from £69 / night help Price for guests, Nights

San Giovannello – Home 302686 Farmhouse

  • 1 bedroom
  • 2 sleeps
  • 3 nights min stay

Farmhouse / 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom / sleeps 2

Key Info

  • Nearest beach 20 km
  • Swimming pool
  • Not suitable for children
  • Car essential
  • Air conditioning
  • No pets allowed
  • Private garden

Description from owner


Set amongst palms, vineyards, prickly pears and olive trees near the majestic Temple of Segesta and the SPA Terme Segestane, San Giovannello is a simple country house with the kind of peace and quiet that inspires complete and total relaxation.

Heat pump and a fireplace for winter comfort. SKY TV, 3G WIFI, Ipad-Iphone connectivity. A lot of oranges in the property.

The house has an open plan living room with kitchen, a double bedroom and a bathroom. The living room/kitchen leads directly onto a covered terrace with a barbecue, oven, and a dining table. The large swimming pool is not running in winter, but is always kept full of water, and the surrounding space is an alternative quiet corner.

Palermo airport: 65km-40miles-45mins

Trapani airport: 43km-36miles-30mins

Car rental necessary.

Calatafimi (closest town): 3 km-2miles-5 mins

Segesta: 8km-5miles-10mins

Scopello beach: 27km-16.5miles-35mins

San Vito lo Capo (sandy beach):

Set amongst palms, vineyards, prickly pears and olive trees near the majestic Temple of Segesta and the SPA Terme Segestane, San Giovannello is a simple country house with the kind of peace and quiet that inspires complete and total relaxation.

Heat pump and a fireplace for winter comfort. SKY TV, 3G WIFI, Ipad-Iphone connectivity. A lot of oranges in the property.

The house has an open plan living room with kitchen, a double bedroom and a bathroom. The living room/kitchen leads directly onto a covered terrace with a barbecue, oven, and a dining table. The large swimming pool is not running in winter, but is always kept full of water, and the surrounding space is an alternative quiet corner.

Palermo airport: 65km-40miles-45mins

Trapani airport: 43km-36miles-30mins

Car rental necessary.

Calatafimi (closest town): 3 km-2miles-5 mins

Segesta: 8km-5miles-10mins

Scopello beach: 27km-16.5miles-35mins

San Vito lo Capo (sandy beach): 74km-45 miles-1hour

Trapani (town and hydrofoils to Egadi islands): 45km-30miles-40mins

Erice: 47km-28.7miles-40mins

Marsala: 58km-35miles-1hour

Terme Segestane SPA: 14 km - 15 mins

Sicilian cooking courses available on request: Learn how to hand make bread and pasta, stuffed ravioli, how to choose fresh local ingredients, how to shop for fresh fish at Trapanis' fish market, how to use ricotta to make cannoli or "cassata siciliana".

Come cook with us! We invite you to come stay in our villa and learn to cook traditional Sicilian cuisine. We require a minimum stay of three days and three nights, but you can stay as long as you'd like. We recommend a stay of seven days and seven nights, giving you the chance to get to know the local flavor and explore the area on an excursion to Palermo, Egadi Islands, Mothia or other areas of interest (don’t worry, we’ll give you plenty of suggestions.) You’ll have time during these days to really unwind and embrace the Sicilian lifestyle, with long lingering meals, afternoon naps, and lazy fireplace looking at dusk.

Each cooking class will last roughly 3 hours (probably more like 4) and you will be the chef! We'll instruct you how to prepare everything, and let you get to know the texture, scent, feel, and quality of the ingredients we use. Of course, we only ever use our own estate-produced olive oil (100% organic, hand picked) and we're pretty sure you'll want to go home with a bottle of this smooth bright green luscious oil. Furthermore, you'll have access to however little or lot of local wine during the cooking class, and of course, to enjoy at the meal we'll all share together. After we've prepared the meal, we'll all sit down at our long farm table and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Cin cin! (cheers)

5 hands-on cooking classes (3 hours each, taught by our local resident chefs)

lodging in our villa, San Giovannello

Our own home made marmalade and jams, butter, milk, tea and coffee for your breakfast

Unlimited local organic wine

Total Price= 800 euros per person (1400 euros for a couple, based on double occupancy) including dinners and visits to local Winery Dispensa San Pietro and cheese and ricotta factory (does not include flights, visas, rental car, incidental expenses)

No culinary experience required for this cooking intensive - only an interest in learning how to make good food, and ideally, eat it!

Location description from owner

The Sicily region

This article is about the region of Italy. For other uses, see Sicily (disambiguation).



— Autonomous region of Italy —


Coat of arms

Country Italy

Capital Palermo


• President Rosario Crocetta (PD)


• Total 25,711 km2 (9,927 sq mi)

Population (30 April 2012)

• Total 5,043,480

• Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)

Demonym Sicilian


• Italian 98%

Time zone CET (UTC+1)

• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

GDP/ Nominal €84.5[2] billion (2008)

GDP per capita €16,600[3] (2008)



Topography of Sicily

Isola Bella, Taormina

Capo d'Orlando


Alcantara Canyon

Marina di Ragusa

Scala dei Turchi

The Simeto River

The hilly countryside around Caltanissetta, in central Sicily

Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. It is located in the Province of Catania.

Sicily (Italian Sicilia [si?t?i?lja]; Sicilian: Sicilia Palermitano: [s??????lj?], Greek: Σικελ?α) is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region).

Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m (10,890 ft) the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate.

The earliest archeological evidence of human dwelling on the island dates from as early as 8000 BC. At around 750 BC, Sicily became a Greek colony and for the next 600 years it was the site of the Greek-Punic and Roman-Punic wars, which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily often changed hands, and during the early Middle Ages it was ruled in turn by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Later on, the Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816, subordinated to the crowns of Aragon, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and finally the Bourbons, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. After the Expedition of the Thousand, a Giuseppe Garibaldi led revolt during the Italian Unification process, it became part of Italy in 1860 as a result of a plebiscite. After the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946, Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region.

Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture and language. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte.

Contents [hide]

1 Geography

1.1 Rivers

1.2 Climate

2 Flora and fauna

3 History

3.1 Ancient tribes

3.2 Greek and Roman period

3.3 Early Middle Ages

3.3.1 Germanic

3.3.2 Byzantine

3.4 Arab Sicily (965–1072)

3.5 Norman Sicily (1068–1194)

3.6 Kingdom of Sicily

3.7 Germanic Holy Roman Emperor

3.8 Sicilian Vespers and Aragonese Sicily

3.9 Italian Unification

4 Demographics

4.1 Major settlements

4.2 Population genetics

4.3 Ethno-linguistic minorities

5 Politics

5.1 Administrative divisions

6 Economy

6.1 Agriculture

6.2 Industry and manufacturing

6.3 Statistics

6.3.1 GDP growth

6.3.2 Economic sectors

7 Transport

7.1 Roads

7.2 Railways

7.3 Airports

7.4 Ports

7.5 The planned bridge

8 Tourism

8.1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

8.1.1 UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Sites

8.2 Archeological sites

8.3 Castles

9 Culture

9.1 Art and architecture

9.1.1 Sicilian Baroque

9.2 Music and film

9.3 Literature

9.4 Language

9.5 Science

9.6 Education

9.7 Religion

9.8 Cuisine

9.9 Sports

9.10 Popular culture

9.10.1 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

9.10.2 Cycle of Classical Plays at the Greek Theatre Syracuse

9.11 Regional symbols

10 See also

11 References

12 Further reading

13 External links


Sicily has roughly triangular shape, which earned it the name Trinacria. It is separated to the east from the Italian region of Calabria through the Strait of Messina. The distance between the island and mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina is about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide in the north, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) in the south of the Strait.[4]

The terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly, and intensively cultivated wherever it was possible. Along the northern coast, mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m (6,600 ft), Nebrodi, 1,800 m (5,900 ft), and Peloritani, 1,300 m (4,300 ft), represent an extension of mainland Appennines. The cone of Mount Etna dominates over the eastern coast. In the south-east lie lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m (3,300 ft).[5] The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta district were a leading sulfur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s.

