Sicily ( / s ɪ s ɪ l i / SISS -i-lee ; Italian : Sicilia [sitʃiːlja] , Sicilian : Sicilia ) is the Largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy , in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana .

Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula , from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina . Its MOST prominent landmark is Mount Etna , the tallest active volcano in Europe, [4] and one of the MOST active in the world, Currently 3,329 m (10.922 ft) high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate .

The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. [5] [6] By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars . After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals , the Ostrogoths , the Byzantine Empire , and the Emirate of Sicily . The Norman Conquest of Southern Italyled to the establishment of the Kingdom of Sicily , qui Was subsequently Ruled By the Hohenstaufen , the Capetian House of Anjou , Spain , the House of Habsburg , [7] It was finally unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies . It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand , a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification , and a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous regionon May 15th, 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946 .

Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts , music , literature , cuisine , and architecture . It is also home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica , the Valley of the Temples , and Selinunte .


Sicily has a roughly triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria . To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina , about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide in the north, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) wide in the southern part. [8] The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km (170 mi) long, 180 km (110 mi); total coast length is estimated at 1,484 km (922 mi). The total area of the island is 25.711 km 2 (9.927 sq mi), [9] while the Autonomous Region of Sicily (qui includes smaller surrounding islands) HAS year area of 27.708 km 2 (10.698 sq mi).[10]

The land of inland Sicily is mostly hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie , 2,000 m (6,600 ft), Nebrodi , 1,800 m (5,900 ft), and Peloritani , 1,300 m (4,300 ft), are an extension of the mainland Apennines . The cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast of the lower Hyblaean Mountains , 1,000 m (3,300 ft). [11] The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur -producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s.

Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some highly active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash on the island with its ever-present eruptions. It currently stands 3,329 meters (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) ago, but it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps . Etna covers an area of ​​1,190 km 2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km (87 mi). This is one of the largest volcanoes in Italy , being one of the largest, Mount Vesuvius . In Greek mythologyThe deadly monster Typhoon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus , the god of the sky. Mount Etna is a very important place in the world of Sicily.

The Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea , to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, and include Stromboli . The three volcanoes of Vulcano , Vulcanella and Lipari are currently active, although they are usually dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea , which is part of the larger Empedocles volcano , last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of Agrigento and the island of Pantelleria (which itself is a dormant volcano).

The autonomous region also includes several neighbors: the Aegadian Islands , the Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa .


The island is drained by many rivers, most of the way to the south of the island. The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata . To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos , and the Simeto , which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania . Other important rivers in Belize and Platani in the southwest.

rivet length in km (mi)
Salso 144 km (89 mi)
Simeto 113 km (70 mi)
Belice 107 km (66 mi)
Dittaino 105 km (65 mi)
Platani 103 km (64 mi)
Gornalunga 81 km (50 mi)
Gela (river) 74 km (46 mi)
Salso Cimarosa 72 km (45 mi)
Torto 58 km (36 mi)
Irminio 57 km (35 mi)
Dirillo 54 km (34 mi)
Verdura 53 km (33 mi)
Alcantara 52 km (32 mi)
Tellaro 45 km (28 mi)
Anapo 40 km (25 mi)


Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers with very changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts, especially the south-west, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching.

Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters, but it is also known as a winery, with typical continental climate.

Snow falls in abundance above 900-1000 meters, but it is much more important than in the northern coast of the island. The interior mountains, especially Nebrodi, Madonie and Etna, enjoy a fully mountain climate, with heavy snowfalls during winter. The summit of Mount Etna is usually snow capped from October to May.

On the other hand, especially in the summer it is not unusual that there is the sirocco, the wind from the Sahara. Rainfall is scarce, and water proves deficient in some provinces where water crisis can happen sometimes.

According to the Regional Agency for Waste and Water, the weather station of Catenanuova (EN) recorded at a maximum temperature of 48.5 ° C (119 ° F). [12] The total European record – measured by minimum / maximum thermometers – is held by Athens, Greece, which reported a maximum of 48.0 ° C (118 ° F) in 1977. [13] Total precipitation is highly variable, generally increasing elevation. In general, the southern and southern coasts (less than 50 cm (20 in)), and the northern and northerneastern highlands the most (over 100 cm (39 in)).

Flora and fauna

Sicily is an often-quoted example of man-made deforestation , which has occurred since Roman times, when the island was turned into an agricultural region. [11] This is a drying up of the climate, leading to a decline in rainfall and the drying of rivers. The central and southwest provinces are practically devoid of any forest. [14] In Northern Sicily, there are three important forests; near Mount Etna, in the Nebrodi Mountains and the Bosco della Ficuzza’s Natural Reserve near Palermo . The Nebrodi Mountains Regional Park, established on 4 August 1993 and covering 86,000 hectares (210,000 acres), is the largest protected natural area of ​​Sicily; and contains the largest forest in Sicily, the Caronia. TeaHundred Horse Chestnut (Castagno dei Cento Cavalli), in Sant’Alfio , on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna, is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world at 2,000 – 4,000 years old. [15]

Sicily has a good variety of fauna. Species include fox, least weasel , marten pine , roe deer , wild boar , porcupine crested , hedgehog , common toad , Vipera aspis , golden eagle , falcon peregrine , hoopoe and black-winged stilt . [16]

The Zingaro Natural Reserve is one of the best examples of unspoiled coastal wilderness in Sicily. [17]

Surrounding waters including Strait of Messina are home to varieties of birds and marine life , including larger species such as flamingos and fin whales .


Main article: History of Sicily

Ancient tribes

The original inhabitants of Sicily were three defined groups of the ancient peoples of Italy . The most prominent and of the earliest of these Sicani , who were said by Thucydides to have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula (perhaps Catalonia ). [18] [19] Important historical evidence has been discovered in the form of cave drawings by the Sicani, dated from the end of the Pleistocene epoch around 8000 BC. [20] The arrival of the first humans on the island is correlated with the extinction of the Sicilian Hippopotamus and the dwarf elephant . TeaElymians , thought to be from the Aegean Sea , were the next tribe to join the Sicanians on Sicily. [21]

Recent discoveries of dolmens on the island (in the second half of the third millennium BC) seems to offer new insights into the culture of primitive Sicily. It is well known that the Mediterranean region has gone through a rather intricate prehistory, so much so that it is difficult to piece together the muddle of different peoples. The impact of two influences is clear, however: the European one coming from the Northwest, and the Mediterranean influence of a clear eastern heritage. [22]

There is no evidence of any warring between the tribes, but the Sicanians moved eastwards when the Elymians settled in the northwest corner of the island. The Sicels are thought to have originated in Liguria ; in Sicily and settle in the middle of the island. [20] Other minorities who settled in Sicily were the Ausones ( Aeolian Islands , Milazzo ) and the Morgetes of Morgantina . Studies of genetic records revealing peoples of the Mediterranean Basinmixed with the ancient inhabitants of Sicily, including Egyptians and Iberians. [23]

Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek, and Roman period

The Phoenician settlements in the western part of the island predates the Greeks . [24] From about 750 BC, the Greeks began to live in Sicily (Σικελία – Sikelia ), establishing many important settlements. The most important colony was in Syracuse ; others are located at Akragas , Selinunte , Gela , Himera and Zancle . [25] The native Sicani and Sicel peoples were absorbed into the Hellenic culture with relative ease, and the area became part of Magna Graecia along with the rest of the world.southern Italy , which the Greeks had also colonized. Sicily was very fertile, and the successful introduction of olives and grape vines created a great deal of profitable trading. [26] A significant proportion of Greek Culture on the island Was That of the Greek religion , And Many temples built Were Throughout Sicily, Including Several in the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento . [27]

