Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a population of around five million inhabitants. It is one of the autonomous regions of Italy. The capital of Sicily is Palermo. This is practically the only place in Italy that has managed to preserve and save the imprints of many ages and epochs.
Many years ago Sicily attracted a large number of invaders. Due to this fact the island has a rich and unique culture, particularly in the arts, music, literature, food, wine and architecture. Various cultures have influenced on the formation of all aspects of the island’s life. The Greek people have left Sicily with magnificent temples and theaters, the Romans brought the amazing mosaics, the Arab added Moorish style to the island that can be seen in different architectural sights.
Sicily is well known as the home of one of Europe’s most spectacular volcanoes. Mount Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. It is located near Catania on the eastern side of the island. The Aeolian Islands, to the north-east of Sicily, include Stromboli which is currently active, and also Vulcano, Vulcanello and Lipari which are all dormant.
The main places that are famous among tourists are museums and villas of Palermo, Taormina town where the ancient Greek theater, Archaeological Park and Ortigia (Norman Cathedral) and many other places that are worth to be visited are located.
Sicily is also well known for organized crime. Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia has played a significant part in Sicilian life since the mid 19th century. Their battle against the government reached a low point in 1998 when magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were assassinated outside Palermo. The ensuing public outcry and subsequent government crackdown has severely restricted Cosa Nostra operations ever since.
Location: Central Mediterranean Sea
Capital of the region: Palermo
Sights: Spiaggia dei Conigli, Duomo di Monreale, Valley of the Temples
Cuisine: You should try: Arancini, Pane con la milza, Sfincione, Pasta alla Norma, Caponata
Hotels: Hotel Piccolo Mondo, Hotel Villa Ducale, Hotel Villa Carlotta
Shopping: Shopping in Sicily is best done outdoors. Visitors can purchase plenty of quality handicraft items, ceramics, artifacts and antiques; generally at lower prices than in traditional stores. Sicily boasts several flea markets famous throughout Italy.