Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. miles) and five million inhabitants.
Sicily is directly adjacent to the region of Calabria via the Strait of Messina to the east.
The volcano Etna, situated close to Catania, is 3,320 m (10,900 ft) high, making it the tallest volcano in Europe.
It is also one of the world's most active volcanoes.
Sicily has been noted for two millennia as a grain-producing territory. Oranges, olives, and wine are among its other agricultural products. The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta district became a leading sulfur-producing area in the 19th century but have declined since the 1950s.
The original inhabitants of Sicily, long absorbed into the population, were tribes known to Greek writers as the Elymians, the Sicani and the Siculi or Sicels.
Sicily was colonized by Phoenicians, Punic settlers from Carthage, and by Greeks, starting in the 8th Century BCE.
In 1866, Palermo revolted against Italy.
The city was soon bombed by the Italian navy, which disembarked on September 22 under the command of Raffaele Cadorna.
Italian soldiers summarily executed the civilian insurgents, and took possession once again of the island.
A long extensive guerrilla campaign against the unionists (1861-1871) took place throughout southern Italy, and in Sicily, inducing the Italian governments to a ferocious military repression.
Ruled under martial law for many years Sicily (and southern Italy) was ravaged by the Italian army that summarily executed hundreds of thousands of people, made tens of thousands prisoners, destroyed villages, and deported people.
The Sicilian economy collapsed, leading to an unprecedented wave of emigration.
In 1894 labour agitation through the radical Fasci Siciliani led again to the imposition of martial law.
The organised crime networks commonly known as the mafia extended their influence in the late 19th century (and many of its operatives also emigrated to other countries, particularly the United States); partly suppressed under the Fascist regime beginning in the 1920s, they recovered following the massive World War II Allied invasion of Sicily on the night of July 10, 1943 when an allied armada of 2,590 vessels freed the then-Nazi Sicily.
An autonomous region from 1946, Sicily benefited to some extent from the partial Italian land reform of 1950-1962 and special funding from the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, the Italian government's indemnification Fund for the South (1950-1984).
Sicily returned to the headlines in 1992, however, when the assassination of two anti-mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino triggered a general upheaval in Italian political life.
For a more information about Sicily see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicily) February 2007.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in February 2007. E. & O.E.
I visited Sicily in 1978, travelling widely throughout Sicily with with my daughter, Sarolta and I will scan and upload some of my photos soon as possible.
In 2006 Hui Chin and I visited Sicily again and we had a few days in Palermo, Messina and some other places on the island.
We did enjoyed our stay.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
Thanks for coming, I hope you
have enjoyed it, will recommend
it to your friends, and will come
back later to see my site developing