Sicily, Italy

Sicily is an Italian island region. Agriculture is the main resource of the Sicilian economy. On the flat areas citrus and olive trees are grown above all, while on some hilly areas mostly wheat, then vines, almonds, beans, tomatoes and other vegetables. Tourism as a resource is still developing in non-coastal regions. The fish production of Sicily constitutes about a quarter of the Italian production. The various industrial complexes in Syracuse, Augusta and Gela are intended for the petrochemical industry.


Geographic hints

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the largest region of Italy. The island is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. Its land is black with lava on the eastern side, white with salt on the western side, yellow with wheat on the southern side and green with woods on the northern side.

Most of the surface is made up of hilly land (61.4%) which rises from 150 to 580 meters above sea level. and to a small extent from lowland terrain (14.2%). The surface made up of mountainous terrain (24.4%) with the mountain ranges of the Madonie and Nebrodi in the north, is dominated in the eastern part by the most active volcano in Europe; Etna, which with its 3350 meters of height overlooks the whole of eastern Sicily.


Coasts and shorelines:

The eastern coasts of the Ionian slope - from Torre Faro in the Messina area to the northeast, the Catania area in the center-east, up to Capo d. Currents in the Syracuse area to the south have a varied coast; narrow pebble beaches almost as far as Taormina and between the mouth of the Alcantara river and Riposto; jagged to the south, with inlets and bays like that of Giardini Naxos; lava as in Acireale, and rugged basaltic cliffs as far as Catania. The wide gulf of Catania has a golden sand beach, but at its end the coast becomes rocky again with a series of inlets including that of Brucoli. Then the wide bay of Augusta, which houses the largest commercial port in Sicily, and the gulf of Syracuse in which the coast becomes sandy almost up to Capo Passero.
The northern coasts of the Tyrrhenian side - high and rocky, with frequent and large inlets, such as the gulfs of Castellammare del Golfo, Palermo, Termini Imerese, Patti, Milazzo and many other minor ones that host large beaches covered with very fine sand.
The coasts of the southern slope - is generally sandy and uniform in the central part formed by the largest gulf in the region, the Gulf of Gela, while it is more varied in the Ragusa area and in the Agrigento and Trapani areas with the central part facing the Sicilian channel separates it from the coasts of Tunisia.

Archipelagos: Aeolian (Lipari, Vulcano, Stromboli, Panarea, Alicudi, Filicudi and Salina), Egadi (Favignana, Marettimo, Levanzo), Pelagie (Linosa, Lampione and Lampedusa), and Pantelleria.
Rivers and lakes: Salso and Simeto The Pergusa is an important natural lake.
Plains: Plain of Catania, Conca d'Oro, Plain of Gela, Val di Mazara.
Reliefs: Etna, Monti Peloritani, Nebrodi, Madonie, Monti Sicani, Monti Erei, Monti Iblei.
Flora and fauna
Tree species that grow in hilly and mountainous areas are juniper, beech and oak, cork, pine and chestnut trees. In Sicily there are few remaining forms of wild animals, such as some species of vultures.


When to go

Sicily has a generally Mediterranean climate with long, hot, dry summers and short, mild, and in many places warm, winters. However, the interior plateaus and hills are an exception, where the beneficial influence of the Mediterranean climate is noticeably reduced. To these are added many localities on the southern coast, which have a semi-arid climate. That said, with the exception of any excesses of summer heat, every season of the year is suitable for a trip to Sicily.

The Sicilian climate is hot and dry in summer, but less muggy along the coasts. The localities in the hinterland are sometimes subject to real periods of extreme drought with days in which the thermometer regularly reaches 45°C in the southern section (the European record of 48.5°C was recorded in Catenanuova, in the province of Enna) which is the driest area of the island. Winters are the warmest in Europe, with very frequent daytime temperatures above 20 degrees compared to European standards. These peculiarities make Sicily an ideal destination for those seeking the sun in winter without wanting to go too far.

Precipitation in summer is extremely rare. The rainiest months are in autumn and winter, between November and February, when in some places it can rain up to bring the rivers in full to a torrential regime, also causing floods. However, some areas remain very arid even in the winter months, especially in the province of Agrigento, which enjoys a semi-arid climate. The average amount of rainfall therefore varies considerably according to the disposition of the reliefs. On most of the island, between 400 and 700 mm of rain fall per year. In the southern section, in some places, there is less than 400 mm of rain per year, for example in Lampedusa, which has a particularly desert climate. In the northern section of the Nebrodi mountains, which is the wettest area, about 1,300 mm (51 in) of rain fall per year.

An interesting feature is the presence of the sirocco, a hot and dusty wind coming from the North African desert. On its way through the Mediterranean, the sirocco can become heavily loaded with humidity and thus cause rain.

If in the middle of summer the high temperatures can limit the possibility of going on excursions or visiting the archaeological areas in the hot hours, in winter it is much more probable to have good daytime temperatures around 20 degrees. However, it should be remembered that Sicilian homes, except those in the mountains, are generally poorly equipped for low temperatures, therefore it will be very probable to perceive the houses as not adequately heated. For those staying in the winter it is always advisable to wear relatively warm clothing for the night.


Spoken languages

Most Sicilians are bilingual, speaking both sicilianu (Sicilian in Italian) in its regional dialectal forms, and Italian. Sicilian is not a language derived from Italian, but - like this - directly from Vulgar Latin. When Sicilians communicate in dialect, their conversations are peppered with hundreds of Arabic words of present-day Sicilian, many of which relate to agriculture or place names. But the same happens with the other terms of French and Spanish derivation, often used in the dialect without really knowing where they come from.

The presence of many immigrants from the shores of Africa means that Arabic or Tunisian is widespread in places with the highest concentrations, such as Mazara del Vallo, for example. In Piana degli Albanesi and in some neighboring towns, Albanian is historically widespread among the few people who still speak it.


Culture and traditions

The Arab element is among those that most influence many of the gastronomic traditions and the Christian religion in Sicily. This is also present in the chant of certain vendors in the markets of Palermo or Catania, or in the use of the greeting with a kiss on the cheek between men. Surely one of the best descriptions of the Sicilian character was given by Guy de Maupassant when he wrote:

«In Sicilian, there is already a lot of Arabic. He possesses gravity of movement, although he retains from Italian a great vivacity of mind. His native pride, his love of titles, the nature of pride and even his facial features bring him closer indeed to Spanish than to Italian. However, what he always arouses, as soon as he sets foot in Sicily, the deep impression of the Orient, is the timbre of the voice, the nasal intonation of the heralds in the streets. It is found everywhere, the acute note of Arabic, that note which seems to descend from the forehead into the throat, while, in the north, it rises from the chest to the mouth. And the dragging, monotonous and soft chant, heard in passing from the open door of a house, is exactly the same, with rhythm and accent, as that sung by the knight dressed in white who guides travelers through the large bare spaces of the desert."

The Sicilian, perhaps to a greater extent than the rest of Italy gesticulates a lot when speaking.

One of the typically Sicilian expressions is the use of the word minchia which, in addition to indicating the male sexual element, is commonly an interlayer of amazement, appreciation, joy, fear, contempt or wonder. Sometimes the "mii..." is also used at the beginning of the sentence, whose meaning is the same. Clearly it is not an elegant word, but it is now part of common use.

One aspect that could displace the tourist who comes into friendly contact with Sicilians is their tendency to offer something, generally a lunch, a dinner or a coffee according to the pleasure they had during the meeting. As a rule, one accepts with thanks and reciprocates at the first opportunity. It is also not strange that men greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, this habit which may seem strange is probably an Arab heritage and has no sexual connotation, far from it is a sign of friendship and respect.

Based on the cultural and family level, Sicilians show different behavior and social opinions. If educated people show openness and a critical sense even for the most controversial aspects of their identity (for example the subject of the mafia or the incivility of certain contexts), on the other hand there are people who are very ambiguous and at times unclear in their intentions. The latter are quite allergic to the rules, they claim to always be right especially if they are wrong, for this reason it is useless to think about gaining understanding.


Suggested readings

An excellent interpreter of the cultural aspects of Sicily is certainly Gesualdo Bufalino whose essays are recommended, apart from the novels:
Museum of shadows, Palermo: Sellerio, 1982.
One hundred sicilies, anthology of texts edited by Nunzio Zago, La Nuova Italia, 1993.
The Leopard by Tomasi di Lampedusa.
Trip to Sicily, Sigma editions, 1998 by Guy de Maupassant.

Leonardo Sciascia's novels are a classic that cannot be waived but the essay La corda pazza is also recommended. Writers and things of Sicily, Turin, Einaudi, 1970. Essays on Sicily:
Santi Correnti, Brief history of Sicily from its origins to the present day, Newton, Rome 1996 (2002) ISBN 88-7983-511-4
Michele Amari, History of the Muslims of Sicily, new ed. annotated by C. A. Nallino, Catania, Romeo Prampolini, 3 vols. (in 5 volumes), 1933-39.
Denis Mack Smith, History of medieval and modern Sicily, Laterza, Rome-Bari, 1976
Salvo Di Matteo, Foreign travelers in Sicily from the Arabs to the second half of the 20th century, 2 vols., ISSPE, 2000
Giuseppe Pitré, Library of Sicilian popular traditions, 25 volumes, (reprint anast.) Arnaldo Forni publisher, 1981
Salvatore Spoto, Ancient Sicily, Newton & Compton Editori, Rome, ISBN 88-8289-750-8


Territories and tourist destinations

The Sicilian area, which had the name of Trinacria in ancient times, can be divided into the following territories and their regions of tourist interest:
Western Sicily — Western Sicily is made up of the Agrigento area overlooking the Sicilian sea and the Sicilian channel which separates it from the Tunisian coasts, the Palermo area overlooking the lower Tyrrhenian Sea and the Trapani area which overlooks the Sicilian channel and part of the gulf of Castellammare which opens onto the Tyrrhenian side. The territory, in western Sicily, roughly corresponds to the ancient Iqlīm wall of Mazara established in the Arab period.