Politics on the island was intertwined with that of Greece; Syracuse was chosen by the Athenians who set out on the Sicilian Expedition during the Peloponnesian War . Syracuse gained Sparta and Corinth 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. [28]

Syracuse Greek controlled eastern Sicily while Carthage controlled the West. [29] The two cultures began to clash, leading to the Greek-Punic wars . In the United States of America, the Roman Republic in 262 BC, and the Romans sought to annex Sicily as their first province. Rome attacked Carthage’s holdings in Sicily in the First Punic War and won, making Sicily the first Roman province outside the Italian Peninsula by 242 BC. [30]

In the Second Punic War , the Carthaginians attempted to take back Sicily. Some of the Greek cities on the island with the Carthaginians. Archimedes , who lived in Syracuse, helped the Carthaginians, but was killed by the Romans after they invaded Syracuse in 213 BC [31] during the Second Punic War , which saw Carthage again trying to take Sicily from the Roman Republic. They failed, and Rome was even more unrelenting in its annihilation of the invaders this time; Roman consul Mr. Valerian told the Roman Senate in 210 BC that “no Carthaginian remains in Sicily”. [32]

Sicily served a level of high importance for the Romans, as it acted as the empire’s granary . It was divided into two quaestorships , in the form of Syracuse to the east and Lilybaeum to the west. [33] Some attempt to be made in Augustus to introduce the Latin language to the island, but Sicily was allowed to remain largely Greek in a cultural sense. [33] The Ounce prosperous and contented island went into sharp decline when Verres became governor of Sicily. In 70 BC, noted figure Cicero condemned the misgovernment of Glasses in his oration In Verrem . [34]

The island was used as a base of many times, being occupied by slave insurgents during the First and Second Servile Wars , and by Sextus Pompeyduring the Sicilian revolt . Christianity first appeared in Sicily during the following years AD 200; Between this time and AD 313, Constantine the Greatfinally lifted the prohibition on Christianity, but not before a significant number of Sicilians had become martyrs , including Agatha , Christina , Lucy , and Euplius . [35]Christianity grew rapidly in Sicily over the next two centuries. The period of history during which Sicily was a Roman province lasted for around 700 years. [35]

Germanic and Byzantine periods (440-965)

Germanic (440-535)

As the Western Roman Empire was falling apart, a Germanic tribe known as the Vandals briefly took Sicily in AD 440 under the rule of their king Geiseric but in 476 the island was returned to Odoacer , who was ruling Italy, 476-93, in the name of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor. The Vandals had already invaded parts of Roman France , Spain, and Portugal, asserting themselves as an important power in Western Europe. [36] However, they soon lost these newly acquired possessions to another East Germanic tribe in the form of the Goths . [36]TheOstrogothic conquest of Sicily (and Italy as a whole) under Theodoric the Great began in 488. The Goths were Germanic, but Theodoric sought to revive Roman culture and government and allowed freedom of religion. [37]

Byzantine (535-965)

Forty-seven years later Gothic War (535-554) began between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire . Sicily was the first part of Italy to be taken by general Belisarius , who was commissioned by Eastern Emperor Justinian as part of an ambitious attempt to restore the Roman Empire, thereby uniting the Eastern and Western halves. [38]Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples , Rome, Milan , and the capital Ostrogoth Ravenna falling within five years. [39] However, new Ostrogoth kingTotila drove down the Italian peninsula, plundering and conquering Sicily in 550. Totila, in turn, was defeated and killed in the Battle of Taginae by Byzantine general Narses in 552. [39]

In 535, Emperor Justinian I made Sicily in Byzantine province and, as in Roman times, Greek continues to be the predominant language spoken on the island. After the advent of Islam, Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces of Caliph Uthman in 652, but the Arabs failed to make any gains and returns to Syria after gathering some booty. [40]

Byzantine Emperor Constans II Decided to move from the capital Constantinople to Syracuse in Sicily During 660. The Following year, he lancé year assault from Sicily Against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento , qui Then occupied MOST of southern Italy. [41] Rumors that the capital of the empire was probably moved to Syracuse Constans his life, as he was murdered in 668. [41] His Constantine IV succeeded him, a brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius being quickly suppressed by the new emperor. Contemporary accounts report that the Greek language was widely spoken on the island during this period.[42] In 740 Emperor Leo III the Isaurian transferred Sicily from the jurisdiction of the church of Rome to that of Constantinople, placing the island within the eastern church. [43]

In 826 Euphemius , the Byzantine Order in Sicily having been killed in his wife. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered general Constantine to end the marriage and cut off Euphemius’ head. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine, and then occupied Syracuse; he in turn was defeated and driven out to North Africa. [44] He offered the rule of Sicily to Ziyadat Allah , the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia , in return for a position as a general and a place of safety. A Muslim army was then sent to the island of Arabs , Berbers , Cretans, and Persians . [44]

The Muslim conquest of Sicily was a see-saw affair and met with much resistance. It took a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered; the largest city, Syracuse, held out until 878 and the Greek city of Taormina fell in 962. It was not until 965 that all of Sicily was conquered by the Arabs . [44] In the 11th century Byzantine armies carried a partial reconquest of the island under George Maniakes , but it was their Norman mercenaries who would eventually complete the island’s reconquest at the end of the century.

Arab Period (827-1091)

The Arabs initiated land reforms , which has increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings , undermining the dominance of the latifundia . The Arabs further improved irrigation systems. The language spoken in Sicily under Arabic rule was Siculo-Arabic and Arabic influence is still present in some Sicilian words today. Although the language is extinct in Sicily, it has been developed in Maltese language on the islands of Malta today.

A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal , an Arab merchant 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 (modern Kalsa ) contained the Sultan’spalace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqal reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops. Palermo was first ruled by the Aghlabids ; Later it was the center of Emirate of Sicily under the nominal suzerainty of the Fatimid Caliphate .

Throughout this reign, Byzantine Sicilians revolts have been re-occupied before being quashed. Agricultural items such as oranges, lemon, pistachio and sugarcane were brought to Sicily. [36] Under the Arab rule, the island is aligned in three administrative regions , or “vals”, correspondingly corresponding to the three “points” of Sicily: Val di Mazara in the west; Val Demone in the northeast; and Val di Noto in the southeast. As dhimmis , the native Eastern Orthodox Christians were allowed freedom of religion, but had to pay a fee, the jizya , and

The Emirate of Sicily began to fragment the intra-dynastic quarrelling fractured Muslim diet. [44] During this time, there was also a minor Jewish presence. [45]

Norman Sicily (1038-1198)

In 1038, seventy years after their last cities in Sicily, the Byzantines under the Greek general George Maniakes invaded the island together with their Varangian and Norman mercenaries. ALTHOUGH Maniakes Was killed in a civil war in 1043 before Byzantine Completing a reconquest, Normans full Would a conquest of Sicily from the Arabs under Roger I . [46] After taking over Apulia and Calabria , Roger occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger was victorious at Misilmeri, Aim the MOST crucial battle Was the siege of Palermo, qui led to MOST of Sicily coming under Norman control in 1072. [47] The Normans finished Their conquest in 1091, When They captured Noto , qui Was the last Arab stronghold.