Sicily and its small surrounding islands have some highly active volcanoes. Mount Etna, located in the east of mainland Sicily with a height of 3,320 m (10,890 ft), is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily, exhibit a volcanic complex including Stromboli. Currently active also are the three volcanoes of Vulcano, Vulcanello and Lipari, usually dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, which is part of the larger Empedocles, last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of Agrigento and the island of Pantelleria (which itself is a dormant volcano), on the underwater Phlegraean Fields of the Strait of Sicily.

The autonomous region also includes several neighboring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa.


The island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, there is the Alcantara in the province of Messina, which exits at Giardini Naxos; and the Simeto which exits into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are to the southwest with Belice and Platani.

River length in km (mi)

Salso 144 km (89 mi)

Simeto 113 km (70 mi)

Belice 107 km (66 mi)

Dittaino 105 km (65 mi)

Platani 103 km (64 mi)

Gornalunga 81 km (50 mi)

Gela (river) 74 km (46 mi)

Salso Cimarosa 72 km (45 mi)

Torto 58 km (36 mi)

Irminio 57 km (35 mi)

Dirillo 54 km (34 mi)

Verdura 53 km (33 mi)

Alcantara 52 km (32 mi)

Tellaro 45 km (28 mi)

Anapo 40 km (25 mi)


Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers. According to the Regional Agency for Waste and Water, on 10 August 1999 the weather station of Catenanuova (EN) recorded a maximum temperature of 48.5 °C (119 °F), which is the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe by the use of reliable instruments. The official European record – measured by minimum/maximum thermometers – is recognized to Athens, Greece, as communications reported a maximum of 48.0 °C (118 °F) in 1977.[6]

[edit]Flora and fauna

Zingaro Natural Reserve

Sicily is an often-quoted example of man-made deforestation, which was practiced since Roman times, when the island was made an agricultural region.[5] This gradually dampened the climate, leading to decline of rainfall and drying of rivers. This is the reason why the central and southwest provinces are practically without any forests.[7] In Northern Sicily there are three important forests, near Mount Etna, in the Nebrodi Mountains and in the Bosco della Ficuzza's Natural Reserve near Palermo. The Nebrodi Mountains Regional Park, established 4 August 1993, with its 86,000 hectares (210,000 acres) is the largest protected natural area of Sicily, here is the largest forest of Sicily, called forest Caronia, that is also the second name of Nebrodi Mountains. The Hundred Horse Chestnut (Castagno dei Cento Cavalli), located on Linguaglossa road in Sant'Alfio, on the eastern slope of Mount Etna is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world, dated between 2000 and 4000 years.[8]

Sicily has a good level of faunal biodiversity. Some of the species are Cirneco dell'Etna, Fox, Least Weasel, Pine Marten, Roe Deer, Wild Boar, Crested Porcupine, Hedgehog, Common Toad, Vipera aspis, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Hoopoe and Black-winged Stilt.[9] In some cases Sicily is a delimited point of a species range. For example, the subspecies of Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, but no further south.[10]

The Zingaro Natural Reserve is one of the best example of unspoilt coastal wilderness in Sicily.[11]


Main article: History of Sicily

[edit]Ancient tribes

The original inhabitants of Sicily were three defined groups of the Ancient peoples of Italy. The most prominent and by far the earliest of these was the Sicani, who were claimed by Thucydides to have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula (perhaps Catalonia).[12][13] Important historical evidence has been discovered in the form of cave drawings by the Sicani, dated from the end of the Pleistocene epoch, around 8000 BC.[14] The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants. The Elymians, thought to be from the Aegean Sea, were the next tribe to migrate to join the Sicanians on Sicily.[15]

Although there is no evidence of any wars between the tribes, when the Elymians settled in the north-west corner of the island, the Sicanians moved across eastwards. From mainland Italy, thought to originally have been Ligures from Liguria, came the Sicels in 1200 BC; forcing the Sicanians to move back across Sicily settling in the middle of the island.[14] Other minor Italic groups who settled in Sicily were the Ausones (Aeolian Islands, Milazzo) and the Morgetes (Morgantina). There are many studies of genetic records which show inhabitants of various parts of the Mediterranean Basin mixed with the oldest inhabitants of Sicily. Among these were Egyptian, Phoenician, and Iberian.[16] The Phoenicians also were early settlers before the Greeks.[17]

[edit]Greek and Roman period

Main articles: Magna Graecia, Ancient Rome, and Sicilia (Roman province)

Greek temple at Selinunte

About 750 BC, the Greeks began to live in Sicily (Σικελ?α – Si'keli'a), establishing many important settlements. The most important colony was Syracuse; other significant ones were Akragas, Selinunte, Gela, Himera, and Zancle. The native Sicani and Sicel peoples were absorbed by the Hellenic culture with relative ease, and the area was part of Magna Graecia along with the rest of southern Italy, which the Greeks had also colonised. Sicily was very fertile, and the introduction of olives and grape vines flourished, creating a great deal of profitable trading;[18] a significant part of Greek culture on the island was that of Greek religion and many temples were built across Sicily, such as the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.[19]

Politics on the island was intertwined with that of Greece; Syracuse became desired by the Athenians, who during the Peloponnesian War set out on the Sicilian Expedition. Syracuse gained Sparta and Corinth as allies, and as a result the Athenian expedition was defeated. The Athenian army and ships were destroyed, with most of the survivors being sold into slavery.[20]

The Roman amphitheatre at Syracuse

While Greek Syracuse controlled much of Sicily, there were a few Carthaginian colonies in the far west of the island. When the two cultures began to clash, the Greek-Punic wars erupted, the longest wars of antiquity. Greece began to make peace with the Roman Republic in 262 BC and the Romans sought to annex Sicily as their republic's first province. Rome intervened in the First Punic War, crushing Carthage so that by 242 BC Sicily had become the first Roman province outside of the Italian Peninsula.[21]

The Second Punic War, in which Archimedes was murdered, saw Carthage trying to take Sicily from the Roman Republic. They failed and this time Rome was even more unrelenting in the annihilation of the invaders; during 210 BC the Roman consul M. Valerian, told the Roman Senate that "no Carthaginian remains in Sicily".[22]

Sicily served a level of high importance for the Romans as it acted as the empire's granary. It was divided into two quaestorships, in the form of Syracuse to the east and Lilybaeum to the west.[23] Although under Augustus some attempt was made to introduce the Latin language to the island, Sicily was allowed to remain largely Greek in a cultural sense, rather than a complete cultural Romanisation.[23] When Verres became governor of Sicily, the once prosperous and contented people were put into sharp decline. In 70 BC, noted figure Cicero condemned the misgovernment of Verres in his oration In Verrem.[24]

The island was used as a base of power numerous times, being occupied by slave insurgents during the First and Second Servile Wars, and by Sextus Pompey during the Sicilian revolt. Christianity first appeared in Sicily during the years following AD 200; between this time and AD 313 when Constantine the Great finally lifted the prohibition on Christianity, a significant number of Sicilians became martyrs such as Agatha, Christina, Lucy, Euplius and many more.[25] Christianity grew rapidly in Sicily during the next two centuries. The period of history during which Sicily was a Roman province lasted for around 700 years in total.[25]

[edit]Early Middle Ages

Main articles: Byzantine Empire and Emirate of Sicily

Depiction of the Gothic War


As the Western Roman Empire was falling apart, a Germanic tribe known as the Vandals took Sicily in AD 440 under the rule of their king Geiseric. The Vandals had already invaded parts of Roman France and Spain, asserting themselves as an important power in western Europe.[26] However, they soon lost these newly acquired possessions to another East Germanic tribe in the form of the Goths.[26] The Ostrogothic conquest of Sicily (and Italy as a whole) under Theodoric the Great began in 488; although the Goths were Germanic, Theodoric sought to revive Roman culture and government and allowed freedom of religion.[27]


