57 Facts About Sicily


Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy.

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Sicily is in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula in continental Europe, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina.

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Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15 May 1946, 18 days before the Italian institutional referendum of 1946.

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Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, and architecture.

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Sicily has a roughly triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria.

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Terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible.

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From a geographical perspective, forming a part of Sicily is the Maltese Archipelago, the islands home to the republic of Malta.

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Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with very changeable intermediate seasons.

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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.

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In Northern Sicily, there are three important forests; near Mount Etna, in the Nebrodi Mountains and in the Bosco della Ficuzza Natural Reserve near Palermo.

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Original classical-era inhabitants of Sicily comprised three defined groups of the ancient peoples of Italy.

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Greek culture significantly included Greek religion, and the settlers built many temples throughout Sicily, including several in the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.

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Roman rule introduced the Latin language to the island, which underwent a slow process of latinisation but Sicily was remained largely Greek in a cultural sense and the Greek language did not become extinct on the island, facilitating its re-hellenisation under the Byzantines.

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Sicily ruled Italy from 476 to 488 in the name of the Byzantine Emperor.

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Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples, Rome, Milan.

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Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces of Caliph Uthman in 652, but the Arabs failed to make any permanent gains.

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In 826 Euphemius, the Byzantine commander in Sicily, having apparently killed his wife, forced a nun to marry him.

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Sicily 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.

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Muslim conquest of Sicily was a see-saw affair and met with fierce resistance.

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Western Sicily was overwhelmingly Muslim, and contained large plantations run by slave labor, often producing sugar.

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Around 1050, the western half of Sicily was ethnically and culturally distinct from central and eastern Sicily.

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Palermo was initially ruled by the Aghlabids; later it was the centre of the Emirate of Sicily, which was under the nominal suzerainty of the Fatimid Caliphate.

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Many Normans in Sicily adopted the habits and comportment of Muslim rulers and their Byzantine subjects in dress, language, literature, even to the extent of having palace eunuchs and, according to some accounts, a harem.

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Subsequently, due to Muslim rebellions, Frederick II destroyed the remaining Muslim presence in Sicily, estimated at 60, 000 persons, moving all to the city of Lucera in Apulia between 1221 and 1226.

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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, which eventually saw almost the entire French population on the island killed.

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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.

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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.

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At first Sicily was able to remain as an independent kingdom under personal union, while the Bourbons ruled over both from Naples.

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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.

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Italy became a Republic in 1946 and, as part of the Constitution of Italy, Sicily was one of the five regions given special status as an autonomous region.

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About five million people live in Sicily, making it the fourth most populated region in Italy.

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Today, Sicily is the Italian region with the highest number of expatriates: as of 2017, 750, 000 Sicilians, 14.

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Politics of Sicily takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system.

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Administratively, Sicily is divided into nine provinces, each with a capital city of the same name as the province.

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Thanks to regular growth in recent years, Sicily is the eighth largest regional economy of Italy in terms of total GDP.

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Today Sicily is investing a large amount of money into the development of its hospitality industry, to attract even more tourism.

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However, Sicily continues to have a GDP per capita below the Italian average, and higher unemployment than the rest of Italy.

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Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil, which is the result of past volcanic eruptions.

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Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy, after Veneto and Emilia Romagna.

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

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Mainland Sicily has several airports that serve numerous Italian and European destinations and some extra-European.

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Excavation and restoration of one of Sicily's best known archaeological sites, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, was at the direction of the archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta, Fifth Duke of Serradifalco, known in archaeological circles simply as "Serradifalco".

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Sicily oversaw the restoration of ancient sites at Segesta, Selinunte, Siracusa and Taormina.

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

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Sicily has long been associated with the arts; many poets, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, architects and painters have roots on the island.

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Terracotta ceramics from the island are well 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 colonisation and is still prominent and distinct to this day.

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The Baroque style in Sicily was largely confined to buildings erected by the church, and palazzi built as private residences for the Sicilian aristocracy.

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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, and Naples.

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Sicily's composers vary from Vincenzo Bellini, Sigismondo d'India, Giovanni Pacini and Alessandro Scarlatti, to contemporary composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino and Silvio Amato.

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However, the use of Sicilian is limited to informal contexts and in a majority of cases it is replaced by the so-called regional Italian of Sicily, an Italian dialect that is a kind of mix between Italian and Sicilian.

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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.

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The savoury dishes of Sicily are viewed to be healthy, using fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, artichokes, olives, citrus, apricots, aubergines, onions, beans, raisins commonly coupled with seafood, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, including tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish, sardines, and others.

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Palermo is the only team in Sicily to have played on the European stage, in the UEFA Cup.

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Previously, in motorsport, Sicily held the prominent Targa Florio sports car race that took place in the Madonie Mountains, with the start-finish line in Cerda.

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Flag of Sicily, regarded as a regional icon, was first adopted in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers of Palermo.

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When World War II ended, Sicily was recognized as an autonomous region in the Italian Republic.

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The symbol dates back to when Sicily was part of Magna Graecia, the colonial extension of Greece beyond the Aegean.

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