Roger died in 1101 and was succeeded by his Roger II , who was the first King of Sicily. The elder Roger was married to Adelaide , who ruled until her cam of age in 1112. [46]

The Norman Hauteville family , who were descendants of Vikings , came to appreciate and admire the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. And they began implementing their own culture, customs, and politics in the region. Many Normans in Sicily also adopted some of the attributes of Muslim rulers and their Byzantine subjects in dress, language, literature, and even in the presence of palace eunuchs, and according to some accounts, a harem. [48] [49] The court of Roger II became the most luminous center of culture in the Mediterranean, both from Europe and the Middle East, like the multi-ethnic Caliphate of Córdoba, then only just eclipsed. This attracted scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and artisans of all kinds. Laws were issued in the language of the community to which they were addressed in Norman Sicily, still with heavy Arab and Greek influence. [50] [51] The governance was by the rule of law, so there was justice. Muslims, Jews, Byzantine Greeks , Lombards, and Normans worked together to form a society that has created some of the most extraordinary buildings that the world has ever seen. [50]

Kingdom of Sicily

Palermo continued on the capital under the Normans . Roger’s his Roger II of Sicily Succeeded his brother Simon of Sicily as Count of Sicily, and was able to raise the status of the island to a kingdom in 1130, along with his other holdings, which included the Maltese Islands and the Duchies of Apulia and Calabria . [47] [52] He appointed the powerful Greek George of Antioch to be his “emir of emirs” and continued the syncretism of his father. During this period, the Kingdom of Sicily was prosperous and politically powerful, becoming one of the wealthiest states in all of Europe-even wealthier than theKingdom of England . [53]

Significantly, immigrants from Northern Italy and Campania arrived during this period. Linguistically, the island shifted from being one third Greek and two thirds Arabic speaking at the time of the Norman conquest to becoming fully Latinised . [51] In terms of the church, it became completely Roman Catholic; previously, it had been Eastern Orthodox under the Byzantines. [54]

Hohenstaufen dynasty

After a century, the Norman Hauteville dynasty died out; the last direct descendant and heir of Roger, Constance , married Emperor Henry VI . [55] This was eventually passed to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty , who were Germans from Swabia . The last of the Hohenstaufens, Frederick II , the only son of Constance , was one of the greatest and most cultured men of the Middle Ages. His mother’s will had asked Pope Innocent III to undertake the guardianship of her son. The pope gladly accepted the role, as it was allowed to detach Sicily from the rest of the Holy Roman Empire, thus ending the specter of the Papal States being surrounded. Frederick was born when, at Palermo , he was crowned King of Sicily in 1198. Frederick received no systematic education and was allowed to run in the streets of Palermo . There are some Arabic and Greek and some of the Jewish community. At age twelve, he dismissed Innocent’s deputy regent and took over the government; at fifteen he married Constance of Aragon, and began his reclamation of the imperial crown. Subsequently, due to Muslim rebellions, Frederick II destroyed the Arab presence in Sicily, moving to the Muslims of Sicily to the city of Lucera in Apulia between 1221 and 1226. [56]

Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led, in 1266, to Pope Innocent IV crowning the French prince Charles , count of Anjou and Provence , as the king of both Sicily and Naples. [55]

Sicily under Spanish rule

Strong opposition to French officialdom due to mistreatment and taxation saw the local peoples of Sicily rise up, leading in 1282 to year insurgencyKnown as the War of the Sicilian Vespers , qui Eventually saw Almost the Entire French population on the island killed. [55] During the war, the Sicilians turned to Peter III of Aragon , his-in-law of the last Hohenstaufen king, for support after being rejected by the Pope. Peter gained control of Sicily from the French, who, however, retained control of the Kingdom of Naples . A crusade was launched in August 1283 against Peter III and the Kingdom of Aragon by Pope Martin IV (pope from Ile-de-France), but it failed. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Peter’s Frederick III recognizable as King of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII . [55] Sicily was ruled as an independent kingdom by the kings of Aragon until 1409 and then as part of the Crown of Aragon . [26] In October 1347, in Messina, Sicily, the Black Death first arrived in Europe. [57]

The onset of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 led to Ferdinand II decreeing the expulsion of all Jews from Sicily. [55] The eastern part of the island was hit by very destructive earthquakes in 1542 and 1693. Just a few years before earthquake, the island was struck by a ferocious plague . [55] The earthquake in 1693 took an estimated 60,000 lives. [58] There were some revolts during the 17th century, but these were significantly improved, especially the revolts of Palermo and Messina. [26] North African slave raidsdiscouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century. [59][60] The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 saw Sicily assigned to the House of Savoy ; However, this period of rule lasted only seven years, as it was exchanged for the island of Sardinia with Emperor Charles VI of the Austrian Habsburg Dynasty . [61]

While the Austrians were concerned with the War of the Polish Succession , a Bourbon prince, Charles from Spain was able to conquer Sicily and Naples. [62] At first Sicily Was To Remain reliable as an independent kingdom under personal union , while the Bourbons Both Ruled over from Naples. HOWEVER, the advent of Napoleon ‘s First French Empire saw Naples taken at the Battle of Campo Tenese and Bonapartist King of Naples Were installed. Ferdinand III the Bourbon was forced to retreat to Sicily which was still in complete control with the help of British navalprotection. [63]

Following this, Sicily joined the Napoleonic Wars , and subsequently the British under Lord William Bentinck established a military and diplomatic presence on the island to protect against a French invasion. After the wars were won, Sicily and Naples formally merged as the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons. Major revolutionary movements occurred in 1820 and 1848 against the Bourbon government with Sicily seeking independence; the second of which, the 1848 revolution resulted in a short period of independence for Sicily. However, in 1849 the Bourbons retook the control of the island and dominated it until 1860. [64]

Italian unification

The Expedition of the Thousand by Giuseppe Garibaldi captured Sicily in 1860, as part of the Risorgimento . [65] The conquest started at Marsala , and native Sicilians joined the southern Italian peninsula. Garibaldi’s march was 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 Kingdom of Sardinia . [66]Sicily became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia after a referendum where more than 75% of Sicily voted in favor of the annexation on 21 October 1860 (but not everyone was allowed to vote). As a result of the Kingdom of Italy proclamation, Sicily became part of the kingdom on March 17, 1861.

The Sicilian economy (and the wider mezzogiorno economy) has remained relatively underdeveloped after the Italian unification , in spite of the strong investments made by the Kingdom of Italy in terms of modern infrastructure, and this caused a unprecedented wave of emigration . [65] In 1894, organizations of workers and Peasants Known as the Fasci Siciliani protested Against the bad social and economic circumstances of the island, aim They Were suppressed in A Few days. [67] [68] The Messina earthquake of 28 December 1908 killed more than 80,000 people. [69]This period was also characterized by the first contact between Sicilian mafia (the crime syndicate also known as Cosa Nostra) and the Italian government. The Mafia’s origins are still uncertain, aim it is agent de la That It Emerged in the 18th century INITIALLY in the role of private enforcers hired to protect the property of Landowners and merchants from the groups of bandits ( briganti ) Who frequently Pillaged the countryside and towns . The battle against the Mafia made by the Kingdom of Italy was controversial and ambiguous. The Carabinieri and the Italian Armywere often involved in terrible fights against the mafia members, but their efforts were frequently useless because of the secret co-operation between mafia and local government and also because of the weakness of the Italian judicial system. [70]

20th and 21st centuries

In the 1920s, the Fascist regime began a stronger military action against the Mafia, which was led by prefect Cesare Mori who was known as “Iron Prefect” because of his iron-fisted campaigns. This was the first time in which an operation against the Sicilian mafia ended with considerable success. [65] There Was an allied invasion of Sicily During World War II is starting 10 July 1943. In preparation for the invasion, the Allies revitalized the Mafia to aid em. The invasion of Sicily contributed to the July 25 crisis ; in general, the Allied victors were warmly embraced by Sicily. [71]

Italy became a Republic in 1946 and, as part of the Constitution of Italy , was one of the regions autonomous status . [72] Both the partial Italian land reform and special funding from the Italian government’s Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South) from 1950 to 1984 Helped the Sicilian economy. During this period, the economic and social conditions of the island Was Generally Improved thanks to significant investments are infrastructure Such As motorways and airports , and thanks to the establishment of large industrial and shopping areas. [73]In the 1980s, the Mafia was deeply weakened by Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino . [74] Between 1990 and 2005, the unemployment rate fell from about 23% to 11%. [75] [76]


