Sicilia

SicilaSicilia is an autonomous region of Italy. Of all the regions of Italy, Sicily covers the largest area and currently has five million inhabitants. It is also the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, though several much smaller islands surrounding it are also considered part of Sicilia.

Throughout much of its history, Sicilia has been considered a crucial strategic location due in large part to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. The area was highly regarded as part of Magna Graecia, with Cicero describing Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece.

Although a region of Italy today, Sicilia was once its own country as the Kingdom of Sicilia, ruled from Palermo. The kingdom originally ruled over the island, the southern Italian peninsula and Malta before the Sicilian Vespers. It later became a part of the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons, with the capital in Naples rather than Sicilia. Since that time the Italian unification has taken place and Sicilia is now a fully fledged part of Italy.

Sicilia is considered to be highly rich in its own unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, cuisine, architecture and even language. The Sicilian economy is largely based on agriculture (mainly orange and lemon orchards); this same rural countryside has attracted significant tourism in the modern age as its natural beauty is highly regarded. Sicilia also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica and the Valley of the Temples.