Northeastern Sicily - Northeastern Sicily is made up of the Catania area with the vast gulf of Catania on the Ionian coast, the Enna area, and the Messina area which is the closest point of entry to the Italian peninsula. The territory, in north-eastern Sicily, roughly corresponds to the ancient Iqlīm wall of Dimnasc established in the Arab period.

Southeastern Sicily - Southeastern Sicily consists of the Ragusa area, the vast Gulf of Gela on the southern coast, and the Syracuse area. The territory of south-eastern Sicily roughly corresponds to the ancient Iqlīm wall of Noto established in the Arab period.


Urban centers

Palermo - The throbbing capital is known for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, consolidated over the last 2,700 years. It was recently awarded the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Catania - Bustling university city and economic centre, ideal for nightlife. Excellent base for visits to Etna, also a UNESCO heritage site.

Gela - one of the most important ancient Greek cities, archaeological center and seaside resort on the south coast.
Marsala - with an interesting museum and home to the famous wine of the same name.
Messina - bustling city and main connection to the mainland.

Ragusa  - Impressive Baroque architecture protected by UNESCO.
Syracuse (Siracusa) - Evocative historical center mostly based on the small island of Ortigia and the UNESCO heritage Greek ruins.
Trapani — attractive city and gateway to Erice, Pantelleria and the Egadi islands.
Caltagirone - city famous for ceramics and the beautiful historic center

Agrigento - On the south coast, it is particularly known for the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Other destinations

Sicily has a significant amount of parks with different characteristics that are excellent for hiking or outdoor activities. Since their number is considerable, only those of regional importance are reported in this article, referring to the articles on the specific territories and areas of the island for a more detailed list.

Etna — Europe's largest active volcano and recently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coast of the Cyclops - Includes Acireale, Aci Trezza and Aci Castello.

Aeolian Islands — Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, Vulcano undisputed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Egadi Islands - The enchanting beaches and coves and the wide uncontaminated expanses make it the ideal destination for those who love the sea and nature. The Egadi islands include Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo.
Pelagie Islands — Lampedusa, Lampione, Linosa.
Pantelleria - The municipality of Pantelleria coincides with the homonymous island.

Ursino Castle


Parks of Sicily

Parco dei Nebrodi - This is the largest park in Sicily and is located in the northeastern part of the island
Oriented nature reserve Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari - This reserve is famous for its naturalistic and archaeological beauties as well as for being a stopover site for migratory birds.
Parco dell'Etna — The large park that protects the flora and fauna on the slopes of Etna.
Oriented nature reserve Pantalica, Anapo Valley and Cava Grande Torrent - This park is a UNESCO site for its naturalistic and archaeological value, famous for its immense necropolis.
Oriented nature reserve of the Zingaro - One of the best known parks in Sicily, a destination for many tourists especially in summer for the possibility of bathing in a splendid sea.
Madonie Park
Park of the Sicani Mountains


How to get

By plane
In Sicily there are 6 airports of which the two largest are Palermo Punta Raisi and Catania Fontanarossa. The latter has a greater tourist vocation being a low cost pole (hub) and reference point for various charter operators. Trapani airport has a moderate low cost and continental traffic, smaller numbers of destinations for Comiso still under development, while the two islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria are intended for mere traffic connecting with the major island and for seasonal tourist flights . If the destination is Messina, the Aeolian Islands or in any case the stretch of north-eastern coast of the island, the airport of the Strait (Reggio Calabria) must also be taken into consideration.

Palermo-Punta Raisi Airport — national and international flights, even low cost
Catania-Fontanarossa Airport — domestic, international and low cost hub flights and charter flights
Trapani-Birgi Airport — National and European flights, scheduled and low cost.
Comiso Airport — Low cost and scheduled connections with Milan Linate, Rome, Pisa and Munich.
Lampedusa airport
Pantelleria airport

Alternative stopovers
Reggio Calabria Airport (Strait Airport), via Provinciale Ravagnese, 11, 89131 Reggio Calabria (8 km from the center of Reggio Calabria on the final stretch of the A3), ☏ +390965640517, fax: +390965636524, Relations with Rome, Milan, Turin and Venice, through the companies Ita Airways, Blu Express and Volotea.

On boat
Departures from/to Messina from the ports of Salerno, Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni.
Departures from/to Naples from the port of Catania as well as from the same to Ravenna.
Departures from/to Valletta (Malta) from the port of Pozzallo.
Departures from/to Palermo from Civitavecchia, Genoa, Naples and Tunis.

On the train
Trenitalia connects the main Italian cities to and from Sicily via InterCity and InterCity Notte embarked on special ships at Villa San Giovanni, landing at the Messina Marittima station (or vice versa); the routes from there typically continue to Catania - Syracuse and Palermo (or originate there to be unified, in the case of trips to the North).

By bus
The buses that connect Sicily to the mainland are more reliable and the market for companies is more varied. Recently the arrival of Flixbus has been added which is creating strong competition compared to the traditional players. Many companies connect the main cities with: Rome, Naples and some northern cities. There are even buses that travel to Romania and Eastern European states.

From the main Italian cities to and from Sicily, several companies also compete with their vehicles/couriers.

Autoservizi Salemi, 97, via Salemi (Marsala), ☎ +39 0923 981120, fax: +39 0923 982465. MA<>MI . The Marsala <> Milan bus service stops in cities along the south and east coast of Sicily.
Segesta Autolinee (daily Rome-Sicily)
Segesta International (connections with Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Ukraine)
Buscenter, connections with Puglia, Rome and Naples.
Flixbus, recently introduced, this famous company guarantees long-distance connections on various routes that reach the continent.
Atlassib connects cities with Romania.


Getting around

By plane
The only internal air connections are with Lampedusa and Pantelleria from Palermo, Trapani and Catania.

By car
The island's internal road network is a total mess. As reported in the Safety section of this page, many inland roads are marked by the problem of landslides, the closure of bridges and chronic lack of maintenance. The problem lies in the regional budget problems and in the chaos linked to the attempt to eliminate the regional provinces which has led to the chaos in essential services including that of the road network. Using the car to get around is undoubtedly essential, given the problems and limits of public services, but on certain non-tourist routes the difficulties can be chronic. In all other cases, the average driver will not encounter insurmountable difficulties along the main tourist destinations, the motorways save a lot from problems even if the roadway restrictions and eternal construction sites are frequent.

The easiest way to move quickly within the city and in Sicily is car rental. There are several rental companies present at the airport (Avis, Hertz, Europcar);

The A18 motorway Messina - Catania section, which connects the two major cities of north-eastern Sicily. The use of this highway, with a total length of 76.8 kilometers, is subject to charges.
Main centers crossed: Taormina, Giarre, Acireale.
The A18 motorway Syracuse - Ispica section, which connects Syracuse with some of the major centers of its province. The use of this highway is free.
Main centers crossed: Avola, Noto, Rosolini. Ispic
The A19 Palermo - Catania motorway is the motorway section that connects the largest Sicilian cities. The use of this motorway, with a total length of 193 kilometres, is free.
Main centers crossed: The provinces of Palermo, Caltanissetta, Enna and Catania. It is the access point for the mountain centers of the Madonie and for Cefalù, for the industrial zones of Termini Imerese, with the adjoining port, and Dittaino.
The A20 Palermo - Messina motorway. Traveling along this section of the motorway, there is a beautiful panorama of the Tyrrhenian coast. The use of this highway, with a total length of 215 kilometers, is subject to charges.
Main centers crossed: Milazzo, Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Patti, Capo d'Orlando, Sant'Agata di Militello, Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Bagheria.

The A29 Palermo - Mazara del Vallo motorway and the Alcamo - Trapani branch, both without toll booths, connect the capital with the western part of the region. The use of this highway is free.
Main centers crossed: Alcamo, Castellammare del Golfo, Castelvetrano, Mazara del Vallo.
The ACT-SR Catania - Syracuse motorway. It connects the RA 15 (Catania ring road) to the Augusta - Villasmundo exit of the SS114 Orientale Sicula where it continues without interruption with motorway characteristics up to the Syracuse - Gela motorway (A 18). The use of this highway, with a total length of 25 kilometers, is free.
Main centers crossed: Lentini - Carlentini.
The RA15 motorway junction of Catania, better known as the Catania ring road, is a motorway axis tangential to the city of Catania, west of the city. It is managed by ANAS and is part of the European route E 45. The use of this motorway junction, with a total length of 24 kilometres, is free.
It allows the bypass of the urban center of Catania, connecting the A 18 motorway for Messina with the A 19 motorway for Palermo and the motorway for Syracuse, as well as various state roads in north-eastern Sicily.

On boat
Departures from/to the Egadi Islands and Pantelleria from the port of Trapani.
Departures from/to the Aeolian Islands from the port of Milazzo, Palermo and Cefalù.
Departures from/to the Pelagie Islands from the port of Porto Empedocle.
Departures from/to Ustica from the port of Palermo.

On the train
The connections by train are slow and often the frequency of the trains is excessively sparse, from Palermo to Messina about three and a half hours, three from Catania to Palermo. Furthermore, in many municipalities it could be difficult to reach the center from the station due to shortages in local public services. Not to mention the famous connection between Syracuse and Trapani which, between connections and stops, adds up to about 13 hours of travel!

The connections are made with the Trenitalia trains whose services are much improved, even if in general we suffer from the age of the network and bad organization. Often the stations are small and the services for the user are reduced to the essentials.

The connections between the Etna municipalities with the Circumetnea are very useful.

By bus
In a region where rail connections are notoriously scarce and slow, the presence of bus services is inevitable. The main companies that connect the cities of the island are:

Azienda Siciliana Trasporti - the regional transport company, covers many locations even the most remote ones of the island, however the service is poor. The rides often take very long times due to too many stops and the website, in addition to being only in Italian, is not in the least intuitive. It is also not possible to buy tickets online.
SAIS - operates in the Catania area
Autoservizi Salemi - operates mainly in the Trapani area
Interbus, Etna Trasporti, Segesta Autolinee, Sicilbus - operates mainly in the eastern part of Sicily.