Historical population
year Pop. ±%
1861 2409000
1871 2590000 + 7.5%
1881 2933000 + 13.2%
1901 3568000 + 21.7%
1911 3812000 + 6.8%
1921 4223000 + 10.8%
1931 3906000 -7.5%
1936 4,000,000 + 2.4%
1951 4487000 + 12.2%
1961 4721000 + 5.2%
1971 4681000 -0.8%
nineteen eighty one 4907000 + 4.8%
1991 4966000 + 1.2%
2001 4969000 + 0.1%
2011 5002904 + 0.7%
2017 5048553 + 0.9%
Source: ISTAT 2010

Sicily is a melting pot of a variety of cultures and ethnicities, including the original Italic people , the Phoenicians , Carthaginians , Greeks , Novels , Byzantines , Saracens , Normans , Swabians , Aragonese , Lombards , Spaniards , French, and Albanians , each contributing to the island ‘s culture and genetic makeup. About five million people live in Sicily, making it the fourth most populated region in Italy . In the first century after the Italian unification, Europe, North America, South America and Australia , Sicily had one of the most negative migration rates inthe world. Like the South of Italy and Sardinia, immigration to the island is very low Compared to other regions of Italy Because workers tends to head to Northern Italy INSTEAD, due to better employment and Industrial Opportunities. The most recent ISTAT figures [77] show around 175,000 immigrants out of the total of almost 5.1 million population (nearly 3.5% of the population) Romanians with more than 50,000 make up the most immigrants, followed by Tunisians ,Moroccans , Sri Lankans , Albanians , and others mostly from Eastern Europe. not in citation given ] As in the rest of Italy, the official language is Italian and the primary religion is Roman Catholicism . [78] [79]

Major settlements

In Sicily, there are only three metropolitan areas :

  1. Palermo which has a Larger Urban Zone of 1,044,169 people
  2. Catania whose LUZ’s populous numbers some 801,280 people [80]
  3. Messina and its LUZ with 418,916 people. [81]

Overall, there are fifteen cities and towns with a population above 50,000 people, these are:

  1. Palermo (677,854)
  2. Catania (315,576)
  3. Messina (242,121)
  4. Syracuse (123,248)
  5. Marsala (82,812)
  6. Gela (77,295)
  7. Ragusa (73,756)
  8. Trapani (70,642)
  9. Vittoria (63,393)
  10. Caltanissetta (60,221)
  11. Agrigento (59,190)
  12. Bagheria (56,421)
  13. Modica (55,294)
  14. Acireale (53,205)
  15. Mazara del Vallo (51,413). [82]

Population genetics

Y-Dna haplogroups were found in the following frequencies in Sicily: R1 (36.76%), J (29.65%), E1b1b (18.21%), I (7.62%), G (5.93%), T (5.51%), Q (2.54%). [83]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. Further migrations by the Vandals, Normans and Saracens have affected the ethnic composition of the Sicilian people. The Norman civilization proliferated for several centuries on the island, with a strong impact on the culture and on different populations. Normans, Swabians and especially mainland Italians have repopulated the island with a male contribution around 8% (Haplogroup I). The Norman Kingdom of Sicily was created in 1130, with Palermo as its capital, and would last until the 19th century. Nowadays it is in north-west Sicily, around Palermo and Trapani, that Norman Y-DNA is the most common, with 8 to 15% of the lineages belonging to haplogroup I.[84] Greeks from Crete , Laconia , and Peloponese are the closest to Sicilians. [85] According to another study, Sicilians were closest to other southern Italians and Greeks from Crete and the Aegean Islands, but distinct from all mainland Greeks. [86]

Frequencies (in%) of Y-chromosome (n = 236) [83] and mtDNA (n = 313) [84] haplogroups
Y-chromosome mtDNA
1.27% E-V12 0.64% L3
5.93% E-V13 1.92% M
3.81% E-V22 3.52% N
0.42% E-V65 2.56% I
2.12% E-M81 0.96% W
4.66% E-M123 4.47% X
5.93% G 1.28% R
7.62% I 4.79% HV
3.81% J1 38.02% H
25.84% J2 1.60% V
5.51% T 13.10% T
0.42% L 9.90% J
2.54% Q 12.47% U *
5.51% R1a 0.64% U6
24.58% R1b 4.15% K

Ethno-linguistic minorities

In Sicily there are two historical ethno-linguistic minorities, the Lombards of Sicily and the Arbëreshë .

  • Lombards of Sicily are a linguistic minority living in northern-central Sicily who speaks an isolated variety of Gallo-Italic dialects, the so-called Gallo-Italic of Sicily . The Lombards of Sicily, who came from Northern Italy, settled the central and eastern part of Sicily about 900 years ago, during the Norman conquest of Sicily . Because of linguistic differences among the Gallo-Italic dialects of Sicily, it is assumed that there were independent immigration routes. From Piedmont , Liguria, Emilia , Lombardy they began to spread between the 11th and 14th centuries. Aidone , Piazza Armerina , Nicosia , San Fratello ,Novara di Sicilia are the most important communities.
  • Arbëreshë settled in Southern Italy in the 15th to 18th centuries in several waves of migrations. They are the Albanian Catholics who fled to Italy after being conquered by the Ottoman Turks . There are three Arbëreshë communities identified within the province of Palermo , which have maintained unchanged, with different aspects together, the ethnic, linguistic and religious origins. The countries are Contessa Entellina , Piana degli Albanesi andSanta Cristina Gela . The largest center is Piana degli Albanesi , which, besides being the religious huband socio-cultural communities, has guarded and defended their peculiarities intact over time. There are two other communities with a strong historical and linguistic heritage.


Main article: Politics of Sicily

The politics of Sicily takes place in the framework of a presidential representative of democracy , is the President of the Government of the United States , and a pluriform multi-party system . Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The capital of Sicily is Palermo .

Traditionally, Sicily gives center-right results during election. [87] From 1943 to 1951 there was also a political separatist party called the Sicilian Independence Movement ( Movimento Indipendentista Siciliano , MIS). Its best election result was in the 1946 general election , when MIS obtained 0.7% of national votes (8.8% of votes in Sicily), and four seats. However, the movement lost all its seats following the 1948 general election and the 1951 regional election. Even though it has never been formally disbanded, today the movement is no longer part of the politics of Sicily . After World War II Sicily became a stronghold of theChristian Democracy , in opposition to the Italian Communist Party. The Communists and their successors (the Democratic Party of the Left , the Democrats of the Left and the present-day Democratic Party ) had never won in the region until 2012 . Sicily is now governed by a center-left coalition between the Democratic Party and the center-party Union of Christian and Democrats Center . Rosario Crocetta is the current President since 2012. [88]

Administrative divisions

Administratively, Sicily is divided into nine provinces, each with a capital city of the same name as the province. Small surrounding islands are also part of various Sicilian provinces: the Aeolian Islands (Messina), Isle of Ustica (Palermo), Aegadian Islands (Trapani), Isle of Pantelleria (Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).

