Sicily’s official name is Regione Autonoma Siciliana. In English, this is translated as Sicilian Autonomous Region. This region covers an area of approximately 25,708 kilometers and has a population of about 5 million inhabitants, making it the fourth most populated region in Italy. The Capital of Sicily and its region is Palermo. Sicily is situated in the central Mediterranean Sea, to the south of the Italian Peninsula, and separated by the narrow Strait of Messina. Sicily has the unique shape of a triangle and therefore gained the name Trinacria. The terrain of inland Sicily is filled with hills and very much cultivated. Minor islands around it, which includes Pantelleria, the Aeolian Islands, the Aegadian Islands and Lampedusa, are also a part of Sicily. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers. On any given average day, temperatures in Sicily may rise up to 44 °C or 111 °F. The picturesque scenery, architecture, music, literature, cuisine, and history welcome numerous tourists from Italy and from all over the world. The beaches, the archeological sites, and major cities such as Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa are some of the favorite tourist destinations in the region. The old town of Taormina and the neighboring seaside resort of Giardini Naxos also welcomes tourists from all over. The tourist season is usually high in the summer months, however, people visit the island all year round. One of the best places in Italy to be is Sicily, a good place for a relaxing vacation stay.
Sicily is a destination with many beautiful places in sight and lots of things to do. Its most considerable landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. It is currently 3,329 m. or 10,922 feet high. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and therefore, the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is about two and a half times the height of the second largest, Mount Vesuvius. Volcanic activity first took place at Etna about 500,000 years ago and made many eruptions which took place beneath the sea, off the ancient coastline of Sicily. Mount Etna is best known as a cultural symbol and icon in Sicily.
When thinking of the most exquisite, delicious cuisines and wines, think of Sicily. Sicily has been greatly considered to be “God’s Kitchen”, because of its widely recognized wines and dishes. The tasty dishes of Sicily are very healthy, made with fresh vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, artichokes, olives, olive oil, onions, citrus, apricots, beans, raisins and so much more. It is commonly eaten with seafood, which is freshly caught from the surrounding coastlines. Mazzara del Vallo is the largest fishing center in Sicily and is one of the most common in Italy. These seafood include sardines, tuna, swordfish, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish and so many others. Some of Sicily’s best sweet dishes include ice creams and pastries. But the most famous of all is cannolo, a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet filling usually containing ricotta cheese. In Italy, they are usually named as cannoli siciliani, translated to Sicilian cannoli. Cannolo (plural cannoli) is found south of Palermo, Sicily in Piana degli Albanesi. Pasta is a very big part in Sicilian meals, as well as rice. One typical example is arancini. Arancini are stuffed rice balls and are coated with bread crumbs, to be deep fried and usually filled with ragu meat and tomato sauce, mozzarella and peas.
While using some other cheeses, Sicily has also been the producer of its own, using both cow’s and sheep’s milk, such as pecorino and caciocavallo. Pecorino is viewed as being one of the best cheeses in the entire world. Caciocavallo is a type of stretched curd cheese and literally means “horse cheese”. In addition, spices used in Sicily include saffron, nutmeg, clove, pepper, and cinnamon. These were introduced by the Arabs. Parsley is also widely used in many local dishes. Sicilian dishes are commonly associated with sea food as well as meat dishes such as turkey, goose, lamb, goat and rabbit. With respect to wines, Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy and is the world’s largest wine producer after Veneto and Emilia Romagna. The Sicilian region is known for Marsala wines. The best known local wine is Nero d’Avola, known as Black of Avola is the most prominent red wine grape in Sicily. It is one of Italy’s most important indigenous wines and was named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavors.
There are many castles in Sicily. Some of these include Castello Ursino, Castello di Aci, Castello di Carini, Castello dei Ventimiglia and Castello di Caccamo. The Castello di Caccamo, translated as Caccamo Castle is a castle in Caccamo, Sicily and is one of the largest and well-kept Norman castles in Sicily. It is also one of the largest in Italy. The castle is built on a steep cliff and is 521 meters above sea level. It overlooks the surrounding countryside, including the San Leonardo River Valley, and the Rosmarina artificial lake. Today, the castle is open to the public and has a restaurant called A Castellana located on the ground level of the castle. Other areas in the castle are also used for conferences and meetings. Castello Ursino also called Castello Svevo di Catania is a castle in Catania, Sicily in southern Italy. It was built in the 13th century as a royal castle of the Kingdom of Sicily. Currently, this castle is open to the public in the form of a museum. The museum hosts artifacts and artwork from the castle as well as the greater geographical area. These items date from the Classical era onward, representing the various influences from the history of Sicily.
The most popular sport in Sicily is football, established in the 19th century from the English. The three most successful Italian football clubs are Palermo, Messina and Catania. Palermo being the only football club in Sicily which played on the European stage in the UEFA Cup. The most widely recognized footballer is Salvatore Schillaci, with other notable football players such as Roberto Galia, Giuseppe Furino, Pietro Anastasi, Francesco Coco and Christian Rigano.
Palermo houses the Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house located on the Piazza Verdi in Palermo and the third largest in all of Europe. In Catania there is another widely known opera house, the Teatro Massimo Bellini which is considered one of the best European opera houses because of its acoustics. Composers from Sicily include Vincenzo Bellini, Sigismondo d’India, Giovanni Pacini and Alessandro Scarlatti. Some contemporary composers include Salvatore Sciarrino and Silvio Amato. Poetry in Sicily started in the early 13th century with the Sicilian School of Giacomo da Lentini. which sparked diverse influences in Italian literature. Some of the most successful writers and poets from Sicily are Mario Rapisardi, Leonardo Sciascia, Luigi Pirandello (Nobel laureate, 1934), Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel laureate, 1959), Giovanni Verga (the father of the Italian Verismo), Domenico Tempio, Giovanni Meli, Luigi Capuana, Federico de Roberto, and Vitaliano Brancati and so on.
There are feast days which featured colorful processions through the streets with marching bands and displays of fireworks. Religious festivals also include the presepe vivente known as the living nativity scene, held normally at Christmas time. With both religion and folk traditions, it is a constructed mock 19th century Sicilian village, complete with a nativity scene. People of all ages usually dress in the costumes of the period, some impersonating the Holy Family, and others working as artisans of their particular assigned trade. It is normally concluded on Epiphany, often highlighted by the arrival of the magi on horseback. In addition, several stories continue from generation to generation about a character named Giufà. Anecdotes from this character’s life preserve Sicilian culture and Italian lifestyle. The people of Sicily favor outdoor festivals, held in the local square or piazza where live music and dancing are performed on stage. Food fairs or sagre are set up in booths throughout the square. These provide several local meals, as well as typical Sicilian food. Normally these events are brought down with fireworks. An Artichoke Festival is held yearly in Ramacca in April. The most important traditional event in Sicily is the carnival. Such thrilling carnivals are in Paterno, Acireale, Regalbuto, Sciacca, Termini Imerese and Misterbianco.
Apart from all these, Sicily has many more notable and breathtaking views, as well as savory meals to look forward to. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Visit Sicily soon and be a part of the exciting wonders of Sicily. Many captivating sites await you and your family, friends and loved ones. Contact the staff at Bellarome travel agency! They are equipped with a vast amount of knowledge on Sicily tours and destinations. Trust them to carefully organize all travel arrangements in Sicily. If you have a specific area of interest for a particular tour, the staff can arrange that. Invest in a trip in Sicily today and make it happen. Do not miss the chance of getting to know and see some well visited places in Sicily. Request a free online quote to how much the trip will cost and for more information, contact the staff at the USA or UK office.
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