Many of these companies own old buses, there is no wifi and sometimes buying the ticket in advance is not easy. However, it can always be purchased on board, even if with a slight surcharge. Furthermore, in the absence of a real regime of competition (the trains do not constitute a "danger" and the companies have been operating for decades in a semi-monopoly regime) the standards are lower than those of the European companies and punctuality is often not guaranteed. At the stops, it cannot be ruled out that the timetables are faded or out of date.

Urban connections are a separate matter, where each municipality has a different reality because sometimes municipal companies operate there, other times AST takes over (which is always the worst choice). If in the first case the services can be acceptable, even if the standards of punctuality, organization and bus fleet are always inferior to the realities of northern Italy, where AST is present the service is absolutely inefficient and unreliable.

By bike
Although Sicily does not have adequate facilities for cycle tourism, there is a small percentage of travelers who decide to travel by bicycle. This type of journey is certainly very beautiful, because the variety of landscapes but above all the possibility of finding secondary roads with low traffic is real. There are also several parks and natural areas to cross. The only problem is the absence of adequate cycle paths, signs and widely publicized routes. On the internet there are several suggestions regarding itineraries. Some of them can be consulted here.

Trenitalia allows the transport of bikes by train for free on trains used for this purpose. For the transport of at least 10 bikes, it is necessary to contact Trenitalia first at this address:

There is no bicycle transport service by bus.


What to see

Sicily boasts a good number of its sites nominated by Unesco among the World Heritage Sites
Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, Agrigento became one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples which dominate the ancient city, many of which still stand intact in what are now fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas shed light on late Hellenistic and Roman cities and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

Villa Romana del Casale, near Piazza Armerina The Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the Villa Romana del Casale (in Sicily), at the center of the large estate on which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. The villa is one of the most luxurious examples of its kind. It is particularly noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room; they are the finest in situ mosaics anywhere in the Roman world.

Aeolian Islands The Aeolian Islands hold an exceptional record of volcanic origin and destruction of the island, and ongoing volcanic phenomena. Studied since at least the 18th century, the islands have provided the science of volcanology with examples of two types of eruption (Vulcan and Strombolian) and, therefore, have figured prominently in the education of geologists for more than 200 years. The site continues to enrich the field of volcanology.

Late Baroque Cities of the Val di Noto The eight cities of south-eastern Sicily: Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, were all rebuilt after 1693 or alongside cities existing at the time of earthquake that took place in that year. They represent a remarkable collective effort, successfully executed at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the era, they also depict distinctive urban planning and urban building innovations.

Syracuse and the rock necropolis of Pantalica The site is made up of two separate elements, containing important vestiges from the Greek and Roman eras: the Necropolis of Pantalica contains over 5,000 rock-cut tombs near open stone quarries, most of which date back to 13th to 7th century BC In the area there are also vestiges from the Byzantine era, in particular the foundations of the Anaktoron (Prince's Palace). The other part of the property, ancient Syracuse, includes the founding nucleus of the city as Ortigia by the Greeks of Corinth in the 8th century BC. The site of the city, which Cicero described as "the largest Greek city and the most beautiful of all", retains vestiges such as the Temple of Athena (5th century BC, later converted into a cathedral), a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheater , a fort and more. Many remains bear witness to the troubled history of Sicily, from the Byzantines to the Bourbons, interspersed with the Arab-Muslims, the Normans, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1197-1250), the Aragonese and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Ancient Syracuse offers a unique testimony to the development of Mediterranean civilization in over three millennia.

Mount Etna This is an iconic site comprising 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest point of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily. Etna is the highest mountain among the Mediterranean islands and the most active stratovolcano in the world. The volcano's eruptive history can be traced back 500,000 years and at least 2,700 years of this activity has been documented. The nearly uninterrupted eruptive activity of Mount Etna continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth science disciplines. The volcano also supports important terrestrial ecosystems including endemic flora and fauna and its activity makes it a natural laboratory for the study of ecological and biological processes. The vast and accessible range of volcanic features such as summit craters, cinder cones, lava flows and the Valle del Bove depression have made the site a prime destination for research and education.

Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale Located on the northern coast of Sicily, the Arab-Norman area of Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating back to the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces , three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale. The Palazzo dei Normanni with the Palatine Chapel is unique. Collectively, they are an example of a socio-cultural syncretism between the island's Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures that gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. There are also testimonies of the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslims, Byzantines, Latins, Jews, Lombards and French).

Sicily is a land rich in unique natural landscapes, tourist attractions of great value, but above all it is rich in precious historical and archaeological evidence; in addition to the World Heritage sites listed above, it boasts many other attractions, including:
The Greek temple and theater of Segesta, an ancient city founded by the Elymians
Greek Theater of Taormina
The ruins of the temples of Selinunte
The Dancing Satyr in Mazara del Vallo
The Young Man of Mothia (Mozia)

And landscaped-natural:
the salt pans of Trapani
the islands, Egadi, Pelagie and Pantelleria
the nature reserves of: Cavagrande del Cassibile, Vendicari, the Zingaro.



Sicily has three promontories that divide it and for this reason it was formerly called Trinacria: Capo Peloro, Capo Lilibeo and Capo Passero.

Itinerary of the Sicilian Puppet Theater
Ionian side
The Ionian side can be considered included from Capo Peloro (Messina) to Capo Passero, therefore assuming you start from Messina to the south, you will meet the following locations (km traveled in brackets): Taormina (52 km), Etna, Costa dei Ciclopi (85 km which includes Acireale, Aci Trezza, Aci Castello), Catania (96 km), Augusta (144 km), Syracuse (162 km), Cassibile (168 km), Avola (178 km), Noto (188 km) and Pachino (207 km).

In this area you can go along part of the itinerary to discover Frederick's castles and buildings.

Tyrrhenian side
Always starting from Messina you meet Milazzo, Capo d'Orlando, Santo Stefano di Camastra, Cefalù, Termini Imerese, Bagheria, Palermo, Terrasini, Castellammare del Golfo, San Vito lo Capo, Custonaci, Trapani and Marsala.

Between Tusa and Santo Stefano di Camastra it is possible to follow the Fiumara d'arte monumental artistic itinerary.

Southern slope
From Capo Lilibeo (Marsala) you descend towards Mazara del Vallo, Sciacca, Porto Empedocle (with Agrigento), Licata, Gela, Santa Croce di Camerina, Pozzallo and Portopalo di Capo Passero.

In and around Ragusa you can follow the Itinerary of Inspector Montalbano for fans of fiction. From Caltanissetta to Agrigento the Writers' Road which develops along the SS640 between Caltanissetta and Porto Empedocle. From Agrigento to Palermo there is the Itinerary of Santa Rosalia.


What to do

Sicily offers many possibilities for recreation and entertainment. Most tourists come to Sicily for the beauty of the sea and the coasts. The choice is truly remarkable and for every need. You can swim in the lidos, inside the reserves or in the less famous and more isolated places such as the beaches on the Mediterranean side.

Water and Amusement Parks:
Etnaland in Belpasso (Catania)
Green water in Cefalù (Palermo)
Parcallario adventure in Buccheri, park for climbing ropes and trees.
Nebrodi Adventure Park
Jalari Museum Park
Educational courses, excursions and guided tours offered by the regional offices of SiciliAntica (the Association for the protection and enhancement of cultural and environmental heritage) of Caltanissetta, which promotes the knowledge and enhancement of the Sicilian territory and of the historical and archaeological finds on the island .

You can visit the regional parks and oriented reserves with the possibility of discovering the multiple aspects of the island's flora and fauna. Wide choice for hiking in the mountains or in the hills, as the area is quite mountainous. This list highlights the most important ones:
Park of the Sicani Mountains
Etna Park
Nebrodi Park
Zingaro Reserve
Vendicari Reserve
Madonie Park
Alcantara river park



Particularly rich is the Sicilian gastronomy, which, given the size of the island, can differ from area to area. The influence of the Arab domination can also be seen in this area, as in the architecture and toponyms. In fact, the preparation of cous cous alla Trapani is typical, typical of the west coast. For lovers of this dish, the appointment at the "Cous Cous Festival", which takes place every year in the seaside town of San Vito Lo Capo, is a must.

Street food is widely used, of which the most characteristic examples are the "pane e panelle", with a chickpea flour pancake to fill a sandwich (typically the "mafalda"); the "pani ca' meusa": this time a sandwich filled with spleen, traditionally seasoned with lemon, pepper and caciocavallo cheese. And again the "arancine", timbales of boiled rice in the shape of a sphere or cone, stuffed with meat, ham or spinach, without excluding room for imagination, and subsequently fried. In some places in Sicily far from the capital they are called "arancini" in the masculine form. Also very popular in Palermo is the "sfincione", a very tasty dish similar to pizza but with a thicker and softer dough, covered with breadcrumbs, tomato, onion, salted sardines and caciocavallo.

The desserts (cannoli, cassate) are inimitable, which use a lot of ricotta and/or almond paste, as well as candied fruit. The almond paste is also the ingredient of the so-called "fruit of marturana", small sweets that imitate fruit in shapes and colors, often achieving incredible realism.

As part of the ice cream shop, the fresh lemon granitas are to be tasted, traditionally served together with the "brioscia".

Modica chocolate is very famous in Modica and in the province of Ragusa in general. The peculiarity of this chocolate consists in its processing according to an ancient Inca method that makes it different from ordinary chocolate. The flavor is grainy and it is often prepared with multiple variations such as citrus or fruit.

