Beautiful Africa

Sicily

Sicily (Italian Sicilia [si?t?i?lja]; Sicilian: Sicilia Palermitano: [slj?], Greek: ?) is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region). Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m (10,890 ft) the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. The earliest archeological evidence of human dwelling on the island dates from as early as 8000 BC. At around 750 BC, Sicily became a Greek colony and for the next 600 years it was the site of the Greek-Punic and Roman-Punic wars, which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily often changed hands, and during the early Middle Ages it was ruled in turn by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Later on, the Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816, subordinated to the crowns of Aragon, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and finally the Bourbons, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. After the Expedition of the Thousand, a Giuseppe Garibaldi led revolt during the Italian Unification process, it became part of Italy in 1860 as a result of a plebiscite. After the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946, Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region. Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture and language. Sicily also holds importance for archeo ogical and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has roughly triangular shape, which earned it the name Trinacria. It is separated to the east from the Italian region of Calabria through the Strait of Messina. The distance between the island and mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina is about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide in the north, and about 16 km (9.9 mi) in the south of the Strait.[4] The terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly, and intensively cultivated wherever it was possible. Along the northern coast, mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m (6,600 ft), Nebrodi, 1,800 m (5,900 ft), and Peloritani, 1,300 m (4,300 ft), represent an extension of mainland Appennines. The cone of Mount Etna dominates over the eastern coast. In the south-east lie lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m (3,300 ft).[5] The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta district were a leading sulfur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its small surrounding islands have some highly active volcanoes. Mount Etna, located in the east of mainland Sicily with a height of 3,320 m (10,890 ft), is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily, exhibit a volcanic complex including Stromboli. Currently active also are the three volcanoes of Vulcano, Vulcanello and Lipari, usually dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, which is part of the larger Empedocles, last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of Agrigento and the island of Pantelleria (which itself is a dormant volcano), on the underwater Phlegraean Fields of the Strait of Sicily.