Historic map of Sicily by Piri Reis

In the 6th century, the Gothic War took place between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be taken under general Belisarius who was commissioned by Eastern Emperor Justinian I, this campaign being part of an ambitious project of restoring the whole Roman Empire, uniting the Eastern and the Western halves.[28] Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples, Rome, Milan and the Ostrogoth capital Ravenna falling within five years.[29] However, a new Ostrogoth king Totila, drove down the Italian peninsula, plundering and conquering Sicily in 550. Totila, in turn, was defeated and killed in the Battle of Taginae by the Byzantine general Narses in 552.[29]

In 535, Emperor Justinian I made Sicily a Byzantine province, and for the second time in Sicilian history, the Greek language became a familiar sound across the island. As the power of the Byzantine Empire waned, Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces of Caliph Uthman in 652. The Arabs failed to make any permanent gains, and returned to Syria after gathering some booty.[30]

Byzantine Emperor Constans II decided to move from the capital Constantinople to Syracuse in Sicily during 660. The following year he launched an assault from Sicily against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which then occupied most of southern Italy.[31] The rumors that the capital of the empire was to be moved to Syracuse, probably cost Constans his life as he was assassinated in 668.[31] His son Constantine IV succeeded him, a brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius being quickly suppressed by the new emperor. Contemporary accounts report that the Greek language was widely spoken on the island during this period.[32]

By 826, Euphemius the commander of the Byzantines killed his wife in Sicily and forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered that general Constantine end the marriage and cut off Euphemius' head. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine and then occupied Syracuse; he in turn was defeated and driven out to North Africa.[33]

He offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety; a Muslim army of Arabs, Berbers, Spaniards of Al-Andalus (which was then an Islamic region), Cretans and Persians was sent.[33] The conquest was a see-saw affair and met with much resistance. It took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held out for a long time, Taormina fell in 902, and all of Sicily was eventually conquered by Berbers and Arabs in 965.[33]

[edit]Arab Sicily (965–1072)

Main article: Emirate of Sicily

San Giovanni degli Eremiti, red domes showing elements of Arab architecture

The Arabs initiated land reforms which in turn, increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems. A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal, an Arab merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Al-Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo to this day, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa (Kalsa) contained the Sultan's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqal reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops.

Throughout this reign, revolts by Byzantine Sicilians continuously occurred, especially in the east, and parts of the island were re-occupied before being quashed. Agricultural items such as oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugar cane were brought to Sicily.[26] Under the Arab rule the island was aligned in three administrative regions, or "vals", roughly corresponding to the three "points" of Sicily: Val di Mazara in the west; Val Demone in the northeast; and Val di Noto in the southeast.

As dhimmis, the native Christians (Eastern Orthodox) were allowed freedom of religion, but had to pay a tax, Jizya, and had limitations placed on their occupations, dress and ability to participate in public affairs. The Emirate of Sicily began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarreling fractured the Muslim regime.[33] During this time there was also a minor Jewish presence.[34]

[edit]Norman Sicily (1068–1194)

See also: Norman conquest of southern Italy

By the 11th century, mainland southern Italian powers hired Norman mercenaries, who conquered Sicily from the Arabs under Roger I.[35] After taking Apulia and Calabria, he occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger was victorious at Misilmeri, but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which in 1072 led to Sicily coming under Norman control.[36]

Roger died in 1101. He was succeeded by his son, Roger II, who was the first King of Sicily. The elder Roger was married to Adelaide, who ruled until her son came of age in 1112.[35]

The Normans, the Hautevilles, who were descended from the Vikings, came to appreciate and admire the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. Many Normans in Sicily adopted some of the attributes of Muslim rulers in dress, language, literature, and even in the presence of palace Eunuchs and according to some accounts, a harem. Like the multi-ethnic Caliphate of Córdoba, then only just eclipsed, the court of Roger II became the most luminous center of culture in the Mediterranean, both from Europe and the Middle East. This attracted scholars, scientists, poets, artists and artisans of all kinds. In Norman Sicily, still with heavy Arab influence,[37] laws were issued in the language of the community to whom they were addressed: the governance was by the rule of law so there was justice. Muslims, Jews, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards and Normans worked together to form a society that historians have said has created some of the most extraordinary buildings the world has ever seen.[37]

[edit]Kingdom of Sicily

Main articles: Kingdom of Sicily and List of monarchs of Sicily

The Cathedral of Monreale

Palermo continued on as the capital under the Normans. Roger's son, Roger II of Sicily, having succeeded his brother Simon of Sicily as Count of Sicily, was ultimately able to raise the status of the island to a kingdom in 1130, along with his other holdings which included the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria and the Maltese Islands.[36][38] During this period the Kingdom of Sicily was prosperous and politically powerful, becoming one of the wealthiest states in all of Europe; even wealthier than the Kingdom of England.[39]

Significantly, immigrants from Northern Italy and Campania arrived during this period. Linguistically, the island became Latinised. In terms of church, it would become completely Roman Catholic; previously, under the Byzantines, it had been more Eastern Christian.[40]

[edit]Germanic Holy Roman Emperor

After a century the Norman Hauteville dynasty died out; the last direct descendant and heir of Roger, Constance, married Emperor Henry VI.[41] This eventually led to the crown of Sicily being passed on to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, who were Germans from Swabia. The last of the Hohenstaufens was one of the greatest and most cultured men of the Middle Ages, Frederick II, the only son of Constance. His mother's will had asked Pope Innocent III to undertake the guardianship of her son. The pope gladly accepted the role, as it allowed him to detach Sicily from the rest of The Holy Roman Empire, thus ending the specter of the Papal States being surrounded. Frederick was four when, at Palermo he was crowned King of Sicily in 1198. Frederick received no systematic education and was allowed to run free in the streets of Palermo. There he picked up the many languages he heard spoken there, such as Arabic and Greek, and learned some of the lore of the Jewish community. He grew familiar with different peoples, garb, customs and faiths, so that he became unusually tolerant for that period. At age twelve, he dismissed Innocent's deputy regent and took over the government; at fifteen he married Constance of Aragon, and began his reclamation of the imperial crown.

Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning the French prince Charles, count of Anjou and Provence, as the king of both Sicily and Naples.[41]

Depiction of the Sicilian Vespers

[edit]Sicilian Vespers and Aragonese Sicily

Strong opposition to French officialdom due to mistreatment and taxation saw the local peoples of Sicily rise up, leading in 1282 to an insurrection known as the War of the Sicilian Vespers, which eventually saw almost the entire French population on the island killed.[41] During the war the Sicilians turned to Peter III of Aragon, son-in-law of the last Hohenstaufen king, for support after being rejected by the Pope. Peter gained control of Sicily from the French though the French retained control of the Kingdom of Naples. A crusade was launched in August 1283 against Peter III and the Aragon Kingdom by Pope Martin IV (a pope from Île-de-France), but it failed. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Peter's son Frederick III recognised as king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII.[41] Sicily was ruled as an independent kingdom by relatives of the kings of Aragon until 1409 and then as part of the Crown of Aragon.[18] In October 1347, in Messina, Sicily, the Black Death first arrived in Europe.[42]

Sicilian Baroque in Catania

The onset of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 led to Ferdinand II decreeing the expulsion of all Jews from Sicily.[41] The island was hit by two very serious earthquakes in the east in 1542 and 1693, just a few years before the latter earthquake the island was struck by a ferocious plague.[41] The earthquake in 1693 took an estimated 60,000 lives.[43] There were revolts during the 17th century, but these were quelled with significant force especially the revolts of Palermo and Messina.[18] Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.[44][45] The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 saw Sicily assigned to the House of Savoy, however this period of rule lasted only seven years as it was exchanged for the island of Sardinia with Emperor Charles VI of the Austrian Habsburg Dynasty.[46]

While the Austrians were concerned with the War of the Polish Succession, a Bourbon prince, Charles from Spain was able to conquer Sicily and Naples.[47] At first Sicily was able to remain as an independent kingdom under personal union, while the Bourbons ruled over both from Naples. However, the advent of Napoleon's First French Empire saw Naples taken at the Battle of Campo Tenese and Bonapartist Kings of Naples were instated. Ferdinand III the Bourbon was forced to retreat to Sicily which he was still in complete control of with the help of British naval protection.[48]

Following this Sicily joined the Napoleonic Wars, after the wars were won Sicily and Naples formally merged as the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons. Major revolutionary movements occurred in 1820 and 1848 against the Bourbon government with Sicily seeking independence; the second of which, the 1848 revolution resulted in short period of independence for Sicily. Howsoever, in 1849 the Bourbons retook the control of the island and dominated it until the 1860.[49]

[edit]Italian Unification

See also: Risorgimento

The beginning of the Expedition of the Thousand, 1860.

