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Sicilia "Sicily"

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About the Region


The largest of the Mediterranean Islands in the shape of a triangle, Sicilia has a long and intriguing history filled with king, wars and natural destruction. All of which helped shape the island into an intricate part of the Italian culture. It is often said, "Sicilia is the soul of the Italian culture". Its economic distress in the recent past has given Sicilia a bad reputation in terms of tourism and industrial advancement. Many tourists and business have shunned away from this one time most powerful region in the Mediterranean. Finally after suffering for so long Sicilia has begun to step out of the shadows of its poverty umbrella and into the light of its prosperous future.

Greek temple, Agrigento

The Island has always been a strategic location for generals and rulers. It is a bridge from the continent of Africa to the continent of Europe. Every great leader in history has relied on Sicilia to control the Mediterranean. As a result it has changed hands on a regular basis, from ruler to ruler and nation to nation, each one adding to the culture and spirit of the mysterious island. Starting with the Greeks in the 8th century who discovered the island and called it Trinacria, meaning "three points". They later divided the island into two parts, one for original inhabitants called Sicani and one part for immigrates called Siculi.

Cattedrale di Palermo

Sicilia was quiet for centuries while its new inhabitants got settled in. Then in 246 B.C. the Romans began their assault on the Island, as they fought the Carthaginians in the Punic wars until 146 B.C. The Romans ruled until the Byzantines conquered them in 535. Then the Arab nation under the Aghlabid dynasty ruled from the capital of Tunisia in the 9th century. The Normans moved in around the 11th century and Roger II, the great Norman Count established the city of Palermo as the Capital. Fredrick II followed and untied the two regions on the island to form the kingdom of Sicily. His kingdom reached all the way to the city of Rome including the entire southern peninsula. In 1282 a revolt broke up the dynasty. Alfonso V Magnanimous, an Argon ruler, reunited the kingdom of Sicily with the Kingdom of Napoli and took the title of King of the two Sicilies in 1442. The rule of the Island then passed to the Bourbons of Napoli by way of a marriage until 1860, when Garibaldi freed the nation (it was under the Bourbons when Sicilia underwent its toughest period. Forests and agricultural land were destroyed in masses). Even in recent history the Germans during WW II invaded the occupied the island in order to maintain Mediterranean supremacy until the American landings in 1943.

Today Sicily is experiencing and economic resurgence. Oil has been discovered along the eastern coast and the building industry is growing. A large part of the island is still very poor, underdeveloped and has poor agricultural soil. Many of its inhabitants end up emigrating. The fishing industry remains the staple of many of the coastal communities.

The beautiful beaches and warm climate are now turning small coastal towns into lavish vacation spots with expensive hotel and rich tourists, almost rivaling the already popular Amalfi coast.

The larger cities like Palermo, Messina, Siracusa, Agrigento, Taormina, and Catania have become large cultural "melting pots", with immigrants coming from Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia added together with the already large Greek influence, Sicilia has a feeling all its own (to go long with a dialect that has progressed from a mixture of so many tongues it has become a language all of its own).

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