March 14, 2019

Sicily 101, All Things Sicily

Everything about Sicily, size, population, language, Sicilian people and things to do. "To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything." Said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Being the crossroad/biggest island in Mediterranean ocean, it has always held a very important position. Many groups left their influences and culture on the island, the rich history and the perfect weather make Sicily one of the top vacation spots. Let’s learn a thing or two about Sicily.

Here are some quick questions on Sicily:
Where? The southern tip of Italy.
How big? 25,711 km²
(Some references: Taiwan is 36,193 km²; Switzerland is 41,285 km²; Tuvalu is 26 km²)
Capital? Palermo
Language? Sicilian. (More on this below.)
Ruled by? Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Catalans before.
Population? 5 Million

What’s Sicily’s historic background?
For centuries it was a nation unto itself. Sicily was taken over by many different people, and back in the days, many different ancient colonies co-existed as well. Greek ruled during 750 BC-242 BC and left strong marks on Sicily, Roman ruled during 242BC -AD 440. Fast forward to Mordern times, Italian captured Sicily in 1860, and from then on, Sicily became part of the Kingdom of Italy, and now Italian Republic.

What language do Sicilians speak?
Sicilian it is! While it seems like every local speak perfect fluent Italian, some of the elderly might don’t. The Sicilian language and its dialectal derivations extend back beyond ancient Greek times. About 30% of that Sicilian vocabulary originates from the Arabic language. Now, there are approximately 5,000,000 Sicilian speakers in the world.

Best of the best in Sicily
Must-visit in Sicily
* Temple of Concord in Agrigento
Needless to say, it’s such a must-visit because this ancient Greek Doric temple is super well-preserved, built in 440–430 BC(!) and of course it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

* food markets in Palermo
Palermo, the capital of Sicily

* Mount Etna, Sicily’s eastern edge
It’s one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes, and certainly one of the many wonders of Sicily.

* Ortygia
A small island that is kind of attached to Sicily by a narrow channel. It contains many historical landmarks.

Must-eat in Sicily
* cannoli
Originated in Sicily. Outside is a fried wrap, and inside is ricotta cheese.
* Sfincione
That’s pizza made with Sicilian manner!
* Granita
Fresh fruity icy! Granita comes with many flavors, lemon is the most popular. Perfect summer drink it is!
* Caponata
It’s a Sicilian eggplant dish, and the levels of sweet and sour in caponata vary from household to household.

Must-do in Sicily
* Sailing
Start from Taormina or Palermo, see the beautiful island from the sea
Sicilian wineries def worth your visit

Mafia! Mafia! Mafia!
It sure is the one thing that pops in your head when Sicily is mentioned, thanks to the legendary “Godfather.” The word “mafia” literally means “swagger” or “boldness”. They had been active since the 19th century, the roots can be traced back to the Middle Ages, they still exist; drug dealing, loan-sharking, strip clubs running and protection rackets are still there, but the story is a lot different now. Mafia is hereditary, a family thing, and will forever add more drama, mysteriousness to Sicilian culture.

Best time to go visit Sicily
The best time to visit Sicily is from May to June or September to October.
July and August are the hottest, the average temperature is 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) The inviting climate in Sicily attracts lots of visitors from all over the world.

Mommy’s boy in Sicily
Italian mothers serve the family way too well, laundry, house chores, cooking, cleaning and all. It’s common for Italian men to live at home, has a close relationship with his mom and mom still does the laundry even the man has moved out. In Italian, these men are called “Mammoni”, they don’t mind being labeled as such though, just cultural difference.

The mystifying symbol, Trinacria
Curiosity sure rises when seeing the flag of Sicily. This three-legs-one-head symbol can be seen everywhere in Sicily. So, what is this symbol, what does it mean? The mythology goes: three nymphs danced around the world and threw all the best fruits and goodies into the sea and made Sicily. The triangle shape of the island’s three sides is one of each nymphs’ one leg. Beautiful, huh? The formal use of the symbol of the Trinacria can go way back in the 13th century.  

The tip of the toe of Italy has so much to offer, mountains, beaches, wine-sipping, FOOD, historic sights. Make sure you bring a WiFi router with you to ensure smooth instagramming about your fabulous Sicilian trip.