Sicily is one of the most beautiful regions you can visit in Italy, which has a lot to offer. This includes beaches, mountains, hills, volcanoes, and much more. Of course, if you are going as a tourist, it is also helpful to learn some facts about Sicily.
The region has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Besides that, the culture and language are also incredibly interesting. So, if you want to make your trip to Sicily better, here are some fun Sicily facts for you.
Common Facts About Sicily
All regions have some general facts that you should know when you enter them. Here are some common facts on Sicily.
The locals speak Sicilian
The official language in Sicily is Italian, but you may hear some locals speaking their own language, which is Sicilian. UNESCO has also recognized the language. Sicilian has around nine dialects that also change according to the part of Sicily you are in.
The language has its roots in many other languages. These include Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish, and many others.
Mountains and hills make up 85% of the island
You will be surprised to know that hills and mountains make up almost 90% of the island. You can rarely find any plains in Sicily, as there are only 14% of them on the island.
The best way to explore Sicily is to explore the mountain ranges, which include Hyblaean Mountains, Mount Etna, Peloritani, Nebrodi, and many others.
It is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea
One of the top Sicilian facts is that it is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. That is because Sicily has a land area of more than 9,900 square miles, also making it the largest island in Italy. There are more than five million people living in Sicily.
People spoke Greek in Sicily for 1,500 years
Greek settlers arrived in Sicily almost 3,000 years ago. During that time, they took over the island for at least five centuries until the Romans conquered the land. That is why people spoke Greek in Sicily for more than 1,500 years.
The region has an interesting history with its roots in the Spanish, Roman, and Greek languages. This is due to the fact that all these empires ruled Sicily for certain periods of time.
Interesting Facts About Sicily That Will Blow Your Mind
Now that you are familiar with some general facts, it is time to learn some interesting facts about Sicily. These facts will blow your mind, as many people don’t know about them.
People from Lebanon found Palermo
Sicily’s current capital is Palermo, one of the oldest cities in the region. What you will find the most fascinating is that it was founded by people that live in current Lebanon. They are known as Phoenicians, and Palermo was ruled by Carthaginians, who are descendants of Phoenicians.
Catania has been buried by lava almost 20 times
Mount Etna is one of the most famous active volcanoes of Sicily. Because of this, it is always risky to live in the vicinity of this region. According to history, Catania has been buried by lava at least seventeen times, and you can find many layers of these incidents at archaeological sites.
Sicily was a kingdom of the Vikings
During ancient times, between 1038 and 1198 AD, Sicily was a kingdom of Normans. These people were the descendants of Vikings, and they conquered Sicily. During that time, the region was in the hands of Arabs, but the Vikings showed their dominance and took over Sicily in no time.
The Top LGBTQ-Friendly Holiday Destination Was Taormina In The Late 19th Century
Yes, many people are not familiar with this, but this is one of the top facts about Sicily. During the late nineteenth century, Taormina has been one of the top LGBTQ-friendly destinations.
The reason for this was Wilhelm von Gloeden, a German photographer that shot nude males, and this attracted the sexual minorities during the time to come here.
General Sicilian Facts Everyone Should Know
There are some Sicily facts no one should ever miss when they are in the region.
Mount Etna in Sicily is the tallest active volcano in Europe
Mount Etna is one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe. The volcano is almost 11,000 feet high, and Vesuvius comes in second. Keep in mind that this volcano keeps on erupting because it is highly active, which is why you might see at least a few eruptions each year.
Nonetheless, trips to this volcano continue to be a popular activity among both local and international visitors.
It has coasts on three seas
There are three seas that make up the Sicilian coast. These include the Mediterranean Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the Ionian Sea. You can find endless beaches because of this, making it one of the top beach holiday destinations in Europe.
Here are some of the best Silician beaches you can find in and around Sicily.
You will find some great hidden Greek ruins in Sicily
History is preserved well in Sicily. That is why you will find many Greek ruins on the island. The Valley of the Temples is one of the most famous ruins you can visit to understand Greek history.
It has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites
One of the top facts about Sicily is that it has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include:
- Mount Etna
- Aeolian Islands
- Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples
- Villa Romana del Casale
- And many others
Fun Facts About Sicily For Tourists
As a tourist, you need to be equipped with all the knowledge you require to have fun in the region. So, here are some fun facts about Sicily to keep in the back of your mind when traveling.
Syracuse was one of the largest Greek cities
In ancient times, Syracuse was one of the largest cities. The Greeks found the city in late 700 BC, and with time, it kept on growing. Because of this, you will find its ruin all around Sicily.
The largest opera house in Italy is in Sicily
Anyone that wants to visit the largest opera house in Italy can come to Sicily. Teatro Massimo in Palermo is the biggest one, with more than 1,300 seats. The opera house was built in the 19th century, and it is a beauty to look at.
A typical breakfast item in Sicily is ice-cream
While ice cream for breakfast might not be acceptable where you live, no one will stop you from having ice cream first thing in the morning in Sicily.
The locals eat an ice cream sandwich for breakfast, which is known as brioche con gelato. As you step out on the street during the morning, you will find this breakfast food everywhere. Although it will be hard to choose between this and all the delicious Italian breakfasts in Italy.
Sicilian pizza is much more unique than the traditional Italian pizza
Sicilian pizza is incredibly unique to what you will find in different parts of the country. It is called sfincione in the local language and has a rectangular shape.
Besides that, the bread is covered with anchovies and tomato sauce to offer you a unique taste. This is one of the most popular street food in Italy.
Historical Facts About Sicily
Any city or country is incomplete without its history. After all, the past helps us understand the present and the future. Here are the top historical facts on Sicily you will enjoy.
It is reported that the Aeolian Islands were swallowed by the sea
In 1909, on New Year, a rumor appeared in the international papers that the sea had swallowed these islands. Of course, during this time, volcanic activity was going on, and this fake news came as a result of this. Nothing had happened except that there was no communication with the islands because of the volcanic activity.
The British and Americans bombed Catania close to 90 times
WWII was a depressing time for everyone, and even Catania was a huge target. Unfortunately, it suffered close to 90 raids at the time. It damaged many parts of the city.
Malta was part of the Sicilian kingdom for seven centuries
Malta is now an independent country, but it used to be part of Sicily until 1814. The Knights of Malta used to rule the region, and they were the vassals of the Sicilian Kingdom at the time.
Regardless, the country continues to be a top travel destination. Here are some of the best things to do in Malta.
Messina almost had an apocalyptic event seven centuries ago
Finally, one of the most interesting facts about Sicily is that at least 700 years ago, Messina was about to have an apocalyptic event. That is because death ships began floating in the city and all the passengers were either dying or dead. Of course, this was the beginning of the Black Death.
Discovering More Interesting And Fun Facts About Sicily
These are just some of the interesting facts about Sicily. The region offers beaches, mountains, hills, history, volcanoes, and many more. There are endless facts about Sicily that you can get to know, and that list will never end. Nonetheless, there is no better way to learn more about the region than by experiencing it firsthand.