Province Area (km 2 ) Population [89] Density (inh / km 2 )
Province of Agrigento 3,042 453.594 149.1
Province of Caltanissetta 2,128 271.168 127.4
Province of Catania 3,552 1090620 307.0
Province of Enna 2,562 172.159 67.2
Province of Messina 3,247 652.742 201.0
Province of Palermo 4,992 1249744 250.3
Province of Ragusa 1,614 318.980 197.6
Province of Siracusa 2,109 403.559 191.3
Province of Trapani 2,460 436.240 177.3


See also: Economy of Italy

Thanks to the steady growth of the last years, Sicily is the eighth richest region of Italy in terms of total GDP (see List of Italian regions by GDP ). A series of reforms and investments on agriculture and irrigation have made this important industry competitive. [90] In the 1970s there was a growth of the industrial sector through the creation of some factories. [91] In recent years the importance of the industry has grown for the purpose of several shopping malls and for a modest growth of financial and telecommunication activities. [92]Tourism is an important source of wealth for the island thanks to its natural and historical heritage. Today Sicily is investing in a large amount of money on the structure of the hospitality industry , in order to make tourism more competitive. [93] However, Sicily continues to have a GDP per capita below the Italian average and more than the rest of Italy. [94] This difference is mostly caused by the negative influence of the Mafia that is still active in some areas. [95]


Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil in the volcanic eruptions in the past and present. The local agriculture is also helped by the pleasant climate of the island. The main agricultural products are wheat, lemons , oranges ( Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP ) , lemons, tomato ( Pomodoro di Pachino PGI ) , olives , olive oil , artichokes , Opuntia ficus-indica (Fico d’India dell ‘ Etna DOP) , almonds , grapes , pistachios (Pistacchio di Bronte DOP)and wine. Cattle and sheep are raised. The cheese productions are particularly important thanks to the Ragusano DOP and the Pecorino Siciliano DOP . Ragusa is famous for its honey ( Miele Ibleo ) and chocolate ( Cioccolato di Modica IGP ) productions. [96] [97] [98] [99] [100]

Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy after Veneto and Emilia Romagna . [101] The region is known mainly for fortified Marsala wines . In recent decades, the winemakers are experimenting with less-known native varietals, and Sicilian wines have become better known. [102] The best known local varietal is Nero d’Avola , named for a small town not far from Syracuse ; the best wines made with these grapes come from Noto , a famous old town close to Avola. Other important native varietals are Nerello Mascalese used to makeEtna Rosso DOC wine , Frappato that is a component of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG wine , Moscato di Pantelleria (also known as Zibibbo ) used to make different Pantelleria wines, Malvasia di Lipari used for the Malvasia of Lipari DOC wine and Catarrattomostly used to make the white wine Alcamo DOC . Furthermore, in Sicily high quality wines are also produced using non-native varietals like Syrah , Chardonnay and Merlot . [103]

Sicily is also known for its liqueurs, such as the Amaro Averna produced in Caltanissetta and the local limoncello .

Fishing is another fundamental resource for Sicily. There are important tuna , sardine , swordfish and European anchovy fisheries. Mazzara del Vallo is the largest fishing center in Sicily and one of the most important in Italy. [104]

Industry and manufacturing

Improvements in Sicily’s road system. The region has three important industrial districts :

  • Catania Industrial District , Where There are Several food industries and one of the best European electronics industry centers called Expired Etna Valley (in honor of the best KnownSilicon Valley ) qui contains offices and factories of international companies Such As STMicroelectronics and Numonyx ; [104] [105]
  • Syracuse Petrochemical District with chemical industries , oil refineries and major power stations (as the innovative Archimede combined cycle power plant ); [106]
  • the latest Enna Industrial District in which there are food industries . [107]

In Palermo there are important shipyards (such as Fincantieri ), mechanical factories of famous Italian companies as Ansaldo Breda , publishing and textile industries. Chemical industries are also in the Province of Messina ( Milazzo ) and in the Province of Caltanissetta ( Gela ). [99] There are petroleum, natural gas and asphalt fields in the Southeast (mostly near Ragusa ) and massive deposits of halite in Central Sicily. [108] TheProvince of Trapani is one of the largest sea ​​salt producers in Italy. [109]


GDP growth

At table showing Sicily ‘s different GDP (nominal and per capita) growth between 2000 and 2008: [110] [111]

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
13.479 14.185 14.662 15.053 15.440 16.023 16.531 17.533

Economic sectors

Sicily’s GDP growth, [110] This table shows the sectors of the Sicilian economy in 2006:

Economic activity GDP (millet €) % sector
% sector
Agriculture, farming, fishing 2923.3 3.52% 1.84%
Industry 7712.9 9.30% 18.30%
constructions 4582.1 5.52% 5.41%
Commerce, hotels and restaurants, transport, services and (tele) communications 15159.7 18.28% 20.54%
Financial activity and real estate 17656.1 21.29% 24.17%
Other economic activities 24011.5 28.95% 18.97%
VAT and other forms of taxes 10893.1 13.13% 10.76%
GDP of Sicily 82938.6



Highways have been built in the last four decades. The most prominent Sicilian roads are the motorways (known as autostrada ) running through the northern section of the island. Much of the motorway network is elevated by mountainous terrain of the island. [112] [113] [114] [115] Other main roads in Sicily are the Strada Statali like the SS.113 that connects Trapani to Messina (via Palermo), the SS.114 Messina- Syracuse (via Catania) and the SS .115 Syracuse-Trapani (via Ragusa , Gela and Agrigento ).

Sign Motorway length Toll Services
A18 Messina-Catania 76 km (47 mi)  Yes  Yes
RA15 Catania’s Bypass (West) 24 km (15 mi) free  Yes
Motorway Catania-Siracusa 25 km (16 mi) free No.
A18 Siracusa-Rosolini 40 km (25 mi) free No.
A19 Palermo-Catania 199 km (124 mi) free  Yes
A20 Palermo-Messina 181 km (112 mi)  Yes  Yes
A29 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo 119 km (74 mi) free No.
A29dir Alcamo-Trapani / Marsala 38 and 44 km (24 and 27 mi) free No.


The first railway in Sicily was opened in 1863 (Palermo-Bagheria) and today all of the Sicilian provinces are served by a network of railway services, linking to most major cities and towns; this service is operated by Trenitalia . Of the 1.378 km (856 mi) of railway tracks in use, over 60% has-been electrified whilst the remaining 583 km (362 mi) are serviced by diesel engines. 88% of the lines (1.209 km) are single-track and only 169 km (105 mi) are double-track serving the two main roads, Messina-Palermo ( Tyrrhenian ) and Messina-Catania-Syracuse ( Ionian ). Of the narrow gauge railways the Ferrovia CircumetneaMount Etna , going round . From the major cities of Sicily, there are services to Naples and Rome; this is achieved by the trains being loaded onto ferries which cross to the mainland. [116]

In Catania there is an underground railway service ( Metropolitana di Catania ); in Palermo the national railway operator Trenitalia operates a railroad ( Palermo metropolitan railway service ), the Sicilian Capital is also served by AMAT (Comunal Public Transport Operator) tramlines; Messina is served by a tramline .


Mainland Sicily and several European and other European destinations;

  • Catania-Fontanarossa Airport , located on the east-coast is the busiest on the island (and one of the busiest in all of Italy).
  • Palermo International Airport , which is also a major airport with many national and international flights.
  • Trapani-Birgi Airport , a military-civilian joint use of the airport (third for traffic on the island). Recently the airport has seen an increase in traffic thanks to a low-cost carrier .
  • Comiso-Ragusa Airport , has recently been refurbished and re-converted from military to civil aviation. It was opened to commercial and general aviation 30 May 2013.
  • Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport is the oldest airport in Palermo and is currently used for general aviation and the Guardia di Finanza and Police helicopters .
  • NAS Sigonella Airport , it is an Italian Air Force and US Navy facility.
  • Lampedusa Airport
  • Pantelleria Airport .


By sea, Sicily is served by several ferry and cargo ports, and by all major cities, cruise ships dock on a regular basis.

