Sicily

 

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Sicily: 37.599994, 14.015356

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and,  along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region).

Separated only the narrow Strait of Messina, Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean, extending from the tip of the Apennine peninsula towards the North African coast.

Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna which,  at 3,320 m (10,890 ft), is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The earliest archaeological 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 fifth  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. The Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816 - first subordinated to the Crowns of Aragon, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire - and finally unified under the Bourbons with Naples, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Following the Expedition of the Thousand - a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian Unification process and a plebiscite - it became part of Italy in 1860. 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 and architecture. Sicily also holds importance for archaeological and ancient sites.

Administratively Sicily is divided into nine provinces, each with a capital city with the same name as the province. Small surrounding islands are also part of various Sicilian provinces: Aeolian Islands of Messina, isle of Ustica (Palermo), Aegadian Islands (Trapani), isle of Pantelleria (Trapani) and Pelagian Islands (Agrigento).

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