Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, lying just off the southern coast of Italy. Along with a few minor islands close by, it is officially referred to as “Regione Siciliana” or the Sicily region. Separated from Italy by the narrow Strait of Messina, this is a major tourist and cultural area. The island’s most prominent landmark is Mount Etna. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe. Additionally, it is one of the most active volcanos in the world.
The earliest evidence of humans living on the island dates back to 12,000 BC. However, there is additional evidence that, around 750 BC, Sicily was home to a dozen Greek colonies. Subsequently, over the next 600 years the Sicilian Wars raged and continuous conflict aflicted the area.
Sicily gained special status as a region on 15th May 1946. This special status began eighteen days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Despite this award, much of the special status is still not in force. Recent governments have continuously deferred the laws, therefore, they still require approval by the Italian State.
A very rich and unique culture
Sicily has a very rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the literature, cuisine, arts, music, and architecture.
It is home to some important archaeological sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples, Erice and Selinunte.
Weather and Climate
Sicily has typically Mediterranean climate enjoying mild, wet winters followed by hot, dry summers. The weather is very changeable in spring and autumn. Along the coasts, particularly the southwestern area, the warm African currents affect the climate. Summers can be scorching hot with a strong hot wind called the Sirocco, coming from the Sahara Desert.
A maximum temperature of 48.5°C. has once been recorded on the island. This comes very close to the maximum recorded temperature in Europe.
Although regarded as an island with mild, pleasant winters, Sicilian winters can occasionally, be rather harsh. Snow falls in abundance above 1,000 metres, and strong cold winds can blow this snow to the islands coastal towns.