  • Mainland Italy: Ports connecting to the mainland are Messina (road to Villa San Giovanni and Salerno ), the busiest passenger harbor in Italy, Palermo (road to Genoa , Civitavecchia and Naples ) and Catania (route to Naples ).
  • Sicily’s small surrounding islands: The port of Milazzo reserves the Aeolian Islands , the port of Trapani and Marsala the Aegadian Islands and the harbor of Porto Empedocle the Pelagie Islands . From Palermo there is a service to the island of Ustica and to Sardinia .
  • International connections: From Palermo and Trapani there are weekly services to Tunisia and there est aussi has daily services entre Malta and Pozzallo . [117] [118]
  • Commercial / Cargo Ports: The port of Augusta is the 5th largest cargo port in Italy which handles tons of goods. Other major cargo ports are Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Pozzallo and Termini Imerese .
  • Touristic Ports: Several “touristic ports” along the Sicilian coast are in the service of private boats that need to moor on the island. The port is in Marina di Ragusa , Riposto , Portorosa , Syracuse , Cefalù and Sciacca . In Sicily, Palermo is also a major center for the Boat Rentalwith or without crew in the Mediterranean. Italy, with the nautical base in Palermo Marina Arenella Yachting Club with a fleet of 10 yachts including sailboats and catamarans up to 52 feet. In Palermo, and in general in Sicily, there is a number of boats, many of these do not have the ownership. Most of them are just simply brokers. Palermo and Portorosa are best charter and Jonio Yachting.
  • Fishing ports: As all islands, Sicily also has many fishing ports. The most important is in Mazara del Vallo followed by Castellamare del Golfo , Licata , Scoglitti and Portopalo di Capo Passero .

Planned bridge

Main article: Strait of Messina Bridge

Plans for a bridge linking Sicily to the mainland have been discussed since 1865. Throughout the last decade, plans have been developed for the world through the longest suspension bridge , the Strait of Messina Bridge . Planning for the project has started several years. On March 6, 2009, Silvio Berlusconi ‘s government declared that the construction works for the Messina Bridge will begin on 23 December 2009, and announced a pledge of € 1.3 billion as a contribution to the bridge’s total cost, estimated at € 6.1 billion. [119]The plan has been criticized by environmental associations and some local Sicilians and Calabrians, concerned with its environmental impact, economic sustainability and even possible infiltrations by organized crime. [120] [121]


Sicily’s sunny, dry climate, scenery, cuisine, history and architecture attracted many tourists from mainland Italy and abroad. The tourist season peaks in the summer months, people visit the island all year round. Mount Etna , the beaches, the archaeological sites and major cities Such As Palermo , Catania , Siracusa and Ragusa are the favorite tourist destinations, aim the old town of Taormina and the Neighboring seaside resort of Giardini Naxos draw visitors from all over the world, the Aeolian Islands , Erice , Castellammare del Golfo , Cefalù, Agrigento , the Pelagie Islands and Capo d’Orlando . The last features of the best-preserved temples of the ancient Greek period. Many Mediterranean cruise ships stop in Sicily, and many wine tourists also visit the island.

Some scenes of famous Hollywood and Cinecittà movies were shot in Sicily. This increased the attraction of Sicily as a tourist destination. [122] [123]

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Sicily. By the order of registration:

  • Valle dei Templi (1997) is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as a National Monument of Italy. The site is located in Agrigento . [124]
  • Villa Romana del Casale (1997) is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km (2 mi) outside the town of Piazza Armerina . It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world. [125]
  • Aeolian Islands (2000) are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea , named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus . The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually. [126]
  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (2002) “represents the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe”. [127] It includes several towns: Caltagirone , Militello in Val di Catania , Catania , Modica , Noto , Palazzolo Acreide , Ragusa and Scicli .
  • Necropolis of Pantalica (2005) is a large necropolis in Sicily with over 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. Syracuse is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheaters and architecture. They are situated in south-eastern Sicily.
  • Mount Etna (2013) is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is an almost constant state of activity and generated myths, legends and naturalistic observation from Greek, Celts and Roman classic and medieval times. [128]
  • Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Cefalù and Monreale ; includes Norman and Sicily (1130-1194) [129]

Tentative Sites

  • Taormina and Isola Bella ; [130]
  • Motya and Libeo Island : The Phoenician-Punic Civilization in Italy; [131]
  • Scala dei Turchi ; [132]
  • Strait of Messina . [133]

Archeological sites

Because many different cultures settled, dominated or invaded the island, Sicily has a huge variety of archaeological sites . Also, some of the most notable and best preserved temples and other structures in the world are located in Sicily. Citation needed ] . Here is a short list of the major archaeological sites:

  • Sicels / Sicans / Elymians / Greeks: Segesta , Eryx , Cava Ispica , Thapsos , Pantalica .
  • Greeks: Syracuse , Agrigento , Segesta , Selinunte , Gela , Kamarina , Himera , Megara Hyblaea , Naxos , Heraclea Minoa ,
  • Phoenicians: Motya , Soluntum , Marsala , Palermo .
  • Novels: Piazza Armerina , Centuripe , Taormina , Palermo .
  • Arabs: Palermo , Mazara del Vallo .

The excavation and restoration of one of Sicily’s best known archaeological sites, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, was the direction of the archeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta , Fifth Duke of Serradifalco , known in the archaeological circles simply as “Serradifalco” . He also oversaw the restoration of ancient sites at Segesta , Selinunte , Siracusa and Taormina .


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

Province Castles town
Caltanisetta Castello Manfredonico Mussomeli
U Cannuni Mazzarino
Castelluccio di Gela Gela
Catania Castello Ursino Catania
Castello Normanno Adrano
Castello Normanno Paternò
Castello di Aci Aci Castello
Messina Forte dei Centri Messina
Castello di Milazzo Milazzo
Castello di Sant’Alessio Siculo Sant’Alessio Siculo
Castello di Pentefur Savoca
Castello di Schisò Giardini Naxos
Palermo Zisa, Palermo Palermo
Castello di Caccamo Caccamo
Castello di Carini Carini
Castello dei Ventimiglia Castelbuono
Ragusa Castello di Donnafugata Ragusa
Torre Cabrera Pozzallo
Castello Dei Conti Modica
Syracuse Castello Maniace Syracuse
Trapani Castello di Venere Erice
Castle of the Counts of Modica Alcamo
Castle of Calatubo Alcamo

Coastal towers

The Coastal towers in Sicily ( Torri costiere della Sicilia ) are 218 old watchtowers along all the coast of the island. In Sicily, the first coastal towers date back to the period between 1313 and 1345 of the Aragonese monarchy. From 1360 the threat came from the south, from North Africa to Maghreb , mainly to Barbary pirates and corsairs of Barbary Coast . In 1516, the Turks settled in Algiers , and from 1520, the corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa under the command of the Ottoman Empire , operated from that harbor.

Most of the architectural architects of Camillo Camilliani from [1583] to 1584, and involved the coastal periple of Sicily. The typology changed completely in ‘800, because of the new higher volumes of cannon vessels, the towers were built on the type of Martello towers that the British built in the UK and elsewhere in the British Empire. In 1805 the US Marines and Navy, in the Battle of Derne , near Tripoli. destroy all of the Barbary pirates, and to put an end to piracy acts.


To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to be seen in Italy.

-  Goethe [134]

Sicily has long been associated with the arts ; many poets, writers, philosophers , intellectuals, architects and painters have roots on the island. The history of prestige in this field can be traced back to Greek philosopher Archimedes , a Syracuse native who has gone on to become one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. [135] Gorgias and Empedocles are two other highly noted early Sicilian-Greek philosophers, while the Syracusan Epicharmus is held to be the inventor of comedy. [136] [137]

Art and architecture

Terracotta ceramics from the island is known, the art of ceramics on Sicily goes back to the original ancient peoples named the Sicanians , it was then perfected during the period of Greek colonization and is still prominent and distinct to this day. [138] Nowadays, Caltagirone is one of the most important centers in Sicily for the artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Famous painters include Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina , Renato Guttuso and Greek born Giorgio de Chirico who is commonly dubbed the “father of Surrealist art ” and founder of the metaphysical artmovement. [139] The most noted architects are Filippo Juvarra (one of the most important figures of the Italian Baroque ) and Ernesto Basile .