In 1860, as part of the Risorgimento,[50] the Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi captured Sicily. The conquest started at Marsala, and native Sicilians joined him in the capture of the southern Italian peninsula. Garibaldi's march was finally completed with the Siege of Gaeta, where the final Bourbons were expelled and Garibaldi announced his dictatorship in the name of Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia.[51] Sicily became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia after a referendum where more than 75% of Sicily voted in favor of the annexation on October 21, 1860 (but not everyone was allowed to vote). As a result of the Kingdom of Italy proclamation, Sicily became part of it on March 17, 1861.

After the Italian Unification, although the strong investments made by the Kingdom of Italy in terms of modern infrastructures, the Sicilian (and the wider mezzogiorno) economy remained relatively underdeveloped and this caused an unprecedented wave of emigration.[50] In 1894, organizations of workers and peasants known as the Fasci Siciliani, protested against the bad social and economic conditions of the island but they were suppressed in few days.[52][53] The Messina earthquake of 28 December 1908 killed over 80,000 people.[54] This period was also characterised by the first contact between the Mafia, the Sicilian crime syndicate (also known as Cosa Nostra), and the Italian government. The Mafia's origins are still uncertain but it is generally accepted that it emerged in the 18th century initially in the role of private enforcers hired to protect the property of landowners and merchants from the groups of bandits (briganti) who frequently pillaged the countryside and towns. The battle against the Mafia made by the Kingdom of Italy was controversial and ambiguous; although the Carabinieri (the military police of Italy) and sometimes the Italian army were often involved in terrible fights against the mafia members, their efforts were frequently useless because of the secret cooperation between mafia and local government and also because of the weakness of Italian judicial system.[55]

American wounded soldier receiving blood plasma, 1943

In 1920, the Fascist regime began a stronger military action against the Mafia led by the prefect Cesare Mori, known as the "Iron Prefect" because of his iron-fisted campaigns. This was the first time in which an operation against the Sicilian mafia ended with considerable success.[50] There was an allied invasion of Sicily during World War II starting on 10 July 1943. In preparation of the invasion of Sicily, the Allies revitalised the Mafia to aid them. The invasion of Sicily contributed to the 25 July crisis; in general the Allied victors were warmly embraced by Sicily.[56]

The city of Palermo, 2005

Italy became a Republic in 1946 and as part of the Constitution of Italy, Sicily was one of the five regions given special status as an autonomous region.[57] Both the partial Italian land reform and special funding from the Italian government's Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South) from 1950 to 1984, helped the Sicilian economy. During this period the economic and social condition of the island was generally improved thanks to important investments on infrastructures like motorways and airports and thanks to the creation of important industrial and commercial areas.[58] In the 1980s the Mafia was deeply weakened by a second important campaign led by the magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.[59] Between 1990 and 2005 the unemployment rate fell from about 23% to 11%.[60][61]


Historical population

Year Pop. ±%

1861 2,409,000 —

1871 2,590,000 +7.5%

1881 2,933,000 +13.2%

1901 3,568,000 +21.7%

1911 3,812,000 +6.8%

1921 4,223,000 +10.8%

1931 3,906,000 −7.5%

1936 4,000,000 +2.4%

1951 4,487,000 +12.2%

1961 4,721,000 +5.2%

1971 4,681,000 −0.8%

1981 4,907,000 +4.8%

1991 4,966,000 +1.2%

2001 4,969,000 +0.1%

2010 (Est.) 5,050,000 +1.6%

Source: ISTAT 2010

Sicilians in traditional dress, 1873

Sicily received a variety of different cultures, including the original Italic people, the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Spaniards, French, and Normans, each contributing to the island's culture, particularly in the areas of cuisine and architecture. Sicilian people tend to most closely associate themselves with other southern Italians, with whom they share a common history. The island of Sicily has a population of approximately five million, and there are an additional ten million people of Sicilian descent around the world, mostly in North America, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, and other European and Latin American countries. Like the rest of southern Italy, immigration to the island is very low compared to other regions of Italy because workers tend to head to Northern Italy instead, due to better employment and industrial opportunities. The most recent ISTAT figures show around 100 thousand immigrants out of the total five million population (nearly 2 percent of the population); Romanians with more than 17 thousand make up the most immigrants, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Sri Lankans, Albanians, and others mostly from Eastern Europe.[62]

[edit]Major settlements

Mount Etna with the Metropolitan Area of Catania

In Sicily there are only two metropolitan areas, Palermo that has a Larger Urban Zone of 1,044,169 people and Catania whose LUZ is of 801,280 people.[63] Overall on the island there are fifteen cities and towns which have a population above 50,000 people, these are: Palermo (655,343), Catania (292,855), Messina (242,121), Syracuse (123,248), Marsala (82,812), Gela (77,295), Ragusa (73,756), Trapani (70,642), Vittoria (63,393),Caltanissetta (60,221), Agrigento (59,190), Bagheria (56,421), Modica (55,294), Acireale (53,205) and Mazara del Vallo (51,413).[64]







[edit]Population genetics

Y-Dna haplogroups were found at the following frequencies in Sicily: R1 (30.09%), J (29.65%), E1b1b (18.21%), I (7.62%), G (5.93%), T (5.51%), Q (2.54%).[65] R1 and I haplogroups are typical in West European populations while J and E1b1b consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe. According to two recent studies in 2008 and 2009, Greek male influence was estimated at 37% while ancient North African male influence was estimated between 6% and 7.5%.[66][67][68]

N E-V12 E-V13 E-V22 E-V65 E-M81 E-M123 G I J1 J2 T L Q R1a R1b Study

236 1.27% 5.93% 3.81% 0.42% 2.12% 4.66% 5.93% 7.62% 3.81% 25.84% 5.51% 0.42% 2.54% 5.51% 24.58% Di Gaetano et al. (2009)

[edit]Ethno-linguistic minorities

In Sicily there there are two historical ethno-linguistic minorities, the Lombards of Sicily and the Arbëreshë.

Lombard of Sicily are a linguistic minority living in northern-central Sicily speaking an isolated variety of Gallo-Italic dialects, the so-called Gallo-Italic of Sicily. The Lombards of Sicily settled the central and eastern part of Sicily about 900 years ago, coming from the Northern Italy, during the Norman conquest of Sicily. Because of linguistic differences among the Gallo-Italics dialects of Sicily, it is supposed that there were independent immigration routes. From Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia, Lombardy they began to spread south, between the 11th and 14th centuries AD. Aidone, Piazza Armerina, Nicosia, San Fratello, Novara di Sicilia are the most important communities.

Arbereshe settled in Southern Italy in the 15th to 18th centuries AD in several waves of migrations. They are the Albanian Catholics who fled to Italy after Albania was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. There are three Arbereshe communities identified within the province of Palermo, which have maintained unchanged, with different aspects together, the ethnic, linguistic and religious origins. The countries are: Contessa Entellina, Piana degli Albanesi and Santa Cristina Gela. The largest center is Piana degli Albanesi, which, besides being the hub religious and socio-cultural communities, has guarded and defended their peculiarities intact over time. There are two other communities with a strong historical and linguistic heritage.