Sicily is famous for the vast production of wines of which the most famous is Nero d'Avola, Fuoco dell'Etna, but also sweet wines such as Passito di Pantelleria, Malvasia and Marsala. The only Sicilian wine that has received DOCG recognition is Cerasuolo di Vittoria, but there are many DOC wines: Alcamo, County of Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Eloro, Erice, Etna, Faro, Malvasia delle Lipari, Mamertino di Milazzo , Marsala, Menfi, Monreale, Noto, Pantelleria, Riesi, Salaparuta, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca, Sicily, Syracuse and Vittoria.



Sicily has very warm and sociable inhabitants, it is necessary to adopt the normal behaviors that a tourist must exercise to avoid being the victim of a crime, not to visit bad areas and always use common sense (see below).

Etna is absolutely not a danger and is constantly monitored by the national institute of volcanology

Driving in Sicily is always very complicated for those who are not used to chaotic and messy traffic. Road rules are easily violated and the absence of systematic checks by the traffic police and the police allows far too many infringements. It won't be difficult to find motorists running a red light, kids without helmets and impossible parking spaces. Especially in big cities, where the degree of arrogance and stress is very high, the rules are such a palliative as to always suggest the utmost prudence. If you run into an overbearing motorist, or a rude subject with whom an altercation arises and whose low cultural level is immediately understood, it is always better to avoid the clash. Some of these subjects could go into a rage over a trifle ruining your holiday.

Muggings and robberies
It is advisable to walk with your eyes open due to the possibility of being robbed or mugged, this risk is higher in large cities (especially Palermo and Catania), while for many small towns and inland the risk of being robbed is almost nil. If you are not in a group, it is advisable to always pay attention and avoid venturing into isolated areas or dark or narrow streets, especially during the night. Before leaving, it can be useful to find out with local friends whether there are areas at higher risk in the city you want to visit and, if so, which ones. However, it must be said that stereotypes about crime, but above all about the mafia, are widespread and are often an exaggeration. Sicily is no more dangerous than Lombardy or other regions can be.

If you travel in autumn or winter, the possibility of particularly concentrated torrential rains (water bombs) is high in Sicily. Many cities, especially large urban centers are not adequately equipped to receive large quantities of rainwater, moreover it often happens that the maintenance of the drains is poor or missing, this determines the onset of serious flooding in peripheral streets or in decentralized neighborhoods as to be issued weather alerts by the Civil Protection on the basis of the municipalities. Therefore it is recommended in these cases to consider the traffic difficulties that may arise as well as the risk of being stuck in a flooded area. It is always advisable to find out about the practicability of the roads and the potential risks.

Those who travel by car along the secondary roads of the hinterland must necessarily consider the disastrous conditions of the internal road network. Various arterial roads connecting the mountain areas are subject to landslides which have also involved certain stretches of the corresponding state roads. The situation on provincial roads is much worse, showing visible signs of surface deformation with sudden depressions or the absence of asphalt for several metres. These hazards are often poorly signposted or even unsignaled. Motorists traveling on internal roads are advised to always proceed at moderate speed to avoid damaging the car or ending up off the road. In the event of heavy rain, it is not recommended to avoid the most exposed roads.

All other roads on the island, especially the coastal ones, present no danger. The connections are generally good, except at times for poorly legible or almost completely erased road markings.

Solo travellers
Sicily is a quiet place even for women traveling alone, however the nature of men is that of an attempt at an approach (certainly more than the Italian average), from nice compliments to attempts at boarding. Especially women from other countries considered "easier" will be the subject of greater attention. But in general, women are respected. In fact, if you do not want to be disturbed, it will be sufficient to refuse or decline any offers. Otherwise, common sense rules apply.

Topless on the beach is rare, except in the less crowded ones. In any case, no one will complain.


Physical geography

The region consists essentially of the island of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and various other islands and archipelagos.

Capo Peloro represents the eastern end of the island and of the entire region; the islands of Strombolicchio, Pantelleria and Lampedusa, on the other hand, represent the northern, western and southern ends respectively.

The Calipsee islands, forming the Republic of Malta, are also connected to the Sicilian archipelago from a purely geographical point of view; on the contrary, two of the Pelagie (Lampedusa and Lampione) represent a peripheral territory of the Italian Republic, geographically located in the African continent.



Sicily is a predominantly hilly region (61.4% of the territory), while 24.5% is mountainous and the remaining 14.1% is flat; the most extensive plain is the Plain of Catania. The relief is varied and, while in eastern Sicily the ideal continuation of the Calabrian Apennines can be recognized in the Sicilian Apennines, central and western Sicily hosts isolated massifs. The second highest peak of the island is located in the Madonie: Pizzo Carbonara (1979 metres).

Both the main island and the surrounding islands are affected by intense volcanic activity. The most important volcanoes are Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. They have the singularity of belonging to three different types: basaltic lava eruptions interspersed with periods of calm the first; continuous eruptions, and lava fountains, the second, whose characteristics have been taken as a typological model by the scientists of the sector, who have coined the term "Strombolian type" to designate the similar activities of terrestrial volcanoes; finally, the third is of an explosive or "Plinian" type, characterized by long periods of apparent calm and violent eruptions.

Finally, we recall the eruptive activity that in the 19th century, in the area of the Sicilian channel called Banco di Graham, led to the birth of the ephemeral Ferdinandea island.


Smaller islands

Sicily is a totally insular region: in addition to the main island, it is made up of a group of archipelagos and smaller islands which form about 1.11% of the entire regional surface (about 285.4 km² out of 25832, 4 km² total). Including the island of Sicily, there are 19 inhabited islands (33 172 inhabitants in the smaller islands alone).

The main groups of islands of the large archipelago of Sicily are the Aeolian, the Egadi and the Pelagie; the Stagnone islands and the Cyclops islands, on the other hand, constitute two small archipelagos respectively to the west and east of the Sicilian island, facing the coasts of Marsala, in the Trapani area, and Aci Trezza, in the Catania area. The two uninhabited islands of Vendicari and Portopalo south of Syracuse complete the series.

Ustica and Pantelleria, in the Tyrrhenian Sea and in the Sicilian channel, form two distinct municipalities in the provinces of Palermo and Trapani. The historic centers of Syracuse and Augusta, in the Syracuse area, are located on two islands connected to the mainland.



The Sicilian rivers are all of limited scope and extension. Those of the Apennines to the north are called fiumare, and are torrential in nature as they are almost perpetually dry in summer. The only rivers that reach appreciable dimensions are the Southern Imera, the longest on the island, and the Simeto, the one with the largest catchment area. The Simeto, the Alcantara, the Agrò, the Ciane and the Anapo flow into the Ionian Sea, the Northern Imera and the Torto into the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the Platani, the Southern Imera (or Salso) flow into the Sicilian channel, the Irminio and the Belice.

As far as natural lakes are concerned, with the exception of Lake Pergusa and the semi-artificial one of Lake Biviere di Lentini, Sicily is practically devoid of them. Lake Pergusa, of tectonic origin, is famous for the ancient myths and legends that concern it and for the fauna and flora that surrounds it; a racetrack runs all around it, in the past the site of a Formula 3000 Grand Prix. The lake was at risk of drying up, having no tributaries, due to the constant withdrawal of water for civil use.

The construction of dams has created large artificial reservoirs, such as Lake Ancipa and Lake Pozzillo (the largest on the island). Lake Arancio, Lake Disueri, Lake Piana degli Albanesi, Lake Ogliastro, Lake Trinità and Lake Santa Rosalia should also be mentioned.



The climate of Sicily is generally dry Mediterranean, with hot and very long summers, mild and rainy winters, and very changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts, especially the south-western and south-eastern ones, the climate is more affected by the African currents for which summers are torrid. During the winter season, in inland areas, temperatures are slightly colder, thus having a Mediterranean climate but with characteristics similar to those of the continental climate.

Snow falls in winter above 900-1000 meters but sometimes it can snow even at hilly altitudes, snowfalls on coastal and flat areas are very rare, when they have occurred they have always been very small and can only be found during strong cold spells. The internal mountains, in particular the Nebrodi, the Madonie and Etna, have an Apennine-type climate. Etna is usually covered in snow from October to May. Especially in summer it is not uncommon for the sirocco to blow, the wind coming from the Sahara. Rainfall is generally scarce and proves to be insufficient to ensure the water supply in some provinces where real water crises can occur.



The culmination of the Italian unification process occurred with the Expedition of the Thousand, which landed in Sicily in May 1860, and the conquest of Sicily was a fundamental premise for the creation of the future Kingdom of Italy.

During the Second World War the island experienced the season of the Sicilian Independence Movement. As a consequence of separatist pushes, also in this case it became the first Italian region to have a special status. Unlike what happened in the other regions, the special autonomy of Sicily was approved, on an equal basis between Italy and Sicily, even before the birth of the Italian Republic, through the royal legislative decree of 15 May 1946, n. 455, which established the Sicilian Region.



The ancient subdivision into territories consisted of three valleys (Val di Mazara, Val di Noto and Val Demone). The Sicilian Region is currently divided into 9 regional provinces and 391 municipalities. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 7 provinces: Castrogiovanni - then Enna - and Ragusa reached the status of capitals only, respectively, in 1926 (from the dismemberment of the provinces of Catania and Caltanissetta) and in 1927 (taking part of the municipalities of the province of Syracuse). Agrigento was called Girgenti.

The current nine provinces, called "regional", were established in the seventies, with the law of the Region, as consortia of municipalities; previously, in 1946, the Statute had sanctioned the abolition of the provincial administrations.

Sicily is among the most populous Italian regions (the fourth after Lombardy, Lazio and Campania). In the classical age, the island was among the most populated areas of the Mediterranean, and some cities represented important urban poles of the Greek world. Palermo and Messina were among the most prosperous cities both demographically and economically. On the other hand, Sicily welcomed Lombard colonists in the Norman-Swabian period, that is to say people from Northern Italy; and in the Aragonese age groups coming from the Balkans settled in the areas of western Sicily, especially in the mountains and hills.