Sicilian Baroque

The Sicilian Baroque has a unique architectural identity. Noto , Caltagirone , Catania , Ragusa , Modica , Scicli and particularly Acireale contain some of Italy’s best examples of Baroque architecture , carved in the local red sandstone . Noto provides one of the best examples of the Baroque architecture brought to Sicily.

The Baroque style in Sicily Was Largely confined to buildings Erected by the church, and palazzi built as private residences for the Sicilian aristocracy. [140] The earliest examples of this style in Sicily lacked individuality and have been characterized heavy-handed pastiches of buildings by Sicilian visitors to Rome, Florence , and Naples. However, even at this early stage, provincial architects had some of the 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 was usually included at least two of the following features, coupled with a unique freedom of design.

Music and film

Palermo hosts the Teatro Massimo which is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe. [141] In Catania there is another important opera house , the Teatro Massimo Bellini with 1,200 seats, which is considered one of the best European opera houses for its acoustics. Sicily’s composers vary from Vincenzo Bellini , Sigismondo from India , Giovanni Paciniand Alessandro Scarlatti , to contemporary composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino and Silvio Amato .

Many awards-winning and acclaimed films from Italian cinema have been filmed in Sicily, among others: Visconti ‘s ” The Terra Trema “ and ” Il Gattopardo “ , Pietro Germi ‘ s ” Divorzio all’Italiana ” and ” Sedotta e Abbandonata “.


The golden age of Sicilian poetry began in the early 13th century with the Sicilian School of Giacomo da Lentini , which was highly influential on Italian literature . Some of the most noted figures among writers and poets are Luigi Pirandello ( Nobel laureate, 1934 ), Salvatore Quasimodo ( Nobel laureate, 1959 ), Giovanni Verga (the father of the Italian Verismo ), Domenico Tempio , Giovanni Meli , Luigi Capuana , Mario Rapisardi , Federico de Roberto ,Leonardo Sciascia , Vitaliano Brancati , Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa , Elio Vittorini , Vincenzo Consolo and Andrea Camilleri (commented for his novels and short stories with the fictional character Inspector Salvo Montalbano as protagonist). On the political side noteworthy philosophers include Gaetano Mosca and Giovanni Gentile who wrote The Doctrine of Fascism . In terms of academic reflection, the historical and aesthetic richness of the multi-layered heterogeneity of Sicilian literature and culturetransculturality by German scholar of Italian Studies Dagmar Reichardt who, after-HAVING published an extensive study on the literary work of Giuseppe Bonaviri , [142] Was Awarded the International Premio Flaiano ( “italianistica”) for a trilingual (English, Italian, German) collection about the European liminality of Sicily, Sicilian literature and Sicilian Studies. [143]


Main article: Sicilian language

Today in Sicily most people are bilingual and speak both Italian and Sicilian , a distinct and historical Romance language . Some of the Sicilian words are loan words from Greek , Catalan , French, Arabic, Spanish and other languages. [144] Dialects related to Sicilian are also spoken in Calabria and Salento ; it had a significant influence on the Maltese language . However, the use of Sicilian is limited to informal contexts (mostly in family) and in a majority of cases it is replaced by so-calledRegional Italian of Sicily , an Italian dialect that is a kind of mix between Italian and Sicilian. [145]

Sicilian was an early influence in the development of the first Italian standard, but its use remained confined to an intellectual elite. This is a literary language in Sicily created under the auspices of Frederick II and his court of notaries, or Magna Curia , which, headed by Giacomo da Lentini , also gave birth to the Sicilian School , widely inspired by troubadour literature. Its linguistic and poetic heritage was later assimilated into the Florentine by Dante Alighieri , the father of modern Italian who, in his De vulgari eloquentia, claims that “In fact this vernacular seems to deserve a higher praise than the others, since all the poetry written by Italians can be called Sicilian”. [146] It is in this language that appeared the first sonnet , whose invention is attributed to Giacomo da Lentini himself.


Catania has one of the four laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (National Institute for Nuclear Physics) in which there is a cyclotron that uses protons both for nuclear physics experiments and for particle therapy to treat cancer ( proton therapy ). [147] [148] Noto has one of the largest radio telescopes in Italy that performs geodetic and astronomical observations. [149] There are observatories in Palermo and Catania , managed by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica(National Institute for Astrophysics). In the Observatory of Palermo the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first and largest asteroid to be identified Ceres (today considered a dwarf planet ) on 1 January 1801; [150] Catania has two observatories, one of which is located on Mount Etna at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet ). [151]

Syracuse est aussi year experimental center for the solar technologies through the establishment of the project Archimede solar power plant That Is the first Concentrated solar power plant to use molten salt for heat transfer and storage qui est integrated with a combined cycle gas facility. All the plant is owned and operated by Enel . [152] [153] The touristic town of Erice is also an important place of science thanks to the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Center for Scientific Culturewhich embraces 123 schools from all over the world, covering all branches of science, offering courses, seminars, workshops and annual meetings. It was founded by the physicist Antonino Zichichi in honor of another scientist of the island, Ettore Majorana known for Majorana equation and Majorana fermions . [154] Sicily’s famous scientists also include Stanislao Cannizzaro (chemist), Giovanni Battista Hodierna and Niccolò Cacciatore(astronomers).


Sicily has four universities:

  • The University of Catania dates back to 1434 and is the oldest university in Sicily. Nowadays it hosts 12 faculties and over 62,000 students and it offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Catania hosts also the Scuola Superiore , an academic institution linked to the University of Catania, aiming for excellence in education. [155]
  • The University of Palermo is the second oldest university. It was formally established in 1806, which is of historical records indicating that medicine and law have been taught there since the late 15th century. The Orto botanico di Palermo (Palermo botanical gardens) is home to the university’s Department of Botany and is also open to visitors.
  • The University of Messina , founded in 1548 by Ignatius of Loyola . It is organized in 11 Faculties.
  • The Kore University of Enna, founded in 1995, is the latest Sicilian university and the first university founded in Sicily after the Italian Unification .


As in MOST Italian regions, Christian Roman Catholicism is predominant religious denomination The Most in Sicily, and the church still plays significant role in the lives year of MOST people. Before the invasion of the Normans, Sicily was predominantly Eastern Orthodox , of which few adherents still remain today. There is also a notable small minority of Eastern-rite Byzantine Catholics which has a mixed congregation of ethnic Albanians ; it is operated by the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Most people still are waiting for a church, or many people get married in churches. There was a large presence of Jews in Sicily for at least 1,400 years and possibly for more than 2,000 years. Some scholars believe that the Sicilian Jewry are partial ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews . [156] However, much of the Jewish community faded away when they were expelled from the island in 1492. Islam was present during the Emirate of Sicily , although Muslims were also expelled. Today, there are also several religious minorities, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism . There are also a fair number ofEvangelical Church members and practitioners who reside on the island.


