stiff brim in front. Cloths used to make the cap include original wool, tweed , and cotton. Less common materials may include leather. Cord flat caps are also worn in various colours. The inside of the cap is usually lined with silk for...

 typically worn in Sicily. First used by English nobles during the late 18th century, the coppola began being used in Sicily in the early 20th century as a driving cap
Flat cap
A flat cap is a rounded men or women's cap with a small stiff brim in front. Cloths used to make the cap include original wool, tweed , and cotton. Less common materials may include leather. Cord flat caps are also worn in various colours. The inside of the cap is usually lined with silk for...

, usually worn by car drivers. The Coppola is usually made in tweed
Tweed (cloth)
Tweed is a rough, unfinished woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern...

. Today, the coppola is widely regarded, at least in Italy, as a definitive symbol of Sicilian heritage.

Cart



The Sicilian cart
Sicilian cart
The Sicilian cart is an ornate, colorful style of horse or donkey-drawn cart native to the island of Sicily, in Italy.-History:...

 (or carretto Siciliano in Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 and carrettu Sicilianu in Sicilian
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

 or carretti (plural)) is an ornate, colorful style of horse or donkey
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

-drawn cart
Cart
A cart is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people...

 native to Sicily.

Sicilian wood carver, 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 metal components. Carts are used for hauling miscellaneous light loads, such as produce, wood, wine, and people, called "Carretto del Lavoro" (cart for work) and also carts for festive occasions such as weddings and parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

s called "Carretto de Gara'. The Carretto is like the 'taxi
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

' or 'truck' of today.
In modern-day Sicily, the tradition continues in small, three-wheeled motorized vehicles (called lapa). They are often painted in the traditional way.

Mount Etna


Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

 is the largest active volcano in Europe and still plagues the island with black ash with its ever current eruptions. It currently stands 3329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

. Etna covers an area of 1190 km² (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km (87 mi). 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
Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting...

. In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under this mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky, and Mount Etna is widely regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily.

See also


  • Sicilian Mafia
  • Southern Italy autonomist movements
    Southern Italy autonomist movements
    There are various regional Southern Italy autonomist movements, covering the political spectrum from socialist to Bourbon monarchist.Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Southern Italy often experienced distinct historical developments when compared to Northern Italy. As a result, it has developed...

  • Thrinacia
    Thrinacia
    Thrinakia , also Trinacria or Thrinacie, mentioned in Book 11 of Homer's Odyssey, is the island home of Helios's cattle, guarded by his eldest daughter, Lampetia...



Further reading


  • Bonacini, Elisa. Il territorio calatino nella Sicilia imperiale e tardoromana, British Archeological Reports, International Series BAR S1694, Oxford 2007; ISBN 978-14-0730-136-5
  • Bonacini, Elisa. Il borgo cristiano di Licodia Eubea, Trento 2008; ISBN 978-88-6178-157-3
  • Bonacini, Elisa. Una proposta di identificazione lungo la via a Catina-Agrigentum, in AITNA, Quaderni di Topografia Antica, 4, Catania 2010, pp. 79–92; ISBN 88-88683-58-5
  • Chaney, Edward. (2000), "British and American Travellers in Sicily from the eighth to the twentieth century", The Evolution of the Grand Tour, Routledge.
  • 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 Feb. 2008 The New York Times.


External links