Main article: Politics of Sicily

The politics of Sicily takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The capital of Sicily is Palermo.

Traditionally, Sicily gives centre-right results during election.[69] From 1943 to 1951 there was also a separatist political party called Sicilian Independence Movement (Movimento Indipendentista Siciliano, MIS). Its best electoral result was in the 1946 general election, when MIS obtained 0.7% of national votes (8.8% of votes in Sicily), and four seats. However, the movement lost all its seats following the 1948 general election and the 1951 regional election. Even though it has never been formally disbanded, today the movement is no longer part of the politics of Sicily. The Communists and their successors (the Democratic Party of the Left, the Democrats of the Left and the present-day Democratic Party) have never won in the region until 2012. Sicily is now governed by a center-left coalition between Democratic Party and the center-party Union of Christian and Centre Democrats. Rosario Crocetta is the current President since 2012.[70]

[edit]Administrative divisions

Provinces of Sicily

Administratively Sicily is divided into nine provinces, each with a capital city of the same name as the province. Small surrounding islands are also part of various Sicilian provinces: Aeolian Islands of Messina, isle of Ustica (Palermo), Aegadian Islands (Trapani), isle of Pantelleria (Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).

Province Area (km2) Population[71] Density (inh./km2)

Province of Agrigento 3,042 453,594 149.1

Province of Caltanissetta 2,128 271,168 127.4

Province of Catania 3,552 1,090,620 307.0

Province of Enna 2,562 172,159 67.2

Province of Messina 3,247 652,742 201.0

Province of Palermo 4,992 1,249,744 250.3

Province of Ragusa 1,614 318,980 197.6

Province of Syracuse 2,109 403,559 191.3

Province of Trapani 2,460 436,240 177.3


See also: Economy of Italy

Thanks to the regular growth of the last years, Sicily is the eighth richest region in terms of total GDP (see List of Italian regions by GDP (PPP)). A series of reforms and investments on agriculture such as the introduction of modern irrigation systems have made competitive this important industry.[72] In the 1970s there was a growth of the industrial sector through the creation of some factories.[73] In recent years the importance of service industry has grown for the opening of several shopping malls and for a modest growth of financial and telecommunication activities.[74] Tourism is an important source of wealth for the island thanks to its natural and historical heritage. Today Sicily is investing a large amount of money on structures of the hospitality industry, in order to make tourism more competitive.[75] However, Sicily continues to have a GDP per capita below Italian average and more unemployment than the rest of Italy.[76] This difference is mostly caused by the negative influence of Mafia that is still active in some areas although it is much weaker than in the past.[77]


A sample of Marsala, a DOC wine produced in the city of Marsala.

Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil due to the volcanic eruptions in the past and present. The local agriculture is also helped by the pleasant climate of the island. The main agricultural products are wheat, citrons, oranges (Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP), lemons, tomatoes (Pomodoro di Pachino IGP), olives, olive oil, artichokes, Opuntia ficus-indica (Fico d'India dell'Etna DOP), almonds, grapes, pistachios (Pistacchio di Bronte DOP) and wine. Cattle and sheep are raised. The cheese productions are particulary important thanks to the Ragusano DOP and the Pecorino Siciliano DOP. Ragusa is noted for its honey (Miele Ibleo) and chocolate (Cioccolato di Modica IGP) productions.[78][79][80][81][82]

Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy (the world's largest wine producer) after Veneto and Emilia Romagna.[83] The region is known mainly for fortified Marsala wines. In recent decades the wine industry has improved, new winemakers are experimenting with less-known native varietals, and Sicilian wines have become better known.[84] The best known local varietal is Nero d'Avola, named for a small town not far from Syracuse; the best wines made with these grapes come from Noto, a famous old city close to Avola. Other important native varietals are Nerello Mascalese used to make the Etna Rosso DOC wine, Frappato that is a component of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG wine, Moscato di Pantelleria (also known as Zibibbo) used to make different Pantelleria wines, Malvasia di Lipari used for the Malvasia di Lipari DOC wine and Catarratto mostly used to make the white wine Alcamo DOC. Furthermore, in Sicily high quality wines are also produced using non-native varietals like Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot.[85]

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

Fishing is another fundamental resource for Sicily. There are important tuna, sardine, swordfish and European anchovy fisheries. Mazzara del Vallo is the largest fishing centre in Sicily and one of the most important in Italy.[86]

[edit]Industry and manufacturing

Palermo shipyards

Extraction of petroleum near Ragusa.

Improvements in Sicily's road system have helped to promote industrial development. The region has three important industrial districts:

Catania Industrial District, where there are several food industries and one of the best european electronics industry centres called Etna Valley (in honour of the best known Silicon Valley) which contains offices and factories of international companies such as STMicroelectronics and Numonyx;[86][87]

Syracuse Petrochemical District with chemical industries, oil refineries and important power stations (as the innovative Archimede solar power plant);[88]

the latest Enna Industrial District in which there are food industries.[89]

In Palermo there are important shipyards (such as Fincantieri), mechanical factories of famous Italian companies as Ansaldo Breda, publishing and textile industries. Chemical industries are also in the Province of Messina (Milazzo) and in the Province of Caltanissetta (Gela).[90] There are petroleum, natural gas and asphalt fields in the southeast (mostly near Ragusa).[91] The Province of Trapani is one of the largest sea salt producers in Italy.[92]


[edit]GDP growth

A table showing Sicily's different GDP (nominal and per capita) growth between 2000 and 2008:[93][94]

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008

Gross Domestic Product

(Millions of Euros) 67,204 70,530 72,855 75,085 77,327 80,358 82,938 88,328

GDP (PPP) per capita

(Euro) 13,479 14,185 14,662 15,053 15,440 16,023 16,531 17,533

[edit]Economic sectors

After the table which shows Sicily's GDP growth,[93] this table shows the sectors of the Sicilian economy in 2006:

Economic activity GDP (mil. €) % sector

(region) % sector


Agriculture, farming, fishing 2,923.3 3.52% 1.84%

Industry 7,712.9 9.30% 18.30%

Constructions 4,582.1 5.52% 5.41%

Commerce, hotels and restaurants, transport, services and (tele)communications 15,159.7 18.28% 20.54%

Financial activity and real estate 17,656.1 21.29% 24.17%

Other economic activities 24,011.5 28.95% 18.97%

VAT and other forms of taxes 10,893.1 13.13% 10.76%

GDP of Sicily 82,938.6



The A20 Messina-Palermo

The Messina Tramway System

Highways have recently been built and expanded in the last four decades. The most prominent Sicilian roads are the motorway (known as autostrada) running through the northern section of the island. Much of the motorway network is elevated by columns due to the mountainous terrain of the island.[95][96][97][98] Other main roads in Sicily are the Strade Statali like the SS.113 that connects Trapani to Messina (via Palermo), the SS.114 Messina-Syracuse (via Catania) and the SS.115 Syracuse-Trapani (via Ragusa, Gela and Agrigento).

Sign Motorway Length Toll Services

A18 Messina-Catania 76 km (47 mi) Yes Yes

RA15 Catania's By Pass (West) 24 km (15 mi) free Yes

Motorway Catania-Siracusa 25 km (16 mi) free No

A18 Siracusa-Rosolini 40 km (25 mi) free No

A19 Palermo-Catania 199 km (124 mi) free Yes

A20 Palermo-Messina 181 km (112 mi) Yes Yes

A29 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo 119 km (74 mi) free No

A29dir Alcamo-Trapani/Marsala 38 km (24 mi) and 44 km (27 mi) free No


Two trains inside the Punta Raisi railway station within the Palermo International Airport.