In the 16th century, the island had more than a million inhabitants; while at the first census of the Kingdom of Italy, in 1861, the Sicilians were 2,932,000, increasing to more than 3.5 million at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In the following decades there was a mass exodus towards the Americas, where there is a large Sicilian-American community, and Europe; while between 1961 and 1971, the Sicilians moved towards Northern Italy. Since the 1980s, the decline in the birth rate has helped to slow down population growth; it is the third region of Italy with the highest birth rate and among those with the highest number of young people.

The emigration phenomenon has considerably reduced and is now balanced by foreign immigration, which in Sicily began earlier than in the other Italian regions with the establishment of a Tunisian colony in Mazara del Vallo.

Within the island there are movements from economically depressed mountain and hill areas to coastal areas and large cities. The areas of greatest population density are the coastal strips of the north-western (Trapani) and north-eastern (Messina) cusps areas, the slope of Etna and the areas of Palermo and Syracuse. In 2003, the resident population exceeded 5 million for the first time, reaching 5,094,937 inhabitants in 2013. Since then, however, the number of inhabitants has been steadily declining. In 2018 Sicily drops below 5 million inhabitants for the first time.


Languages and dialects

The official language spoken in Sicily is Italian, but a large part of the local population also speaks Sicilian. The latter, despite being recognized as a language by UNESCO, the European Union and other international organizations, does not enjoy protection from the Italian State; however, this recognition comes from the Sicilian Region, which promotes its linguistic heritage in schools. Sicilian is also considered a regional language under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, article 1 of which states that regional or minority languages are languages that are not dialects of the official state language. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was approved on 25 June 1992 and entered into force on 1 March 1998. Italy signed this Charter on 27 June 2000, but has not yet ratified it.

On the island there are some ethno-linguistic and dialectal minorities that are not numerous, but important from a historical-linguistic point of view: the Gallo-Italic minority of Sicilian Lombardy; the Albanian minority, called arbëreshe, of the metropolitan city of Palermo; and the more recent Greek one of Messina. The region also promotes the Italian sign language (LIS) with a specific regional law (n. 23/2011).

The domain of popular traditions includes the variants of the Sicilian language, which among other things were the only complex of the Italian-Romance group to precede Tuscan in rising to poetic and literary dignity with the Sicilian school of Frederick II of Swabia, both to contend with the Tuscan, for a long enough period, the supremacy as national language.

The poetry of the Sicilian School was written in "illustrious" Sicilian because it was enriched by Frenchisms, Provencalisms and Latinisms, by numerous poets (not all Sicilians) active before the middle of the thirteenth century in the circle of the imperial court. Some linguistic traits with this origin were also adopted by the Tuscan writers of subsequent generations and have been maintained for centuries or until now in the Italian poetic (and non-poetic) language: from the monophthongical forms such as core and loco to the conditionals in -ia (e.g. saria for would be) to the suffixes in use in Sicily derived from Provençal such as -anza (e.g. alligranza for joy, membranza, custom, meeting) or -ura (e.g. cold joke, chiarura, vegetable) and still others or words such as the verb to seem for opinion that for Dante it was a learned word (of Provençal origin, which also reached Italian through Sicilian lyric poetry).[30] The Sicilian School teaches a great productivity of the use of the already mentioned suffixes and prefixes (the latter mostly deriving from Latin) such as dis-: disfidarsi, s-: displeasure, mis-: disbelieve, misfare and many others. Abbreviations such as dir (to say) or amor (love) and other Latinisms were already present; for example the word amuri (Sicilian) alternated with love (Latinism). The contribution of the Sicilian school was remarkable:
«...Whatever the Italians write down, is called Sicilian...(translated)»
(Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia I, XII, 2)

In practice, different stratifications can be distinguished in Sicilian: on a phonetic level there are consonantal encounters of a pre-Latin horizon and others that seem to be related to the modern languages of the Balkan area. The etymology, however, refers to the Roman domination, the Byzantine and above all the Arab one. For example, the Arabic gibel (mountain) is a component of many toponyms: Gibilrossa, Gibilmanna, Mongibello, Gibellina. There are also several idiomatic provinces in which Sicilian breaks with local characteristics, and autonomous ethno-linguistic islands.

As far as the popular literary heritage is concerned, it must be said that the island's spontaneous conception moves in the literary sphere both on religious or moralistic themes and on profane subjects, as in the case of the epic texts of the Carolingian cycle of the famous Teatro dei Pupi, of the strambotti in Sicilian octave, and of fables which, although they appear restricted in theme, always present an exemplary narrative development: realistic start, well-graded or in any case plausible entry of superhuman elements and factors, careful attention to detail, even in the most fantastic moments, and a liveliness of articulation that never fails, both in the most heartbreaking love affairs or in those stories that hinge on a humor that sometimes verges on the grotesque or surreal.


Traditions and folklore

A fundamental part of the Sicilian tradition regards oral stories, collected in the 19th century by Giuseppe Pitrè in the Library of Sicilian Popular Traditions. They range from cunti, to fairy tales, to proverbs, to tongue twisters. The stereotypical character of Giufà is the protagonist of most of the stories that end with a moral.

Many of these accounts have not yet been fully codified. There are many legends (such as the four of Gammazita, the Pii brothers, Uzeta and Colapesce) which have a variant in each city (there are about thirty codified versions of the Colapesce legend) such as to constitute a real Sicilian mythology.

«We need to make known entirely the true, the great soul of our land. We musicians must feel the greatest responsibility for this mission because only in music and singing we Sicilians know how to dilute our true feeling. Remember that."
(Francesco Paolo Frontini)

The Sicilian popular traditions are numerous and multiform, as they impressed not a few and divergent colonizations. It is easy to recall, in fact, that the island was gradually dominated by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, Normans, Spanish and French, just to give the most prominent examples. Obviously, each of these influences exerted itself on the local ethnic group in a more or less generalized way, amalgamating and clashing from time to time with the pre-existing traditions, starting with the autochthonous ones. Sicilian civilization and its spontaneous culture therefore appear insular, if compared to the analogous fruits that ripen in Sardinia and Corsica, but of an optimal richness and peculiarity for a scholar. Suffice it to recall that the folklorist Giuseppe Pitrè dedicated a work in twenty-five volumes to the popular traditions of this area, incorporating ethnographic descriptions and historical perspectives with pertinence.

The world of beliefs and legends, in various ways, is related to the fairy-tale, poetic and musical heritage outlined above, often constituting its primary source. As in almost all Italian regions, pagan and Christian components can be traced here, more or less mixed, and superstitions that affect all aspects of human life. In the Messina and Palermo areas, for example, the memory of Colapesce is still alive, but many other characters of an aquatic nature recur throughout the island's folklore. Regardless of the best-known memories of classical origin, we can point out here the siren that every year, according to the old belief of Modica, in the night between 24 and 25 January, emerges from the bottom of the sea with a very sweet song and ready to predict the future to those who know how to approach it. More disturbing images and motifs are also recorded on or off specific dates. Thus in Capodarso it is believed that at least once a year a real "fair" of spirits takes place, near a bridge built by Charles V and during which, among other things, fruit is sold which is to become gold the next day. A legend is rooted in Termini Imerese according to which Salome, the daughter of Herodias, would have landed, in her time, at these shores in search of expiation for the death of John the Baptist, which she caused; she therefore had a church built in memory of the martyr, but as soon as it was finished a river of blood would have flowed from the bowels of the earth and dried everything around. The beautiful sinner would then have drowned in those waves.

As soon as this happened - the legend continues - the blood river sank underground. But every year, on the night before St. John's, by enchantment, Salome and the stream of blood would reappear on the surface, stopping every thrill of life, until, in the morning, the solar disk, bearing the decapitated head of the Baptist, again forces Salome and its river to return to the underworld. Similarly, in Noto there is talk of a hidden treasure buried in a cave and guarded by the ghosts of the "infidels" who had buried it there; in Sciacca, a dark story of blood is handed down which includes the repeated resurrection of the dead, for the purpose of revenge, and so on. The panorama of active beliefs is no less rich in references to pre-Christian times. For example, annual gifts to children are given in commemoration of the return of the dead on early November nights.

In the same days in the pastry shops it is customary to package sweets, called precisely of the "dead", with a macabre subject: skeletons, skulls and bones. The custom in question is particularly alive in the Palermo and Catania areas. The feast of Saint Lucia (December 13), and the days immediately following, until Christmas Eve, are considered propitious for drawing horoscopes on the progress of the imminent new year. Finally, Epiphany is unanimously considered the first day of carnival. Speaking of holidays, it is also worth mentioning the ride of the Giant and the Gigantesca which takes place in Messina on August 15th, the feast of the Assumption, almost as opposed to the procession of the "vara": a pyramidal construction decorated with images of angels and which bears the statues of the Madonna and Christ at the top. On the other hand, the "devil" of Adrano has an unequivocal Christian imprint: a sacred drama which sees the victorious battle of the Archangel Michael against legions of devils and against Death itself. Naturally, the same can be said for the famous Palermitan celebrations of the patron saint Santa Rosalia, commemorated on three different dates, January 11, July 15 and September 14, with impressive processions and gigantic "vare", similar to the "vara" Messina. On another floor, the ex voto tablets preserved in the sanctuary of Trecastagni (Catania) are also noteworthy.

As far as some aspects of ergological culture are concerned, the typical island cart with high wheels is well known, usually carved and painted with scenes inspired by chivalrous events, narrated by storytellers and the Opera dei Pupi. On the origins of this means of locomotion there is no shortage of discussions among specialists at the beginning of the century. However, Giuseppe Cocchiara has shown that the road system of the island could not allow the birth of this vehicle until the middle of the eighteenth century. Moreover, the most ancient examples of the Sicilian cart that have come down to us do not usually date back beyond the middle of the last century. In earlier specimens, the carving ornaments and the paintings may be of a sacred subject, rather than "Carolingan". However, it is not certain that this iconological distinction guarantees its antiquity. As far as spontaneous architecture is concerned, we will observe that it falls fully within the horizon of the "Mediterranean style", typical of the entire South. Here and there, however, agglomerations or single buildings in the form of trulli can also be identified.

