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10 undisputed facts about Sicily for first time visitors

Facts about Sicily that you probably did not know

  1. Sicily is both the biggest island and the biggest region in Italy.

  2. It has the shape of a triangle.

  3. Another name to call Sicily is Trinacria, which is the Greek name and it means three promontories, infact its symbol is a face with three legs, also referring to the three corners of the triangle. This image is also present in the Official Sicilian flag, which has a red & yellow background.

  4. Sicilian food is extraordinary offering a huge variety of traditional dish from fish to meat to pasta of course. Sicilian patisserie is also the most remarkable in the whole of Italy. If you love food and sweets in particular, this is the place to be!

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

    So wrote Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, the most important German author of all times, after visiting the island in 1787.

    History and population

  5. Sicily was also called the “Magna Grecia” in classical times, which means Greater Greece, as it was part of it. For this reason after more than 2000 years it is still possible to visit Greek Sicilian temples sites. (See the pic below with the Greek Temple of Segesta, Tp at sunset).

  6. For its central position in the Mediterranean Sea over the centuries it was desired and conquered by many diverse populations: Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, Normans and Arabs, French and Spaniards.

  7. For this diversity Sicilian people are a mix of genes, shades and colors, although the general stereotype identify as Mediterranean meaning pretty dark both in complexion, hair and eyes color. That is not always the case!

    Sicilian Language and political autonomy

  8. Sicilian is NOT a dialect, it is a proper language that derived from the neo-Latin language family. It has some structures and words similar to Spanish, and others similar to Italian.

    We speak Sicilian at home, or we blend it in with very colorful expressions into standard Italian, but the official language of Sicily is and still remains Italian. (It is not the case of Irish Gaelic nor Catalan in Catalonia).

  9. Sicily, although politically belongs to the Italian Republic, is an autonomous region and Palermo is its capital. It has its own Regional parliament that takes care of health, transports, culture, while other matters are national, like security, welfare, education, for example.

  10.  Sicily has 9 provinces with Palermo and Catania being the largest cities respectively on the western side and on the eastern side. The other seven province are: Trapani, Agrigento, Messina, Enna, Caltanissetta, Siracusa e Ragusa.


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