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Curiosities about Sicily

Vicino Trapani, Sicily
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Curiosities about Sicily

Sicily is one of the great Italian islands. Located in the south of Italy, it is a region full of charm. With an impressive history due to the different people who have passed through there, Sicily is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy; it offers us beaches, mountains, architecture, nature, and unique details! From now on, let’s get to know some curiosities about Sicily! Let’s go? Stay with us and make the most of boot country! Here at Traveling to Italy you can make the trip of your dreams come true!! Also check out our Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your Vacations Section!

Visit Sicily with a drone!

(source: Drone Snap)

The Origin of the Name Sicily

The toponym of the largest Italian island derives from the Greek Sikelia, which comes from the Indo-European people Siculos. In Greek Sikeloi (variation of Sikelos). There is also a study that says that Sicily derives from sica italica, which is a “sickle”, so it means “land of the cutters”. Read also: the ten most beautiful places in Sicily!

A Little History of Sicily

In the year 3000 B.C., Sicily already had inhabitants of various ethnicities, such as Siculos, the Sicans and the Elmi. The first were the ones who gave this island its name. Then, in the 8th century B.C., the island was a territory predominantly frequented by the Greeks, and at that same time the Greeks founded cities such as Syracuse and conquered the island. In Roman times, in the first Punic War, the Romans managed to take over everything and dominate Sicily, except for Syracuse, which held on until the Second Punic War.  After that, Sicily became another Roman province.

Later…

Later the Vandals expelled the Romans from the region and in the 5th century they were expelled by the Ostrogoths. At the same time, the Byzantines and the Muslims arrived, around the 7th and 9th centuries. After all this, in the 11th century, the Normans conquered the island and expelled the Byzantines and Muslims. In the 12th century, Sicily was annexed to Italy and the region became known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Already in the thirteenth century, new periods of tension arrived in this area and the kingdom of the two Sicilies was divided by the imposition of the crown of Aragon, which took control of the island and left the mainland as the Kingdom of Naples. In the fifteenth century, the two Sicilies were reunited after the conquest of the kingdom of Naples by Alfonso V the Magnificent of Aragon. And then, putting a definitive end to unification, the Island became ‘free’. In the mid-20th century, the island gained autonomy within the Italian republic, especially Enna, Catania and Caltanissetta, as well as Caltagirone or Syracuse. Today, the invasions are made by tourists!

The Flag of Sicily

Sicily, referred to by the Greeks as Trinácria due to its triangular shape, embodies rich symbolism in its adopted Trinacria emblem. The name originates from treis (three) akras (points) in Greek triskelion. At its core, the symbol features Medusa, a gorgon from Greek mythology, whose serpentine hair petrifies onlookers. Symbolically, Medusa represents wisdom. The wings signify the relentless march of time, while the ears of wheat denote fertility, highlighting Sicily’s historical role as Rome’s “granary.” The triskele’s three legs precisely correspond to the island’s three geographical points. Sicily’s Parliament integrated the Trinacria into the regional flag in February 2000, positioning it between the vibrant red and gold hues, encapsulating the island’s profound historical and agricultural significance.

Quick and basic facts about Sicily:

Capital: Palermo (the most inhabited); Inhabitants: 5,029,675; The region has 6 provinces and 390 cities; it is 25,711 km² in size; maximum altitude of 3,340 above sea level and is located in the town of Pizzo Carbonara; typical dish: Arancini (risotto dumpling) and Cannoli (sweet with fried dough and stuffed with ricotta); Typical drinks: Limoncello, sweet liqueur of Sicilian lemon and Marsala, sweet wine and DOC. Also read about Sicilian Wine Gastronomy!

The Vase Heads – Le teste di Moro and his legend: have you heard of it?

Source: Flick

In Sicily, it is common to see head-shaped vases on the balconies of houses. There is a legend that says that during the Moorish rule in Sicily, there was a young woman who lived in the Kalsa neighborhood of Palermo and who took care of the plants on her balcony every day. One day, a young Moor passed by the porch, saw her tending to the flowers, and fell in love with her.

A few days later, it came out and they began to live a romance. After a few months, she found out that he was coming home and that he was married and had children. In revenge, she waited for nightfall and beheaded him. Not knowing what to do with her head, she turned it into a vase. In the pot, she planted spices that grew vigorously. The population thought it was beautiful and began to make clay and ceramic vases in the shape of a Moor’s head.

Another version….

Another version of this legend says that the king of Sicily discovered a betrayal by his wife and decided to behead her and her lover, leaving their heads exposed to the people so that they could see what the punishment for betrayal was. Today, the vases are colorful, decorated, and beautiful. Find out here what to do in Sicily in a short time.

The Sicilian Volcanoes

Italy has more than 10 volcanoes, and all are active and monitored 24/7! The ‘group’ of some volcanoes is in the Isole Eolie archipelago (Aeolian Islands). The main volcano of this group of islands is on the island of the same name, Stromboli

Stromboli

Stromboli, with its area of 12.6 km² and 940 meters high, is in the north of Sicily. This is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, where fire and water meet in a great spectacle of lights and colors. The volcano occupies almost the entire area of the island of the same name and has been in constant activity

Vulcano

Another volcano that is also named after the island is Vulcano. In fact the island has three volcanoes: one completely inactive, which forms a vast plateau made up of lava and called Monte Aria (500 m), another, the “Vulcanello”, which is 123 m, and the last one, active, formed after the extinction of the first, with very acidic lava, which generated the mountain called Fossa de Vulcano,  which is 386 meters long. Volcanic activity is infrequent, with only smoke emitting. The Gran Cratere de Vulcano is approximately 90,000 years old and is still an active volcano. The last devastating eruption happened more than a century ago and lasted two years: it was between August 1888 and March 1890,a and almost all the inhabitants were forced to leave the island. The smell of the volcano is sulphur and can bother the most sensitive noses.

Etna

And last but not least, the king of volcanoes: Etna. With its imposing 3,350 meters high, it has an extension of 1190 km² and is the highest in Europe. Although it is still active, its eruptions are small and do not cause major damage. The origin of its name is Greek and means ‘one who burns violently’. How about from Catania, Mount Etna Morning Tour? Click here to learn more!

The Earthquakes in Sicily

Sicily is one of the regions that has the most earthquakes, and several of them have destructive intensities. The earliest known date was in 91 BC, and it destroyed Reggio Calabria, Messina, and Tindari, reaching an intensity of 5.6 on the Richter scale. The most intense, with a measurement of 7.4, was in 1693 and completely brought to the ground the cities of Augusta and Occhiolà; and the most recent was in October 2016, with an intensity of 5.7, which, despite the force, destroyed almost nothing or hurt anyone; but it was felt even in Rome.

The famous Sicilian lemon:

Despite the name, the fruit came from Asia and is from a small evergreen tree. The yellow color and characteristic smell make Sicilian lemons one of the most appreciated in the world.

 

 

 

MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT SICILY

  • Sicilians eat ice cream with bread and swear there is nothing better in this world!
  • They eat ox lungs and spleens, and they love it! The dish calls Milza!
  • The traffic is crazy! Sicilians are kind of clueless and do crazy things behind the wheel! So be careful if you’re driving, biking or walking! Be extra careful!
  • Italy is the world champion in properties registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • There are 300 types of breads in Italy!

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Conclusion

Curiosities about Sicily – If you’re curious about Sicily or still have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me, because I guarantee that Sicily will surprise you as a travel itinerary in Italy. Sicily is rich in history, gastronomy, culture, landscapes and its people are very welcoming.

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