Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and it is part of Italy, but Sicily has its own distinct culture and history.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea in his thousand-year old history Sicily has always been considered of large interest for strategical and trading reasons.
Except short periods of independence, Sicily was controlled by great powers: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, Bourbons to mention only the main peoples who set themselves in the island.
Each people influenced Sicilian culture, architecture, language and habits and this is the reason that makes Sicily an unbelievably unique place! Nowadays walking in the island streets you can feel this multicultural mix and admire Byzantines buildings close to Baroque churches, followed by open air market in Arab style.
Even food has been influenced by different cultures and you have the chance to taste typical sweets and street food, such as cannoli with ricotta cream, marzipan candies, almond and pistachio pastries, panelle (a thin paste of crushed ceci/garbanzo beans rolled into sheets, fried and served in pizza-like slices) and sfincione (a special pizza topped with tomatoes, onions, a few anchovies and grated caciocavallo cheese, seasoned with a dash of oregano).
Sicily is also famous as olive oil and wine producer and there are a lot of farmhouses and wineries to visit that offer the possibility of a tasting or a lunch or light-lunch: mixed local product such as cheese, salumi, olives, local bread combined with tasting of olive oil and wine.
Even though Sicily is very famous for his crystalline sea, landscape is various. Often people imagine Sicily as a little island, but from west side to east side there are 300 km and more than 150 km from North coast to South coast.
The middle of Sicily is characterized by hills and mountains up to 1.800-1.900 meters, while in the east coast (close to Catania and Taormina) Mount Etna overlooks a wide area.
Etna is the highest and most active volcano in Europe (it is high around 3.300 meters but it is possible to ascent only up to 2.920 meters) and its natural park is rich in sounds, perfumes, and colors.