Sicily

It is the biggest island in the Mediterranean, separated from the Italian peninsula by the strait of Messina. It has important mountain groups: Peloritani, Nebrodi, Madonie, Iblei. The plains are scanty, with the exception of the area around Catania. The coasts offer a landscape of fascinating beauty almost everywhere; groups of marvelous smaller islands are scattered round the coast (the Eolie or Lipari, Ustica, the Egadi. the isle of Pantelleria and the Pelagie). The Etna, rising in the center of a volcanic area of Sicily, is the highest active volcano in Europe (3,323 meters). The isles of Stromboli and Vulcano are also active volcanoes.


Cities: Palermo is the regional capital of Sicily, which is ruled by a special statue. Other important cities are Messina, Catania, Agrigento, Syracuse, Trapani, Ragusa, Enna, Caltanissetta.


Art:  Sicily was a Greek colony during the Classic Age, the Hellenic heritage is remarkable (Syracuse, Gela, Agrigento, Selinunte and Eraclea). Important Roman remnants can be seen at Taormina, Syracuse, Tindari, Solunto, Eloro and Patti. The next artistic development took place during the Norman period, which left churches and palaces of Arab-Byzantine influence. The Gothic style can be seen in the imperial castles of Catania and Syracuse; the Catalonian influences produced elaborated architectural forms during the fifteenth century. The Baroque style, of exceptional wealth, thrived in Palermo, Catania, Ragusa, Noto and Comiso.


Museums:  In Palermo the Archaeologic Museum, which displays a noteworthy Etruscan collection, sculptures and metopes of the temples of Selinunte; the Regional Gallery of Sicily, with the most important artistic collection of the island. The Civic Museum of Catania houses archaeology, ancient and modern art, relics of local history. In Syracuse, tourists can visit the Regional Museum and the Regional Gallery, with very rich archaeological and pictorial collections. In Agrigento, there is the Regional Archaeological Museum.


To Be Visited:  Taormina, the Etna and the majestic monuments in the Valle dei Templi of Agrigento, the Eolian Islands.