Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and the seventh largest in Europe. The island is home to the highest volcano in Europe - Etna, 3323 m high. The administrative center and largest city of the island is Palermo with a population of 675,501 people. The island is dotted with numerous cultural monuments preserved from the times of the possession of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Germanic tribes, Normans, Aragonese, Spanish, the Savoy Kingdom, Austria, and at the same time provides immense natural resources, inviting to rest and adventure.
Sicily is one of the regions of island Italy with an area of about 25,711 sq. km. and with a population of about 5 million people. Located southwest of mainland Italy, the island is separated from the Apennine Peninsula by the Strait of Messina. Three seas wash the shores of the island of Sicily - Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Mediterranean. The terrain is mostly hilly and mountainous, and the coastlines are diverse - from extensive sandy beaches to picturesque rocky shores.
Over the years, the island has been ruled by various peoples, including Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs and others. The Kingdom of Sicily existed between 1130 and 1816, and in 1946 the island was annexed to the United Kingdom of Italy, giving it the special status of an autonomous region.
Sicily has a wonderful subtropical Mediterranean climate. The sun is generous throughout the year, and the beaches are crowded from the second half of April to the beginning of November. Summer temperatures range from a pleasant 22 – 23 °C in April and November to 30 – 35 °C in July and especially August. The proximity to Africa is also the reason for the tropical heat in the summer, which comes from the Sahara.
Sicilian cuisine, as well as the history of the island, carries the influences of all the peoples that have ruled the island. Today, the ancient Greek heritage is recognized in simple and natural foods, based on fish and other marine products. The combination of sweet and salty (agrodolce), which is one of the main characteristics of Sicilian cuisine, is due to the Arabs. Couscous is quite common in Palermo, Trapani and Pantelleria, along with spices such as cinnamon, saffron and sesame.
Sicily is a popular tourist destination. Apart from its numerous beaches and resorts, the island is also known for its cultural and architectural attractions. In some of the cities such as Palermo, Catania, Taormina and Syracuse, ruins of ancient Greek cities can be explored. The Valley of the Temples is especially famous. This is the archaeological area near the city of Agrigento, which includes the ruins of seven ancient Greek Doric temples from the 5th century BC. Since 1997 is part of the UNESCO list. Another UNESCO site is the Syracuse and Rock Necropolis of Pantalica complex. The Pantalika Necropolis includes over 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th century BC.