Discover Sicilia – Sicily: history, culture and gastronomy

Sicily is the seventh largest island in Europe. It is the main Italian island and the major in the Mediterranean sea for its occupying 27.708 km2, equal  to 8,5% of the whole Italian area. Its population exceeds five millions inhabitants and the density is 195 inhabitants per km2.


From a political point of view, Sicily is an autonomous region, which includes a variety of minor islands: the Aeolian Islands Archipelago on the northeast, Egadi Islands on the west, Pelagie Islands on the southeast and the Ustica Island, not far from the Aeolian ones. On the east side there is the Calabria region, just three kilometres far from Messina, and on the southwest side there is Tunis, 140 kilometres far from the southern area of the island.

The administrative division in three parts (Val di Noto, Valle di Mazara and Val Demone) made by the Arabs was replaced in 1817 by an organization in seven provinces. Since 1929 the provinces become nine, among which eight costal and one without any access to the sea.

Province of Palermo
Province of Trapani
Province of Agrigento
Province of Syracuse
Province of Catania
Province of Messina
Province of Ragusa
Province of Enna
Province of Caltanissetta

The Greeks named it Trinacria (literally, the three promontories) for its distinctive shape of isosceles triangle. Its coasts are on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north side, on the Ionian Sea on the East side and on the Mediterranean Sea on the remaining sides.

The reliefs of the Island are a series of mountain ranges, among which the most important are Peloritani, Nebrodi and Madonie Mountains, which should correspond to the continuation of Apennines Mountains. In the east side there is the Mount Etna (3323 meters high), the highest mount in Sicily and the highest active volcano in Europe. Further south, in the provinces of Syracuse and Ragusa, there are the Iblei Mountains. In the Aeolian Islands Archipelago there are the Stromboli and Volcano volcanoes, huge volcanic cones partially submerged.