The island: has a long history of Producing a variety of cuisines and wines Noted, to the extent That is Sicily Sometimes nicknamed God’s Kitchen Because of this. [157] Every part of Sicily has its specialty (for example Cassata is typical of Palermo, even if available everywhere in Sicily, as is Granita, at Catania specialty). The ingredients are Typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the public general [158] The savory dishes of Sicily are viewed to be healthy , using fresh vegetables and fruits, Such As tomatoes, artichokes , olives (Including olive oil ), citrus , apricots ,eggplant , onions, beans , grapes Commonly Coupled with seafood, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, Including tuna , sea bream , sea bass , cuttlefish , swordfish , sardines , and others. [159]

Perhaps the most well-known part of Sicilian cuisine is the rich sweet dishes including ice creams and pastries . Cannoli (singular: cannolo ), a tube-shaped shell of a pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta cheese , is in particular strongly associated with Sicily worldwide. [160]Biancomangiare, biscotti ennesi (native to Enna cookies ), braccilatte (a Sicilian version of donuts ), buccellato , ciarduna , pignoli , bruccellati , sesame seed cookies, a sweet confection with sesame seeds and almonds ( torrone in Italy) is cubbaita , frutta martorana , cassata , pignolata , granita , cuccidati (a variety of fig cookie; also known as buccellati) and cuccìa are among the most notable sweet dishes . [160]

Like the kitchen of the rest of southern Italy, pasta plays an important part in Sicilian cuisine, as does rice; for example with arancini . [161] Sicily has spawned some of its own, using both cow’s and sheep’s milk, such as pecorino and caciocavallo . [162] Spices used include saffron , nutmeg , clove , pepper , and cinnamon , which were introduced by the Arabs. Parsley is used abundantly in many dishes. ALTHOUGH Sicilian kitchen is Commonly associated with sea food, meat dishes, Including goose ,Lamb , goat, rabbit, and turkey , are also found in Sicily. It was the Normans and Swabians who first introduced a fondness for meat dishes to the island. [163] Some types of wine are produced from these wines that are relatively unique to the island, such as the Nero d’Avola made near the baroque of town of Noto . [164]


The most popular sport on Sicily is football , which came to the fore in the late 19th century under the influence of the English. Some of the oldest soccer clubs in all of Italy are from Sicily: the three MOST successful are Palermo , Messina , and Catania , Who-have all, at Some point played in the Serie A . To date no club from Sicily has ever won Serie A, but football is still deeply embedded in local culture and all over Sicily most towns have a representative team. [165]

Palermo and Catania have a heated rivalry and compete in the Sicilian derby together: to date, Palermo is the only football team in Sicily to have played on the European stage, in the UEFA Cup . In the island, the most noted footballer is Salvatore Schillaci , who won the Golden Boot at the 1990 FIFA World Cup with Italy . [165] Other noted players include Giuseppe Furino , Pietro Anastasi , Francesco Coco , Christian Riganò , and Roberto Galia . [165]There-have beens aussi Some Noted managers from the island, Such As Carmelo Di Bella and Franco Scoglio .

Though football is by far the most popular sport in Sicily, the island also has participants in other fields. Amatori Catania have competed in the Italian national rugby union league called National Championship of Excellence . They have participated in the European Challenge Cup . Competing in the basketball variation of Serie A is Orlandina Basket from Capo d’Orlando in the province of Messina , where the sport has a reasonable following. Various volleyball, handball , and water polo . Previously, inmotorsport , Sicily held the prominent Targa Florio sports car race that took place in the Madonie Mountains, with the start-finish line in Cerda . [166] The event was started in 1906 by Sicilian industrialist and automotive enthusiast Vincenzo Florio , and ran until it was canceled in 1977. [166]

From 28 September to 9 October 2005 Trapani was the location of Acts 8 and 9 of the Louis Vuitton Cup . This sailing race featured, among others, all the boats that took part in the 2007 America’s Cup .

Popular culture

Each town and city has its own patron saint, and the feast days are marked by colorful processions through the streets with marching bands and displays of fireworks.

Sicilian religious festivals aussi include the presepe vivente (living nativity scene ), qui takes up at Christmas time. Deftly combining religion and folklore, it is a constructed mock nineteenth century Sicilian village, complete with a nativity scene, and has been dressed in the costumes of the period, some impersonating the Holy Family, and others working as artisans of their particular assigned trade. It is usually concluded on Epiphany , often highlighted by the arrival of the magi on horseback.

Oral tradition plays a large role in Sicilian folklore. Many stories passed down from a generation to a character called ” Giufà “. Anecdotes from this character’s life preserve Sicilian culture

Sicilians aussi enjoy outdoor festivals or held-in the local square or piazza Where live music and dancing are Performed on stage, and food fairs or sagre are set up in booths lining the square. These offer various local specialties, as well as typical Sicilian food. Normally these events are concluded with fireworks. A noted sagra is the Sagra del Carciofo or Artichoke Festival , which is held annually in Ramacca in April. The most important traditional event in Sicily is the carnival . Famous carnivals are in Acireale , Misterbianco , Regalbuto , Paternò, Sciacca , Termini Imerese .

The Opera dei Pupi (Puppets of the Opera; Sicilian : Opira dî puppets) is a puppet theatrical representation of Frankish romantic poems Such As the Song of Roland or Orlando Furioso That is one characteristic of the cultural traditions of Sicily. The sides of donkey carts are decorated with intricate, painted scenes; These same tales are enacted in traditional puppet theaters featuring hand-made marionettes of wood. The opera of the puppets and the Sicilian tradition of cantastori (singers of tales) are rooted in the Provençal troubadour tradition in Sicily during the reign of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the first half of the 13th century. A great place to see this marionette art is the puppet theaters of Palermo . The Sicilian Marionette Theater Opera dei Pupi was proclaimed in 2001 and inscribed in 2008 by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists . [167]

Today, there are only a few troops that maintain the tradition. They often perform for tourists. However, there are no longer the great historical families of marionettists, such as the Greco of Palermo ; the Canino of Partinico and Alcamo ; Crimi, Trombetta and Napoli of Catania , Pennisi and Macri of Acireale , Profeta of Licata , Gargano and Grasso of Agrigento . One can, however, admire the richest collection of marionettes at the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette Antonio Pasqualino and at the Museo Etnografico Siciliano Giuseppe Pitrèin Palermo. Other beautiful marionettes are on display at the Museo Civico Vagliasindi in Randazzo .

Regional symbols

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

The Flag of Sicily , considered as a regional icon, was first adopted in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers of Palermo . It is characterized by the presence of trinacria (triskelion) in its middle, the (winged) head of Medusa and three wheat ears. The three bent legs are supposed to represent the three points of the island Sicily itself. The colors, instead, respectively represent the cities of Palermo and Corleone , at those times an agricultural city of renown. Palermo and Corleone were the first two cities to be found against the Angevin rule. It finally became official flag of theRegione Siciliana in January 2000, after the passing of an apposite regional law which advocates its use on public buildings, schools and city halls along with the national Italian flag and the European one.

Familiar as an ancient symbol of the region, the Triskelion is also featured on Greek coins of Syracuse , such as corners of Agathocles (317-289 BC) .The symbol dates back to when Sicily was part of Magna Graecia , the colonial extension of Greece beyond the Aegean . [168] The triskelion was revived, as a neoclassic – and non- Bourbon – emblem for the new Napoleonic Kingdom of the Two Sicilies , by Joachim Murat in 1808. Pliny the Elder attributes the origin of the triskelion of Sicily to the triangularof the island, the ancient Trinacria , which consists of large clusters equidistant from each other, pointing in their respective directions, the names of which were Pelorus , Pachynus , and Lilybæum . The three legacies of the triskelion are also reminiscent of Hephaestus ‘ s three-legged tables, which are mentioned in Iliad xviii.

The Sicilian cart is an ornate, colorful style of horse or donkey-drawn cart native to Sicily. Sicilian wood carver George Petralia states that they were mostly used in the city and flat plains, while donkeys or mules were more often used in rough terrain for hauling heavy loads. [169] The cart has two wheels and is primarily made of wood with iron components.

The Sicilian coppola is a traditional kind of flat cape typically worn by men in Sicily. First used by English during the late 18th century, the tascu started being used in Sicily in the early 20th century as a driving cap , usually worn by car drivers. The coppola is usually made in tweed . Today, it is a simple and definitive symbol of Sicilian heritage. [170]

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