Finally, two words should be expressed on popular customs. Also in this sector there are quite evident comparisons with the other regions of the south of the peninsula. The female dress, in fact, in shape and color resembles those of Calabria and Sardinia, obviously varying according to age and occasion. The same can be said for the men's costume, more severe and characterized by large colored bands as a belt.



For a long time, popular traditions, the fruit of a millenary culture and the use of a common language, Sicilian, remained alive, more in towns than in big cities. These traditions, particular and sometimes picturesque, have been the cause for which, over the centuries, a stereotype has been created translated into the term sicilianità, meaning by it a sort of particularity and differentiation of the island character compared to that of the neighboring regions.

In his writings, Marcus Tullius Cicero defined the Sicilians as «acute and suspicious people, born for controversies».

The traditional Sicilian family generally forms a very large group that also includes the most distant cousins and is not closed in on itself. The habit of large tables for lunch or dinner is widespread, especially in summer. The times have moved a little further than in the north, arriving to have lunch even at two in the afternoon and dinner around nine to ten in the summer.

Gesualdo Bufalino defined Sicily as the land of light and mourning, a place of contradictions of extremes that come together: thus in the imagination the Sicilian appears as a sunny and welcoming man but also shady and suspicious, convinced that his way of being is the best and the fairest. Tomasi di Lampedusa declared in his Il Gattopardo that in Sicily everything changes so that nothing changes because, if it is the Sicilians themselves who seek change, at the same time they hold it back, fearful that it could overthrow the centuries-old habits and acquired privileges.

The sometimes tragic sense of destiny but also of the proud attachment to one's land and one's roots is also testified in the literature. Remarkable is the portrait left to us by Giovanni Verga, leader of realism, in the so-called Cycle of the vanquished (which includes I Malavoglia) in which the cult of "roba", the material good obtained from the earth and from work, must also adapt the meaning, even so sacred family, whose characters, who want to change the world, are punished by bad luck that forces them to return to the starting point, to their land and their roots. Verga's bitter reflections on life: he too, having achieved well-being, will take refuge from the North in his beloved Catania where, disenchanted with life, he will spend his last years.

Singular attitudes can be found in other Sicilians, Mario Rapisardi and Giuseppe Aurelio Costanzo guilty, according to Benedetto Croce, of having transformed the poem into a "sociological essay". But the denunciation they make is not an end in itself but joins great ideals: social justice, the need for change, rebellion against an unjust social order which symbolically represents the humble and oppressed class which instead in the work of other Sicilian writers he is only capable of renunciation.

The strong feeling of belonging to Sicily, in the countries of emigration, has produced the birth of numerous communities of Sicilian immigrants and has often given rise to strong racist repercussions; in the United States, the case of the nine Sicilian workers lynched by the mob in New Orleans in 1891 is known, despite being completely unrelated to the facts of which they were accused). Often, totally integrated into Anglo-Saxon society, Sicilian-Americans are nonetheless the object of discrimination through stereotypes also fueled by famous films and television series. There is frequent association with mafia crime, almost synonymous with being Sicilian, up to actual racism.


Religious holidays

Catholic religious festivals are of great importance in Sicilian folklore. Among the most representative festivals we can mention: the feast of Sant'Agata (recognized as an ethno-anthropological heritage of humanity) in the city of Catania, the feast of Saint Rosalia in Palermo, the Vara of Messina, the feast of Saint Lucia in Syracuse, Holy Week in Caltanissetta, the procession of the mysteries in Trapani, the feast in honor of the holy martyrs Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino in Lentini, the feast of Santa Barbara in Paternò, that of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla and the Friday processions saint in Enna, the living procession of the Passion in Marsala.

Unique and full of oriental spirituality are the rites of the Holy Week of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, according to the Byzantine rite of the Albanians of Sicily.

Other important holidays of the island:
the feast of San Sebastiano in Acireale;
the feast of San Giacomo in Caltagirone;
the feast of the Madonna in Trapani;
the feast of the Madonna della Visitazione in Enna;
the feast of the Most Holy Savior of the Transfiguration in Cefalù;
the feast of Sant'Anna in Castelbuono;
the Miracles of San Giacomo in Capizzi;
the feast of the Madonna of Custonaci, patron saint of the Agro Ericino, in Custonaci and in Erice

Secular parties
The Carnival is celebrated in Sicily with some of the most beautiful and characteristic events on a national level to the point of also participating in the Carnival of Viareggio; particularly known are those of Paternò, Valderice, Acireale, Misterbianco, Sciacca, Palazzolo Acreide, Termini Imerese, Cinisi, Collesano, Ravanusa, Santa Teresa di Riva, Aci Trezza and the carnival of Regalbuto, high expressions of popular folklore and light-heartedness.

Opera dei Pupi
In 2001, the Sicilian marionette theater was registered among the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO of the puppet theater (the first Italian heritage to be included in this list). Thanks to the cuntastori, the puppets, who represent the characters of the Carolingian cycle, stage the stories of the Chanson de Roland, Orlando furioso and Gerusalemme liberata. The main character is the knight Orlando, but there is also space for Rinaldo, Angelica and others.

The cradle of the Opera dei Pupi is Palermo where there are numerous theaters as well as a museum and a famous school such as that of the Cuticchio family and in particular of Mimmo Cuticchio. Another important center is Acireale, a Baroque town, which saw this art flourish thanks to the numerous master puppeteers, including the famous Emanuele Macrì, to whom the homonymous museum-theater is dedicated where, every day, it is possible to attend performances by the master puppeteers . Furthermore, in Alcamo, Partinico and Sciacca the Canino family distinguished itself, above all Gaspare Canino.



The use of gestures has been present in Sicilian culture since the most remote antiquity; the probable reason is to be found in its cultural and commercial relations with the peoples of the Mediterranean area from the earliest times. The great mixing of languages and peoples has undoubtedly accentuated the use of gestures to better understand each other; it is in fact quite natural, when people of different languages do not understand each other well, to use gestures to accentuate the intelligibility of the dialogue.

Giuseppe Pitrè, among others, also dealt with Sicilian gestures, collecting all possible information in Uses and customs, beliefs and prejudices of the Sicilian people (1889). Among the various pieces of information, we report the legend that tells of a king who, having arrived in Sicily, wants to test two of his subjects on their supposed ability to converse without words. The two subjects, taken aback, pass the test and cause great wonder in the sovereign. Gestures are said to be one of the aspects of Sicilian theatricality, one of the many ways of demonstrating the need to act and give vent to great creativity.

Gestures should not be confused with sign language, even if some gestures resemble those of LIS grammar. An interesting documentary by the Sicilian director Luca Vullo, La voce del corpo, made it the subject of an internationally successful film.



«The mafia is a human phenomenon and like all human phenomena it has a beginning, its own evolution and will therefore also have an end.»
(John Falcone)

The term mafia or Cosa nostra originally referred only to the Sicilian criminal organization. In the twenty-first century, however, the term mafia is also associated with other mafia organizations such as the Campania Camorra, the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta or outside Italy, the Russian mafia, the Albanian mafia or the Chinese Triads. Its origins are traditionally traced back to the revolt of the Sicilian Vespers and are placed in relation to the ancient sect of the Beati Paoli, at the center of Sicilian folk tales. However, it is necessary to specify that this assertion is not widely shared and considered legendary; most scholars believe they can date the phenomenon to the 16th century, when paracriminal congregations similar to the one mentioned by Alessandro Manzoni in his masterpiece I promessi sposi (The "bravi" by Don Rodrigo) had formed in various parts of Italy.
Rightly or wrongly, according to the majority of historiographical research, its birth is conventionally traced back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the campieri managed the land of the Sicilian nobility and the laborers who worked there on a daily basis. They were violent people, who acted as intermediaries between the feudal landlords and the labourers, often in conditions similar to those of the serfs who, in order to better exercise their trade, surrounded themselves with violent paid guardians. From here was born the hierarchy of bosses and picciotti which, in its hierarchical logic, still exists today. However, as the historian G. C. Marino points out with other scholars, most probably the origin of the mafia is much more ancient, given that the large estate with all its historical-social and political-economic structures and consequences, in Sicily is present since Norman times.

However, it was only after the unification of Italy that the mafia began to evolve into its current form, being brought to its knees thanks to the work of the "iron prefect" Cesare Mori - sent by the fascist regime - and then being powerfully supported by the US government first and after the Allied landings in WWII. From the 1950s onwards, the mafia became ever more closely linked to politics: from Vito Ciancimino onwards, some exponents of Sicilian politics have been indicated as colluding. And there was also the period of great internal wars: the first (in 1962) and the second mafia war (in 1981).

The period between the eighties and nineties is the season of great massacres: Capaci, via d'Amelio, via dei Georgofili... but it was also the period of the Palermo maxi-trial: Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino lead the charge against the gangs , then being cowardly killed in 1992, after the murders, among others, of Cesare Terranova, Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, Antonino Saetta, Rosario Livatino and Ninni Cassarà, martyrs of the mafia. Subsequently, the phenomenon hides, and only the arrests become striking, from Totò Riina to Bagarella to Brusca. The latest, in 2006, that of a historic mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano and in 2007 the arrest of Salvatore Lo Piccolo, his successor. Today anti-mafia experts indicate Matteo Messina Denaro as the successor of Lo Piccolo and Provenzano at the top of Cosa Nostra.


Collusions between politics and the mafia

The first time that the relationship between politics and the mafia in Sicily was openly talked about was at the beginning of the century on the occasion of the murder of the former mayor of Palermo Notarbartolo, whose principal was the parliamentarian Raffaele Palizzolo, who went unpunished. After the end of fascism, the Allies appointed leading members of the mafia, such as Calogero Vizzini, as mayors. There were also numerous links between the Mafia and exponents of Sicilian separatism.

