Sicily – A Microcosm of the Mediterranean
Sicily is one of Italy’s most captivating regions. With its captivating landscapes and captivating historical legacies, Sicily draws millions of tourists annually.
Sicily has been conquered and dominated by multiple peoples throughout its long history. As a crossroads of the Mediterranean, it was home to numerous influential civilizations.
Sicily, located in the central Mediterranean Sea south of Italy in continental Europe, is best known for its iconic landmark: Mount Etna – Europe’s highest active volcano.
The island of Malta boasts some stunning natural sites. One such spot is Iblei Mountains National Park, which covers an expansive area with canyons, waterfalls, and tranquil pools.
The region’s history has seen an endless influx of foreign settlers and conquerors, creating a distinct culture. Today, much of this legacy still endures.
Sicily is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea and one of Italy’s 20 provinces. Its climate is typically Mediterranean, featuring dry summers and mild winters.
However, the mountains have a significant effect on the climate of the island; in some areas it can be continental or alpine. Enna, for instance – at 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level – experiences frequent fog in autumn and wintertime due to its altitude.
Sicily enjoys a pleasant climate, with sunny skies and a gentle sea breeze most of the time. From July to September, water temperatures are ideal for swimming; plus, during these months the crowds dissipate and you can take a relaxing break away from it all in Sicily.
Sicily is a melting pot of Mediterranean cultures, shaped by Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and Spanish influence. These influences have come together to form Sicily’s cultural pastiche as well as its culinary legacy.
Ancient world artifacts can be found throughout Sicily’s cities, from Syracuse’s Archaeological Museum to Palermo’s Catacombs. Additionally, architectural styles from the Greek, Byzantine, Gothic and Baroque periods can be observed across Sicily’s cities.
Sicily is an island where much of the cuisine is steeped in local tradition and flavor. Here, a wide range of fruits, vegetables, herbs are grown locally as well as legumes and mushrooms.
Additionally, traditional meat dishes are a highlight of the cuisine here. Veal, pig, lamb, beef and rabbit are all common choices.
Sicilian cannoli are the ultimate sweet treat, featuring a flaky pastry shell filled with ricotta cheese and sprinkled with pistachio crumble. This delectable treat has historical and religious significance for the island of Sicily, being sold throughout its region.
Sicily is home to several indigenous grape varieties that are widely planted, producing both aromatic white wines and deep-hued red wines. Popular examples include Nero d’Avola, Inzolia and Catarratto.
Sicilian grapes are enjoying increased recognition as winemakers transform their practices and employ more cutting-edge methods. This bodes well for the region’s viticulture and wine tourism industries.
Nero d’Avola is the most sought-after red grape variety on the island of Sicily, accounting for 33% of all vineyards and producing dark, robust wines that often combine with international reds like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Other popular grape varieties include Inzolia and Frappato which produce lighter-colored wines with low tannins.
Sicily has a rich and ancient heritage dating back to ancient Greece. Archimedes, one of antiquity’s greatest minds, was born here.
After Hannibal’s defeat in 201 BC, Sicily became part of Rome. Under Roman rule, Sicily enjoyed peace and stability as a peaceful island.
Civil unrest returned with the arrival of the Normans in 1061. These men from the north, descended from Scandinavian, Germanic, Roman and Celtic ancestry, took control over Sicily for the first time since Rome’s conquest.