The first railway in Sicily was opened in 1863 (Palermo-Bagheria) and today all of the Sicilian provinces are served by a network of railway services, linking to most major cities and towns; this service is operated by Trenitalia. Of the 1,378 km (856 mi) of railway tracks in use, over 60% has been electrified whilst the remaining 583 km (362 mi) are serviced by diesel engines. 88% of the lines (1.209 km) are single-track and only 169 km (105 mi) are double-track serving the two main routes, Messina-Palermo (Tyrrhenian) and Messina-Catania-Syracuse (Ionian). Of the narrow gauge railways the Ferrovia Circumetnea is the only one that still operates, going round Mount Etna. From the major cities of Sicily, there are services to Naples and Rome; this is achieved by the trains being loaded onto ferries which cross to the mainland.[99] In two of the main cities there are underground railway services; these feature in the cities of Palermo and Catania whilst Messina is served by a light rail service.


Main article: List of airports in Sicily

The international airport Catania-Fontanarossa

Mainland Sicily has several airports which serve numerous Italian and European destinations and some extra-European;

Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, located on the east-coast is the busiest on the island (and one of the busiest in all of Italy).

Palermo International Airport, which is also substantially large airport with many national and international flights.

Trapani-Birgi Airport, a military-civil joint use airport (third for traffic on the island). Recently the airport has seen an increase of traffic thanks to a low-cost carrier.

Comiso-Ragusa Airport, has recently been refurbished and re-converted from military use to civil airport but to the date (9 March) it is still closed to the general traffic.

Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport is the old airport of Palermo and is currently used for general aviation and as a base for the Guardia di Finanza and Police helicopters.

NAS Sigonella Airport, it is an Italian Air Force and U.S. Navy installation. Between the NATO Bases, Sigonella, is called "The Hub of the Med".[citation needed]

Lampedusa Airport and Pantelleria Airport are also two small airports on smaller islands which are considered part of Sicily.


The port of Catania

By sea, Sicily is served by several ferry routes and cargo ports, and in all major cities, cruise ships dock on a regular basis.

Mainland Italy: Ports connecting to the mainland are Messina (route to Villa San Giovanni and Salerno), the busiest passenger port in Italy, Palermo (routes to Genoa, Civitavecchia and Naples) and Catania (route to Naples) .

Sicily's small surrounding islands: The port of Milazzo serves the Aeolian Islands, the ports of Trapani and Marsala the Aegadian Islands and the port of Porto Empedocle the Pelagie Islands. From Palermo there is a service to the island of Ustica and to Sardinia.

International connections: From Palermo and Trapani there are weekly services to Tunisia and there is also a daily service between Malta and Pozzallo.[100][101]

Commercial/Cargo Ports: The port of Augusta is the 5th largest cargo port in Italy which handles tonnes of goods. Other major cargo ports are Palermo, Catania, Trapani, Pozzallo and Termini Imerese.

Touristic ports: Several "Touristic ports" along the Sicilian coast are in the service of private boats that need to moor on the island. The main ports for this traffic are in Marina di Ragusa, Riposto, Portorosa, Syracuse, Cefalù and Sciacca.

Fishing ports: As all islands, Sicily also has many fishing ports. The most important is in Mazara del Vallo followed by Castellamare del Golfo, Licata, Scoglitti and Portopalo di Capo Passero.

[edit]The planned bridge

Main article: Strait of Messina Bridge

Plans for a bridge linking Sicily to the mainland have been discussed since 1865. Throughout the last decade, plans were developed for a road and rail link to the mainland via what would be the world's longest suspension bridge, the Strait of Messina Bridge. Planning for the project has experienced several false starts over the past few years. On 6 March 2009, Silvio Berlusconi's government declared that the construction works for the Messina Bridge will begin on 23 December 2009, and announced a pledge of 1.3 billion EUR as a contribution to the bridge's total cost, estimated at 6.1 billion EUR.[102] The plan has been criticized by environmental associations and some local Sicilians and Calabrians, concerned with its environmental impact, economical sustainability, and even possible infiltrations by organized crime.[103][104]


Lampedusa, Pelagie Islands

Sicily's sunny, dry climate, scenery, cuisine, history, and architecture attract many tourists from mainland Italy and abroad. The tourist season peaks in the summer months, although people visit the island all year round. Mount Etna, the beaches, the archeological sites, and major cities such as Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa are the favourite tourist destinations, but the old town of Taormina and the neighbouring seaside resort of Giardini Naxos draw visitors from all over the world, as do the Aeolian Islands, Erice, Cefalù, Agrigento, the Pelagie Islands and Capo d'Orlando. The latter features some of the best-preserved temples of the ancient Greek period. Many Mediterranean cruise ships stop in Sicily, and many wine tourists also visit the island.

Some scenes of famous Hollywood and Cinecittà films were shot in Sicily. This increased the attraction of Sicily as a tourist destination.[105][106]

[edit]UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites[107]

Name and description Image

Valle dei Templi

Inserted by UNESCO in 1997. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The site is located in Agrigento.[108]

The Temple of Concordia

Villa Romana del Casale

Inserted by UNESCO in 1997. It is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina. It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world.[109]

One of the mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale

Aeolian Islands

Inscribed in 2000, they are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.[110] The largest island is Lipari. The other islands include Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo.

View from Vulcano, Lipari in the middle, Salina at the left, Panarea at the right.

Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto

Since 2002. It represents the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe".[111] It includes several towns: Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, and Scicli.

A baroque church in Modica

Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica

They were inscribed in 2005. The Necropolis of Pantalica is a large necropolis in Sicily with over 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC. Syracuse is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres and architecture. They are situated in south-eastern Sicily.

Necropolis of Pantalica

Taormina's central square at sunset

[edit]UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Sites

Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Cefalù and Monreale;[112]

Mount Etna;[113]

Taormina and Isola Bella;[114]

Motya and Libeo Island: The Phoenician-Punic Civilization in Italy;[115]

Scala dei Turchi.[116]

[edit]Archeological sites

Because many different cultures settled, dominated or invaded the island, Sicily has a huge variety of archeological sites. Also, some of the most notable and best preserved temples and other structures of the Greek world are located in Sicily.[citation needed]. Here is a short list of the major archeological sites:

Sicels/Sicans/Elymians: Segesta, Eryx, Cava Ispica, Thapsos, Pantalica.

Greeks: Syracuse, Agrigento, Selinunte, Gela, Kamarina, Himera, Megara Hyblaea, Naxos, Heraclea Minoa,

Phoenicians: Motya, Soluntum, Marsala.

Romans: Piazza Armerina, Centuripe, Taormina.

Arabs: Palermo, Mazara del Vallo.

The excavation and restoration of one of Sicily's best known archeological sites, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, was at the direction of the archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta, Fifth Duke of Serradifalco, known in archeological circles simply as "Serradifalco". He also oversaw the restoration of ancient sites at Segesta, Selinunte, Siracusa, and Taormina.


Castello Ursino in Catania

Castello di Donnafugata near Ragusa

Province Castles Commune

Caltanisetta Castello Manfredonico Mussomeli

U Cannuni Mazzarino

Castelluccio di Gela Gela

Catania Castello Ursino Catania

Castello Normanno Adrano

Castello Normanno Paternò

Castello di Aci Aci Castello

Messina Forte dei Centri Messina

Castello di Milazzo Milazzo

Castello di Sant'Alessio Siculo Sant'Alessio Siculo

Castello di Pentefur Savoca

Castello di Schisò Giardini Naxos

Palermo Zisa, Palermo Palermo

Castello di Caccamo Caccamo

Castello di Carini Carini

Castello dei Ventimiglia Castelbuono

Ragusa Castello di Donnafugata Ragusa

Torre Cabrera Pozzallo

Castello Dei Conti Modica

Syracuse Castello Maniace Syracuse

Trapani Castello di Venere Erice


Further information: List of people from Sicily

Majolica painting art of Caltagirone

Virgin Annunciate, Antonello da Messina

Sicily has long been associated with the arts; many poets, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, architects and painters have roots on the island. The history of prestige in this field can be traced back to Greek philosopher Archimedes, a Syracuse native who has gone on to become renowned as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.[117] Gorgias and Empedocles are two other highly noted early Sicilian-Greek philosophers, while the Syracusan Epicharmus is held to be the inventor of comedy.[118][119]

[edit]Art and architecture

Terracotta ceramics from the island are well known, the art of ceramics on Sicily goes back to the original ancient peoples named the Sicanians, it was then perfected during the period of Greek colonisation and is still prominent and distinct to this day.[120] Nowadays, Caltagirone is one of the most important centres in Sicily for the artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Famous painters include Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina, Renato Guttuso and Greek born Giorgio de Chirico who is commonly dubbed the "father of Surrealist art" and founder of the metaphysical art movement.[121] The most noted architects are Filippo Juvarra, one of the most important figures of the Italian Baroque and Ernesto Basile.

