It is in Europe and it is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the most southern of the Italian regions and it is located between the south western tip of the Italian peninsula and the northern coast of Africa (between 36.5 and 38.5 of northern latitude and between 12 and 16 degrees of eastern longitude), in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea.
It has eight main cities, but the biggest ones are three: Palermo (population of roughly 650,000), Catania (pop. 300,000), Messina (pop. 250,000).
The population of Sicily amounts to about 5 million people, with a density of 190 inhabitants per square km.
Fantastic all year round climate. In summer enjoy daily temperatures in the 30’s (70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit). It does get cooler in the winter but doesn’t normally go below 15 Celsius. The climate in Sicily is great.
There are two main airports in Sicily in the two main cities – one based in Catania and one based in Palermo. Airlines who fly into Sicily include British Airways, Ryanair, Air One, Alitalia and Air Malta. See our ‘Getting to Sicily for more information and direct links.
As for the temperament, on average they are quite temperamental and hot blooded and they are famous for being jealous partners. On the other hand, they are famous for being very hospitable and generous with their guests. So, if you are invited by Sicilian friends, they will offer you anything they can, hospitality and especially food wise. In this respect, they sometimes come across as forceful, as, even if you are full to the brim, they won’t give up and keep offering you food. Just refuse politely, if you don’t want to burst, even if it is really difficult to turn down that delicious and tempting Sicilian food.
Italian is the official language. There is also a local dialect, called Sicilian, which is actually more a language than just a dialect, as it differs completely from Italian. Each town or even village has a different variety of Sicilian dialect. It is not necessary to be able to speak Sicilian when you go to Sicily, since this dialect is only used in informal situations or by elderly people more than by young people. These days more and more people are speaking English, with Italy a part of the EU.
Absolutely. Even though many Sicilians like to think of themselves as being Sicilian first and Italian second and despite Sicily physically being detached from the mainland. Sicily is very much a part of Italy.
The pace of life can be slow and this does not suit everyone who visits. For others this may be seen as the reason for wanting to buy property here. Also in August, many areas of Sicily, (and also in other parts of Italy), the country almost grinds to a halt. Once again this is positive if you are in Sicily as you can relax for the month but if buying property, it may be best to try and avoid this month for administrative matters.
It is great for water sports. You can swim in the sea, which is quite calm most of the year and it is very good for diving (especially in its marine natural parks), for fishing and sailing. Sicily is also good for skiing. The Etna, which is 3000 meters high, can be skied in the winter and you can enjoy the view of the sea while you ski. The inland of Sicily is good for hiking or cycling on the mountains most of which are part of environmentally protected areas. There are also places where you can ride horses and, last but not least, soccer is very popular. There are two teams which are in the first division and at least one in second division. Check our ‘Sports and Activities‘ page for further information.
There are many great attractions in Sicily including the Etna, Aeolian Islands and many archaeological sites. For further information take a look at our ‘Attractions’ page. Sicily is a great place for excusrions.
Sicily, Italy, is one hour ahead of Greenwich time.
The currency used in Sicily is the Euro. To know about the exchange rates between the Euro and other currencies check the “Currency Converter”.
Mick Hucknall from Simply Red has a vineyard on the slopes of the Etna, where the soil is particularly fertile, and produces his own wine called Red . Sting bought a property on one of the Aeolian Islands.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and sits just North of Africa and at the foot of Italy. The main feature in Sicilian landscape is the Mount Etna an active volcano located in the east side of the island. It is the highest in Europe, with its 3,000 metres. Even if active, there is no reason to be scared by it, because it is of the effusive type. Which means, that it erupts frequently, but the direction of the lava can be foreseen and it won’t explode suddenly like instead for instance the Vesuvio is likely to do. When the lava flows it usually does not cover the villages, in fact there are no buildings above a certain altitude, only woods and countryside. The locals respect the volcano and love it, because it provides a very fertile soil. For this reason, fruits and vegetable grown here are particularly sweet and full of flavour and wine is very strong. Mick Hucknall from Simply Red has a vineyard on the slopes of the Etna, where the soil is particularly fertile, and produces his own wine called Red.
In addition to the main island, Sicily is surrounded by many small islands which are popular holiday destinations for locals and outsiders alike. The archipelagos of the Aeolian Islands, off the north eastern coast of Sicily; the Egadi Island, off the west tip of the main island; the Pelagie Islands, off the south coast, very close to Africa; the small island of Ustica, off the north western coast in front of Palermo, located in the middle of a national marine park.