Among the most illustrious victims who fell in the fight against the mafia were General Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, the judges Gaetano Costa, Cesare Terranova, Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone. However, the fruits of these investigations and the support of popular solidarity which on several occasions took to the streets against the mafia dome led to the beheading, from 1993 onwards, of the leaders of Cosa Nostra.

Over time, the link between politics and the mafia has continued to be an essential aspect of the control and management of public procurement and funds. Exploiting the lever of complicity and silence, in many provinces of Sicily political choices sometimes take place for mafia conveniences. There are countless cases of piloted tenders to companies controlled by the mafia, of speculation linked to municipal regulatory plans, of regional laws in favor of certain categories, etc. For this reason, some anti-mafia laws have arisen aimed at limiting collusion. However, every year the dissolution of various municipal councils scattered throughout Sicily continues due to mafia infiltration.

Outside of Sicily, clichés derived from Hollywood stereotypes of the Godfather genre have often fed, portraying Sicily as a country dominated daily by violence, while the influence of the octopus is actually more underground than one might think. Not only have cinematic stereotypes been taken for granted, but easy extended generalizations of Sicilians sometimes generate unjust social discrimination in the rest of Italy as well as abroad. For this purpose, numerous cultural associations have arisen in Italy and abroad aimed at safeguarding and making known the rich artistic, linguistic and human reality of the island.

In many areas vote trading is tacitly exploited, with no apparent mobilization by the state. With globalization and the influx of illegal immigrants to Sicily led by unscrupulous smugglers, the mafia has extended its alliances to developing countries and to the mafias originating from these.

The cases of politicians and magistrates colluding with the mafia are striking: the case that perhaps caused the most talk was that of Giulio Andreotti (whom the judges considered acquitted with a definitive sentence as regards crimes after 1980, arguing however, for the prescribed crimes, "an authentic, stable and friendly availability of the defendant towards the mafiosi until the spring of 1980") and the former president of the Region Salvatore Cuffaro, definitively sentenced to seven years for revealing a secret investigation, and still under investigation for external competition in a mafia-type association.

«But the mafia was, and is, something else: a system that in Sicily contains and moves the economic and power interests of a class that we can roughly call bourgeois; and it does not arise and develop in the void of the State (that is, when the State, with its laws and functions, is weak or lacking) but within the State. In short, the mafia is nothing more than a parasitic bourgeoisie, a bourgeoisie that does not undertake but only exploits.
(Leonardo Sciascia, 1972; from Warning written on the occasion of the publication of the "Giorno della Civetta" in the series "Letture per la scuola media" - Einaudi).



Form of government

Sicily is a region with a special statute (art. 116 of the Constitution), called the Sicilian Region, with broad autonomy, both political, administrative and financial. The legislative body is made up of the Sicilian Regional Assembly, the executive body of the President of the Sicilian Region and the Regional Council, made up of 12 regional councillors, who since 2001 may not even be deputies to the ARS (that's what they are called, unique in Italy according to the Constitutional Court, the regional councilors in Sicily).

The special Sicilian statute, issued by King Umberto II on 15 May 1946 (therefore preceding the Constitution of the Italian Republic, which implemented it in full with constitutional law no. 2 of 1948), gave life to the Sicilian Region, even before its birth of the Italian Republic, which conventionally took place on the following 2 June.

The official name is "Sicilian Region" and not "Sicily Region" for a historical reason as well as for the institutional relationship that binds the island to Italy. The Sicilian Region (in consonance with the "Italian Republic") was born as an originally sovereign body linked to Italy by a treaty and potentially equal relationship. This legal condition, which gives rise to the same use of the adjective after the official name of the entity, is due to mainly political reasons of an independence nature which leverage the fact that the Sicilian administrative entity is considered a primary source of the right to equal rights of the Italian Republic. By virtue of the sovereignty and will of the Sicilian people to give themselves their own autonomous statute, in fact, the founding fathers of the Sicilian statute wanted to mark a substantial equality, but not antithetical, legal, historical and political relationship between the Sicilian people and the Italian people. It is no coincidence that Sicily is the only region of Italy in which the legislative body is also called parliament.

A recurring political theme is, therefore, Sicilian autonomy. This was a way to empty the separatist movement, led by the Sicilian Independence Movement, which in the aftermath of the Allied landing in July 1943 had emerged from the clandestinity in which it had been under the fascist period, asking for the liberation of Sicily from the Kingdom of Italy , and which also had a paramilitary organization, the Volunteer Army for the Independence of Sicily (EVIS) led by Antonio Canepa. However, the idea that Sicily would become the 49th state of the United States of America vanished almost immediately. When the United States managed to block the Soviet and Yugoslav threat on north-eastern Italy, they abandoned EVIS and Giuliano to themselves: the MIS had nothing left to do but participate in the political elections for the Constituent Assembly in 1946, where it obtained 4 seats (including Andrea Finocchiaro Aprile and Attilio Castrogiovanni), and nine in the Regional Assembly in 1947, (none in the 1948 elections) while many "bastion leaders" placed in command of the towns by the Allied troops after July 1943, infiltrated the reconstituted Italian parties.

The political history of sixty years of special autonomy in Sicily, and of its governments, has experienced moments of liveliness, which have led to defining Sicilian politics as a sort of "political laboratory", and others that are darker.

Since 2001, the President of the Region is no longer elected by the Sicilian Regional Assembly, but directly by the citizens. The president of the 59th council of the Region, elected on 5 November 2017, is Nello Musumeci, founder of the regionalist party #DiventeràBellissima and supported by a centre-right coalition. The president of the 60th council of the Region, elected on 25 September 2022, is Renato Schifani, supported by a centre-right coalition. The Presidency of the Region is based in Palermo, in Palazzo d'Orleans.

The Sicilian Regional Assembly is the legislative body of the Sicilian Region elected for the first time in May 1947. It is elected by universal suffrage and composed, starting from its XVII legislature (2017) of 70 deputies. It is based in Palermo, in Palace of the Normans. The Sicilian parliament, born in 1130, is considered the oldest in Europe.


Special statute and exclusive competences

Thanks to the Autonomous Statute, the Region has exclusive competence (i.e. state laws have no force in the region) over a series of matters, including cultural heritage, agriculture, fishing, local authorities, environment, tourism, forestry police and local police. The relevant staff is therefore in the roles of the Region and not of the State, and is more numerous than in the other Regions with ordinary statute. Every modification to the special Statute, being a constitutional law, is subject to the so-called aggravated procedure, i.e. to a double approval, by qualified majority, by the Chambers.

As regards fiscal matters, the totality of the taxes collected in Sicily should, in fact, remain in the territory and every year the Italian State would be required to provide an amount to be established, with a five-year plan, of public money coming from the other Regions to finance the Sicily, as established by art. 38 of the Statute of the Sicilian Region.

The State will pay the Region annually, as national solidarity, a sum to be used, on the basis of an economic plan, in the execution of public works.
This sum will tend to balance the lower amount of income from work in the Region compared to the national average.
A five-yearly review of the said assignment will be carried out with reference to the changes in the data assumed for the previous calculation.

Another important aspect is contained in the art. 37 of the Statute of the Sicilian Region:
For industrial and commercial companies, which have their headquarters outside the territory of the Region, but which have factories and plants within it, the share of income to be attributed to the factories and plants themselves is determined in the assessment of income.
The tax relating to this quota is the responsibility of the Region and is collected by its collection bodies.



Thanks to the economic growth of recent years, Sicily is the eighth regional economy in Italy in terms of total GDP. A series of agricultural reforms and investments such as the introduction of modern irrigation systems have made this important industry competitive. In the 1970s there was growth in the industry through the creation of some factories. The service sector has also grown in recent years with the opening of numerous shopping centers. Tourism is an important source of wealth for the island thanks to its natural and historical heritage. Today Sicily is investing large sums of money in hotel and non-hotel facilities, in order to make tourism more competitive. However, even today, Sicily continues to have a GDP per capita lower than the Italian average and higher unemployment than the rest of Italy. This difference is mainly caused by the negative influence of the mafia which is still active in some areas although it is much weaker than in the past.



Agriculture has been and still is one of Sicily's great economic resources thanks to the variety and quality of production. The production of cereals is notable - including wheat, especially of the prized durum wheat variety, essential for the production of the best quality pasta. In the past, wheat already made Sicily essential for the supply of the Romans, so much so that the island was called the granary of Rome. There is an abundance of olives, which ensures excellent oil production. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the cultivation of rice was also widespread, imported by the Arabs and an ingredient in various typical dishes.

The cultivation of citrus fruits is well known, the most important centers of which are Mazzarrà Sant'Andrea, Francofonte, Lentini, Paternò famous for its red pulp orange, Ribera, Scordia. High quality oranges, lemons, mandarins, tangerines, bergamots, citrons and grapefruits are produced here. Sicilian fruit growing includes among its products prickly pears, watermelons, persimmons, medlars and plums which give rise to specific quality productions such as the Syracuse watermelon, the Misilmeri persimmons, the Trabia medlars and the sanacore plum, while among the vegetables, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers are produced in particular. Starting from the sixties, the development of greenhouse cultivations, especially widespread in the south-eastern area, has allowed an increase in both the quantity and quality of products, developing crops with high added value such as first fruits or other products protected by certified denominations such as the famous Pachino cherry tomatoes. Among the horticultural products there is no shortage of basic legumes in regional cuisine. In addition to the traditional legumes also widespread in the rest of Italy, the specific climatic conditions have allowed the development of particular and less widespread crops in the peninsula such as carobs and lupins. The attention and development reserved for the production of legumes has led to excellences such as the Leonforte broad bean.

The production of artichokes is important, of which the Niscemo area and the agricultural district of Cerda are among the largest European producers. Among the dried fruit, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios stand out for their quality - the Bronte one is prized - which are the basis of many confectionery products.