[edit]Sicilian Baroque

Main article: Sicilian Baroque

The Sicilian Baroque has a unique architectural identity. Noto, Caltagirone, Catania, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and particularly Acireale contain some of Italy's best examples of Baroque architecture, carved in the local red sandstone. Noto provides one of the best examples of the Baroque architecture brought to Sicily.

The Baroque style in Sicily was largely confined to buildings erected by the church, and palazzi built as private residences for the Sicilian aristocracy.[122] The earliest examples of this style in Sicily lacked individuality and were typically heavy-handed pastiches of buildings seen by Sicilian visitors to Rome, Florence, and Naples. However, even at this early stage, provincial architects had begun to incorporate certain vernacular features of Sicily's older architecture. By the middle of the 18th century, when Sicily's Baroque architecture was noticeably different from that of the mainland, it typically included at least two or three of the following features, coupled with a unique freedom of design that is more difficult to characterise in words.

[edit]Music and film

See also: Music of Sicily

Vincenzo Bellini

Teatro Massimo, Palermo

Palermo hosts the Teatro Massimo which is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in all of Europe.[123] In Catania there is another important opera house, the Teatro Massimo Bellini with 1,200 seats, which is considered one of the best European opera houses for its acoustics. Sicily's composers vary from Vincenzo Bellini, Sigismondo d'India, Giovanni Pacini and Alessandro Scarlatti, to contemporary composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino and Silvio Amato.

Many award winning and acclaimed films of Italian cinema have been filmed in Sicily, amongst the most noted of which are: Visconti's "La Terra Trema" and "Il Gattopardo", Pietro Germi's "Divorzio all'Italiana" and "Sedotta e Abbandonata".


See also: Italian Literature and Sicilian School

Luigi Pirandello

The golden age of Sicilian poetry began in the early 13th century with the Sicilian School of Giacomo da Lentini, which was highly influential on Italian literature. Some of the most noted figures among writers and poets are Luigi Pirandello (Nobel laureate, 1934), Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel laureate, 1959), Giovanni Verga (the father of the Italian Verismo), Luigi Capuana, Federico de Roberto, Leonardo Sciascia, Vitaliano Brancati, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Elio Vittorini and Andrea Camilleri. On the political side notable philosophers include: Giovanni Gentile who wrote The Doctrine of Fascism and Julius Evola.

“ To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything ”


Main article: Sicilian language

Today, in Sicily most of people speak only Italian but there are still inhabitants which are bilingual and they speak also Sicilian, a distinct Romance language which has a sizeable vocabulary, with at least 250,000 words. Some of the words are loan words from Greek, Catalan, French, Arabic, Spanish, and other languages.[124] The Sicilian language is also spoken to some extent in Calabria and Apulia; it had a significant influence on the Maltese language. Nevertheless the use of Sicilian is limited to informal contexts and in some cases is replaced by the so-called "Regional Italian of Sicily", an Italian dialect that is a kind of mix between Italian and Sicilian.

The Sicilian language was an early influence in the development of the first Italian standard, although its use remained confined to an intellectual elite. This was a literary language in Sicily created under the auspices of Frederick II and his court of notaries, or Magna Curia, which, headed by Giacomo da Lentini, also gave birth to the Sicilian School, widely inspired by troubadour literature. Its linguistic and poetic heritage was later assimilated into the Florentine by Dante Alighieri, the father of modern Italian who, in his De Vulgari Eloquentia, claims that "In effect this vernacular seems to deserve a higher praise than the others, since all the poetry written by Italians can be called Sicilian".[125] It is in this language that appeared the first sonnet, whose invention is attributed to Giacomo da Lentini himself.


A medal with a portrait of Ettore Majorana

Sicily is an important region in terms of scienific research. Catania has one of the four laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (National Institute for Nuclear Physics) in which there is a cyclotron that uses protons both for nuclear physics experiments and for particle therapy to treat cancer (proton therapy).[126][127] Noto has one of the largest radio telescopes in Italy that performs geodetic and astronomical observations.[128] There are observatories in Palermo and Catania, managed by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (National Institute for Astrophysics); in particular Catania has two observatories, one of which is situated on Mount Etna at 1800 m.[129]

Syracuse is also an exeperimental centre for the solar technologies through the creation of the project Archimede solar power plant that is the first concentrated solar power plant to use molten salt for heat transfer and storage which is integrated with a combined-cycle gas facility. All the plant is owned and operated by Enel.[130][131] The touristic town of Erice is also an important science place thanks to the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture which embraces 123 Schools from all over the world, covering all branches of Science, offering courses, seminars, workshops and annual meetings. It was founded by the physicist Antonino Zichichi in honour of another scientist of the island, Ettore Majorana known for the Majorana equation and Majorana fermions.[132] Sicily's famous scientists include also Stanislao Cannizzaro (chemist), Giovanni Battista Hodierna and Niccolò Cacciatore (astronomers).


Department of Engineering, University of Messina.

Sicily has four important universities;

The University of Catania dates back to 1434 and it is the oldest university in Sicily. Nowadays it hosts 12 faculties and over 62,000 students and it offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Catania hosts also the Scuola Superiore, an academic institution linked to the University of Catania, aimed at the excellence in education.[133]

The University of Palermo is the island's second oldest university. It was officially founded in 1806, although historical records indicate that medicine and law have been taught there since the late 15th century. The Orto botanico di Palermo (Palermo botanical gardens) is home to the university's Department of Botany and is also open to visitors.

The University of Messina, founded in 1548 by Ignatius of Loyola. It is organized in 11 Faculties.

The Kore University of Enna founded in 1995, it is the latest Sicilian university and the first university founded in Sicily after the Italian Unification.


See also: History of the Jews in Sicily

As in most Italian regions, Christian Roman Catholicism is the most diffused religious denomination in Sicily, and the church still plays an important role in most of people. Before the invasion of the Normans, Sicily was predominantly Eastern Orthodox, which few adherents still remain today. There is also a notable small minority of Eastern-rite Byzantine Catholics which has a mixed congregation of ethnic Albanians; it is operated by the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Most still attend church weekly or at least for religious festivals, and many people get married in churches. However, there was a wide presence of Jews in Sicily. There has been a Jewish presence in the insular region for at least 1,400 years and possibly for more than 2,000 years. Some scholars believe that the Sicilian Jewry are partial ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews.[citation needed] However, much of the Jewish community faded away when they were expelled from the island in 1492. Since there was also a strong Arab presence in Sicily, the Islamic faith was also significant for many centuries. Today, due to notably African and Eastern European immigration to the island, there are also several other religious minorities, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. There are also a fair number of Evangelist Church members and practitioners who reside on the island.

