Included between the largest Italian Islands, Sicily is really the biggest Italian Island along with Sardinia. Rich in history, landscapes, culture, literature and food, Sicily can offer an unforgettable travel experience to tourists from around the world. Placed in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in a very strategic position, during its history, Sicily was conquered from several peoples and cultures. In Sicily, the foreign dominances date back to 12,000 BC, Greek and Phoenician colonies were hosted in Sicily and later Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Romans arrived to establish themselves in the entire Sicily. These dominations left clear signs in the Sicily’s history, as you can see in the Greek temples in Selinunte (Agrigento) and in the Villa Romana del Casale, in Piazza Armerina, Enna. During the XIX century, upon the Bourbon domination, Sicily was unified with Naples and was called the Reign of the two Sicilies. In 1860, after the Expedition of the Thousand leaded by Giuseppe Garibaldi, Sicily became part of Italy. In 1946 Sicily became, instead, an autonomous region of Italy, enjoying a special status granted by the Italian Constitution.
Weather and geography
The Sicilian weather is typically Mediterranean, with wet and fresh winter and dry and hot summer. The summer temperature can reach the 40 degrees. Up to some years ago, Sicily’s summer was very hot and with a temperature that could also pass 44 degrees. Nowadays, instead, summer temperature is nearly always between 30 and 38 degrees. For these featurer, you can visit Sicily during all year. In the winter, you can admire the Sicilian mountains, among these, the Volcano Etna, which is regarded as the highest active Vulcan in Europe (3500 meters). Even though Sicily’s landscape is mainly hilly, in some important areas, it is possible visit other stunning mountains, such as Madonie, Nebrodi and Peloritani, whose height runs between 2000 and 1300 meters. These mountains are an extension of the Appennines. The most southern mountains are lower, but likewise very interesting to be seen, they are called Hyblaean Mountains and have a height of 1000 meters.
Triangle shaped, Sicily is also called Trinacria, it is separated from Italy by the Strait of Messina. The latter is one of the nine Sicily’s provinces. Each of them is rich in history, landscape, food and culture just like the entire Island. These are: Palermo, the chief town, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Trapani, Enna, Siracusa, Ragusa, Messina, Catania. From the Strait of Messina, you can also see the near region of Calabria. The sight, while you are aboard of the ship that drive you to visit the Mediterranean Sea, is awesome. Palermo, the chief town, instead, contains the most ancient monuments in Sicily. One the most famous is the Palace of Normans, which is also the headquarter of Sicily’s Parliament. Caltanisetta and Enna have old sulfur mines used during the XIX century and later abandoned. In these places, there also many Greek and Roman remains to be visited during your journey in Sicily and that I’ll describe better with single posts. Trapani is a place where culture, food and tradition show their best! Agrigento and Siracusa are the real home of ancient Greek culture, where temples and monuments appear in all their spectacular beauty. Ragusa is very known for its sandy beaches and his hot and calm sea. Catania, instead, has the gift to have mountains and sea simultaneously. With the Etna towering over the countries that lie at its foot, and the sea touching its coasts, Catania is one the most attractive places in Sicily. Not less important it is Messina, placed in the final tip of Sicily, Messina have glimmering sea and stony beaches, besides important Greek remains you can see in Taormina and Giardini Naxos. This is only a short look about Sicily. Please visit the other sections of the blog to deepen your knowledge about places you want to see in Sicily.
Sicily also includes the most charming and beautiful isles of Italy and Europe: the Aeolian Islands. These are a volcanic archipelago placed in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. The name of these Islands comes from ancient Greek demigod of the winds Aeolus. These are also the favorite tourist destination for thousands of tourists from all over the world. The Aeolian Islands are more crowded in the summer, but ships and ferries for these wonderful destinations are available during all the year. The volcanic archipelago includes seven little and stunning Isles, also called the seven sisters: Lipari, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea, Salina, Vulcano and Stromboli. The latter is still an active volcano and gave its name to all other volcanoes in the world. In the prehistoric era, the archipelago of these Islands surfaced from the sea thanks to an intensive volcanic activity that in turn shaped the seven islands you should absolutely visit during your travel to Sicily. These Islands are also called Lipari Islands from the name of the namesake main isle of the archipelago.
Also another set of islands is included in the territory of Sicily. This group is formed by the Aegadian Islands. About these Islands, it is said that they are a place where the sky and the sea are more and more blue. They are also regarded like a little corner of paradise for those who love forgetting the distressing pace of the modern life. Actually, the Aegadian Islands are a group of isles placed in the Mediterranean Sea, 10 kilometers from the north-eastern of Sicily. That is an archipelago consisting of three main little islands. Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo and other smallest islets least visited by tourists: Isola di Formica, Isole dello Stagnone, Isola di Maraone, Isola Galera, Isola Galeotta and Isola Preveto. The most famous islands are only the first three, maybe because they are more accessible to tourists. The history of this region is similar to other Sicilian places. The Islands were conquered by the Romans and in the following centuries by the Saracens, Vandals, Normans and Goths. From the 17th century and up to the end of the 19th, the islands belonged to the family Pallavicini-Rusconi and later they were sold to Palermo’s Florio family who created a flourishing tuna fishing industry that exists still today. In fact, while you are visiting the Aegadian Islands, you can also witness the spectacular Sicilian tuna fishing or taste this delicious food in the best restaurants of these islands.