An important contribution also comes from the intensive cultivation of once exotic species, such as excellent quality kiwis and even mangoes, in the Fiumefreddo area. The new carrot from Ispica, the Etna cherry grown in the Giarre district, the olive oil from the Iblei Mountains, the Nisseni hills and the Enna hills, the Interdonato lemon from the Ionian Messina, the lemon from Syracuse, the melon from Pachino and the green pistachio of Bronte are products with a Protected Designation of Origin - National Transitional Protection by ministerial decree. One of the most typical fruits is the "kaki" (in Italian persimmon or lotus). Famous for its kakis is Misilmeri. Another peculiar Sicilian production is that of sbergie. This fruit, sweet and fragrant, is an endemism that is widespread only in the Niceto valley.

The traditional cultivation of the vine allows the production of excellent wines, both red and white, which are increasingly known and appreciated throughout the world. The production, although notable, once struggled to enter the markets due to the excessive fragmentation of producers and imprecise quality standards; it had a decisive turning point starting from the nineties, when the use of new oenological techniques, public funding which facilitated the arrival of large wine producers from other parts of Italy and also from abroad, the birth of a local university school of oenologists (University of Palermo Faculty of Agriculture with branch in Marsala at the "A. Damiani" Agricultural Institute), have favored the rebirth of Sicilian wines, already famous in Roman times, and their affirmation at the international of its D.O.C. and the birth of the D.O.C.G. Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

Among the best-known native vines are the "reds", such as Nero d'Avola, Nerello mascalese, Frappato which competes together with Nero d'Avola for the D.O.C.G. Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Nerello Mantellato, Nerello Cappuccio, Perricone and Nocera, and the "whites", among which the best known is undoubtedly the Bianco d'Alcamo, whose fame is recognized throughout the world, the Inzolia , Grillo, Catarratto, Grecanico, Carricante, Minnella Bianca, Moscato di Pantelleria also known as Zibibbo and Malvasia delle Lipari.

Furthermore, wines produced from Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Pinot noir and other non-native varieties are also grown and bottled, with notable qualitative results.

An important and increasingly developed sector is that of greenhouse cultivation of valuable flowers, such as orchids, favored by the hot-humid climate which has reached and surpassed that of other traditionally producing regions in terms of production. Today Sicilian flowers are purchased and shipped throughout Europe.

There is also the largest fruit and vegetable market in Italy in Vittoria.

In Sicily, approximately 650,000 hectares of land are dedicated to seed agriculture and 400,000 to permanent crops.

Cotton is also grown in the Gela plain; the Sicilian product constitutes 78% of national production.



Sheep, goats and horses are bred, while cattle, once present in limited numbers, are now bred mainly in the free municipal consortium of Ragusa, where animals of the Friesian and Modican breeds are bred. The latter produce very substantial milk, although in scarce quantities compared to farmed cattle (it is a semi-domesticated breed), used mainly in the production of fresh cheeses ("provole"), from Piacenza-ennese, with the addition of saffron , or the Ragusano caciocavallo, the only one of its kind in Sicily to have earned the DOP mark. A typical breed of Sanfratellana equine is bred on the Nebrodi, in the San Fratello area, from which it takes its name. The area dedicated to meadows and pastures in Sicily reaches 235,000 hectares. The oldest Italian dog breeds are also native to the island: the Mannara dog and the Cirneco dell'Etna.



Marzamemi, a fishing village famous for its tuna fishery, constitutes a precious resource for Sicily, which is the first Italian region in terms of quantity of product caught, fleet size (33% of the Italian fishing fleet) and number of fishermen employed.

There are many ports with large fleets of fishing vessels; among these the most important is that of Mazara del Vallo, the first in Italy with 27687 GRT (gross tonnage) and 269 fishing boats. Also important are those of Trapani, Scoglitti, Sciacca and Porticello, which exceed 130 fishing boats registered in the compartment. Other ports are the port of Licata, Porto Empedocle, Marsala, Pozzallo, Lampedusa, Catania, Portopalo. In addition to swordfish in the Strait of Messina area, tuna, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are also caught, i.e. the blue fish typical of the Mediterranean Sea, which allows the canning industry to be supplied with the raw material necessary for production. canned fish and smoked fish. Bottarga is produced in the Trapani area and in Marzamemi, which is also exported abroad.

In Mazara del Vallo but also in other marine areas of the Mediterranean coast of Sicily, the farming of fish such as sea bass, sea bream and tuna (fattening) is practiced; in Ganzirri, in the northern area of Messina, that of oysters and mussels. Furthermore, in Trapani the salt pans from which very fine sea salt has been produced since ancient times are well known.



A power line that crosses the Strait of Messina exports from Sicily part of the electricity that is produced there, but above all it allows the region to receive over half of the energy coming from Northern Europe, requested by the 5 million Sicilian inhabitants. The main energy, plus some of the auxiliary energy produced by the region's power plants, is used in cities and for 3 kV electrified railway lines. The Terna power line development and management company will build a second power line between Sorgente and Rizziconi as well as the upgrading of the region's grid up to 380 kV.

Even if traditional power plants are quite widespread and have good production, alternative sources, despite the enormous potential that Sicily has in this regard, are still not widespread: some wind power plants are experimental, while it will soon be activated in Enna, in the Industrial Center del Dittaino, a power plant that uses biomass to produce energy at low costs, the first plant of this type to exist in southern Italy.

Near Adrano, between 1981 and 1987, the Eurelios Solar Power Plant was built by Enel, as part of a European project, which delivered 1 Megawatt of power; the power plant then remained unused. In 2011, Enel Green Power began the dismantling of the Centrale Solare Eurelios solar thermal power plant to make room for a photovoltaic system; once the works are completed, the new plant will be able to generate 14 million kWh (the consumption needs of over 5,000 families).

In the nineties, a hydroelectric power plant was built in the Sortino area which produces energy using a drop of over 100 meters created between two purpose-built artificial lakes. This power plant, the first of its kind, was built to support the massive daytime consumption of the industries in the Priolo area. The energy balance of the power plant is decidedly negative, but it allows the accumulation of excess energy produced at night, to pump water to the upper basin and then the water is used during the day to produce energy to support the daytime consumption of the industries in the area. Entered into service in 1989, it is located in the Anapo valley, in the municipality of Priolo Gargallo. The upper reservoir (lake) also collects the waters of the upper Anapo catchment area, with a volume of 5.6 million m3. It has an efficient power of 500 MW and a pumping power of 580 MW, thanks to 4 reversible turbine/pump groups of 125 MW in production and which absorb 145 MW in pumping. The drop between the tanks is approximately 312 m.



Although the region does not have levels of industrialization comparable to those of Northern Italy, it nevertheless presents an overall more lively industrial system than the rest of Southern Italy thanks also to the presence of the largest factories in the South and numerous industrial districts, concentrated in the Gela plain, near Augusta, Siracusa, Milazzo and Enna (industrial area of Dittaino) with oil, energy, electronics and agri-food chemical transformation industries.

However, Palermo and Catania are the cities that have more than one industrial district. In particular, the city of Catania has three large industrial districts specialized in almost all sectors, from agri-food to mechanics, from electronics to chemistry. Also worth mentioning is a fourth area of excellence also near Catania, the so-called "Etna Valley", a large cutting-edge industrial area for electronic production.

In Sicily, the oil and methane deposits of Ragusa are exploited.



The sulfur mines of the free municipal consortia of Enna, Caltanissetta and Agrigento were closed, starting from the mid-20th century, due to strong competition from American sulfur extracted with the Frasch method and therefore sold at considerably lower prices; the different extraction process in Sicily had become too expensive and therefore unprofitable. Other potassium salt mines, used in various sectors of industry, were closed at the end of the 1980s in the territory of the free municipal consortium of Caltanissetta as imports from Eastern Europe became more economically convenient. In the past, the extraction of gypsum and pitch stone in the Ragusa area were also flourishing (for the extraction of hydrocarbons), but these too were marginalized during the twentieth century.

The extraction of oil on the mainland from the Ragusa wells from the Sicilian subsoil is currently important. Other wells were drilled in the nineties off the southern coast of Sicily, in the Strait of Sicily where some visible oil platforms were installed off the coast of Ragusa (Vega Platform). There are also methane gas deposits. Of note is the extraction of the famous Perlato di Sicilia, which makes Custonaci one of the most important marble basins in Italy.



The tourism industry is favored by the presence in the area of numerous archaeological sites (Morgantina, Segesta, Selinunte, Valley of the Temples and Villa del Casale) and artistic and natural beauties that arouse the interest of visitors. In addition to seaside tourism which boasts famous attractions made up of the varied coasts and smaller islands, cultural tourism is of great importance thanks to the cities of art.

Investments were made in the accommodation capacity of hotel facilities, encouraging an increase in presences on the island. Tourist arrivals in 2007 were 2,847,575 Italians and 1,766,763 foreigners. According to data from the Confartigianato Sicilia economic observatory, tourist presences reach 14.7 million [to which year do these data refer?], a value close to the historical maximum of 2014 of 14,704,926 tourist presences (+1 million on 2016 , equal to +7.3%) and the historic maximum of 4,857,542 arrivals (+449,000 compared to 2016, equal to +10.2%). Among the Italian regions, Sicily ranks 10th in terms of number of arrivals, which represent 3.9% of tourists who have traveled to Italy and 13th place in terms of number of presences, which represent 3.5% of the total number of nights spent by customers in accommodation establishments throughout the peninsula.

The metropolitan city of Messina, with approximately 5 million tourist presences per year, is the first in Sicily and among the first in Southern Italy[80]. Very popular with both Italian and foreign tourists are tourist destinations such as Taormina, the Aeolian Islands, Erice, the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria, Lampedusa, Ustica, Cefalù, Monreale, Palermo (with the seaside village of Mondello) and surrounding areas such as Isola delle Femmine and Terrasini , in the Catania area of Catania, Acireale and Caltagirone, in the Ragusa area of Ragusa and Modica, in the Enna area of Piazza Armerina, in the Trapani area of San Vito Lo Capo, Castellammare del Golfo (with the hamlet of Scopello) and in the Syracuse area of Noto and Siracusa.