Three different Roman Catholic churches for architectural type in Sicily

Monreale Cathedral

Arab-Norman Noto Cathedral

Sicilian Baroque Our Lady of Tears Shrine, Syracuse

Postmodern architecture


Main articles: Sicilian cuisine and Sicilian pizza

Cannoli, a highly popular pastry associated with Sicilian cuisine

Traditional Sicilian fruit-shaped Marzipan

A Cassata siciliana

The island has a long history of producing a variety of noted cuisines and wines, to the extent that Sicily is sometimes nicknamed God's Kitchen because of this.[134] Every part of Sicily has its speciality (for example Cassata is typical of Palermo, even if available everywhere in Sicily, as is Granita, a Catania speciality). The ingredients are typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the general public[135] The savory dishes of Sicily are viewed to be healthy, using fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, artichokes, olives (including olive oil), citrus, apricots, aubergines, onions, beans, raisins commonly coupled with sea food, freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines, including tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish, sardines, and others.[136]

Perhaps the most well-known part of Sicilian cuisine is the rich sweet dishes including ice creams and pastries. Cannoli (singular: cannolo), a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta cheese, is in particular strongly associated with Sicily worldwide.[137] Biancomangiare, biscotti ennesi (cookies native to Enna), braccilatte a Sicilian version of doughnuts, buccellato, ciarduna, pignoli, bruccellati, sesame seed cookies, a sweet confection with sesame seeds and almonds (torrone in Italy) is cubbaita, frutta martorana, cassata, pignolata, granita, cuccidati (a variety of fig cookie; also known as buccellati) and cuccìa are amongst some of the most notable sweet d


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


— Comune —

Comune di Calatafimi-Segesta

Coat of arms


Location of Calatafimi-Segesta in Italy

Coordinates: 37°54′N 12°51′E

Country Italy

Region Sicily

Province Trapani (TP)

Frazioni Sasi


• Mayor Nicolò Ferrara


• Total 154 km2 (59 sq mi)

Elevation 338 m (1,109 ft)

Population (2007)

• Total 7,258

• Density 47/km2 (120/sq mi)

Demonym Calatafimesi

Time zone CET (UTC+1)

• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Postal code 91013

Dialing code 0924

Patron saint Most Holy Crucifix and Madonna of Giubino

Saint day May 1

Website Official website

Calatafimi-Segesta (Sicilian: Calatafimi-Seggesta) is a small town, more popularly known simply as Calatafimi, in the Province of Trapani, in Sicily, southern Italy.

The full name of the municipality was created in 1999 and is meant to highlight the presence within its territory of the 5th century BC Doric temple of Segesta, widely regarded as one of the most intact of its type. Adjoining the temple, on a nearby hilltop, is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater.

Contents [hide]

1 History

2 Population

3 Main sights

4 Culture

5 Economy


The town was developed during the age of the Muslim emirate of Sicily, when it was known as Qal`at(a)f?m? ( ???? ???? ), referring to the defensive castle overlooking the town, now partially restored from ruins. One hypothesis for the castle's name derives it from "Castrum Phimes" - a stronghold protecting the territory of a Roman period nobleman mentioned by Cicero, Diocles Phimes. Another hypothesis derives it from "Castle of Euphemius", possibly referring to the 5th century Byzantine patriarch by that name or, more likely, to the 9th century Euphemius of Sicily, a legendary figure who was said to have brought Muslim mercenaries to Sicily in 827 to help defend his throne, only to have them conquer the island for themselves.

Calatafimi's part of Sicily was one of the first to be occupied by the Aghlabids from Ifriqiya in their conquest of the island, and was one of the last centers of Islamic culture after the end of the Norman rule. The excavations near Segesta have revealed a 12th-century Islamic necropolis and mosque. There are also reference to an Islamic-period town called Calathamet (Qal`at al-Hammah - ???? ??????), on the border of the territories of Calatafimi and Castellammare del Golfo, possibly equating the modern Terme Segestani.

From 1336 until 1860, Calatafimi was feudal territory under Habsburg and Spanish nobles, despite three attempts to regain an independent status (1399, 1412 and 1802).

It was on a hill near Calatafimi, called Pianto Romano, that, in 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Mille first encountered the troops of the Bourbons on a battlefield (see the Battle of Calatafimi). This was the first significant battle of the Italian unification (or Risorgimento) and it was at this battle that Garibaldi was said to have uttered the famous battle cry: "Here we make Italy, or we die". A memorial, in the form of large stone obelisk containing an ossuary of the remains of those fallen in the battle, currently marks the hilltop.

In his later life, the 19th century English novelist Samuel Butler made annual trips to Calatafimi, and a street in town was named after him. Summer theater is held in the Roman amphitheater at Segesta every other year. A new archaeological museum is being created that will show findings from the Segesta archaeological excavations.


The population of Calatafimi in 1901 was recorded as 11,426. Subsequent major emigrations due to poverty and unemployment kept the number from growing and, after 1950, the population began decreasing. Prior to 1900, the main destination was Tunisia; after 1900 it was the United States and Argentina.

After World War II, Canada and Australia became destinations, as did Germany and Great Britain and the major cities of the Italian mainland. The census of 2004 showed Calatafimi with only about 7,500 permanent residents, although the physical size of the town had grown, as families occupied larger residences. Following severe damage in the 1968 Belice Valley earthquake, a new section of town, Sasi, was built on former farmlands about 3 kilometers from the old town center.

[edit]Main sights

The church of the Santissimo Crocifisso was built to house the so-called Most Holy Crucifix (see Culture) circa 1700. The co-patroness of the town is the Madonna of Giubino; a church was built in 1721 to house an allegedly miraculous marble-relief icon of the madonna, which is brought to a country chapel during the summer. (A copy of the relief is housed in the Church of St. Joseph in Brooklyn, New York, giving testimony to the large emigrant community of Calatafimesi who lived in Brooklyn in the early 20th century.)

The "mother" church of the town is San Silvestro Papa (dedicated to Pope Sylvester), restructured circa 1500.


In 1657 was held the first procession of the Most Holy Crucifix - an ebony-figured crucifix credited for miraculous healings of some of the town's elite. This town festival received additional impetus in 1728, when Calatafimi's civilian militia (the Maestranza guild of artisans) successfully defied a Habsburg edict to disarm by being declared the protectors of the town's churches. A tradition was established of holding a three-day town festival of the Santissimo Crocifisso every third year. Of late, however, the period stretched - first to every five years and now every seven or eight years. The most recent festivals were in 1997, 2004, and 1-3 May 2012.


The economy of Calatafimi is primarily agricultural, the most important crops being citrus, grapes and olives.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Calatafimi-Segesta

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Calatafimi". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

[hide] v t e

Sicily · Comuni of the Province of Trapani

Alcamo Buseto Palizzolo Calatafimi-Segesta Campobello di Mazara Castellammare del Golfo Castelvetrano Custonaci Erice Favignana Gibellina Marsala Mazara del Vallo Paceco Pantelleria Partanna Petrosino Poggioreale Salaparuta Salemi San Vito Lo Capo Santa Ninfa Trapani Valderice Vita

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Categories: Cities and towns in SicilyMunicipalities of the Province of Trapani

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Bed & bathroom

  • Bedroom 1: Double Bed
  • 1 Family bathroom


  • Wi-Fi available
  • Air conditioning
  • Private outdoor pool (unheated)
  • Mountain Views
  • Private garden
  • BBQ
  • Patio
  • Solarium or roof terrace
  • Balcony or terrace
  • Internet access
  • Fireplace
  • Safe
  • Cooker
  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Kettle
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Iron
  • TV
  • Satellite TV
  • DVD player
  • CD player
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Linen provided
  • Towels provided

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  • Parking
  • Accessible for wheelchair users — please contact the owner for details before booking


This rental can only be paid for online through Holiday Lettings using your credit/debit card or PayPal (never by bank or wire transfer).
No smoking at this property
Cancellation policy
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About the owner

Paolo M.
Response rate:
Calendar updated::
27 Oct 2016
Years listed:

Languages spoken: English, French, Spanish, Italian

This Farmhouse has 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and sleeps 2. It’s been listed on Holiday Lettings since 05 Apr 2013. Located in Province of Trapani, the average weekly rate is £432.

The property’s calendar was last updated on 27 Oct 2016.


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