In my opinion, and based on the places that I know, there’s Italy and there’s Sicily. This Italian island is a bit unlike the rest of the country. Its history is different and a truly rich one. It is a fascinating site.

Location and provinces of Sicily

Sicily is an island located on the Mediterranean Sea, with the Strait of Messina separating it from the Italian mainland. The strait itself is 32 km long and 1,5 to 3,3 km wide. There are ships that carry out the crossing between the island and mainland Italy.

The island is an autonomous region comprised of 9 provinces, with these being Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Trapani, Messina, Ragusa, Siracusa and Palermo. The capital shares the name of its province, Palermo. Besides Italian, the Sicilian language is also spoken. Over the years, this language was influenced by Greek, Latin, Arab, Norman, Provençal, German, French, Aragonese, Catalan and Castilian.

History

Everything had its origin centuries ago with a people named Sicani, which inhabited this island. They were ones who named it. Later on, in addition to the Sicani, the island counted with the presence of the Sicels and Elymians as well.

In the 8th century BC, the Greeks arrived, the founders of Syracuse. Some say that this is the most beautiful city founded by this people. In the 5th and 3rd centuries BC, it was considered one of the most important for the Magna Graecia. The port found in this city was decisive to obtain power and wealth. The amazing Valley of the Temples of Agrigento is an example of what is left of that Greek era.

The Romans came and controlled the island, with it becoming a Roman province. During the Siege of Syracuse, the renowned mathematician Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier, in contravention of the orders that instructed to spare his life… These days, one can visit the Archimedes Museum in the center of Syracuse.

Several centuries later, the island endured the presence of the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Muslims and the Normans. Each one of these expelled those who were on the island. It was a turbulent period, with several battles being fought.

Sicily was also part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and was governed by the French House of Bourbon. In the year of 1860, it gained its independence and it was finally considered part of the Italian Unification.

We are talking about many years of a history that encompassed different peoples and their respective cultural influences. But its story and its 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are only some of the interesting things of Sicily. The food, the Sicilians and their way of life, the sea and the climate are some of the other things that should make you tour this island.

My experience

I have been on this island before and I loved it, particularly Syracuse. In my opinion it is the best of Sicily. It is its streets, the walk alongside the shore, all the environment that one experiences there… But this city is another story.

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