With the Italian Tribune’s weekly recap of the Publisher’s Tour, we thought we would bring you some trivia about Sicily.
It is the Mediterranean’s largest island with roughly 600 miles of coastline. It takes about 3 ½ hours to drive across the island from east to west and 2 ½ hours from north to south. At its closest point, Sicily is less than two miles from the Italian mainland. Archimedes, one of the world’s most famous mathematicians, was born in Sicily and people from the island consider themselves to be Sicilians first and Italians second. In fact, about 70 percent of the people speak Sicilian (which is a language, not a dialect), rather than Italian. Yet, it was in Sicily that the movement to unite Italy began.
Sicily is home to two of Italy’s three active volcanoes: Stromboli and Etna. Mt. Etna is also the tallest volcano in Europe and about 25 percent of the Sicilian population live on its slopes. In ancient times, Siracusa was the largest city in the Mediterranean. It is no wonder that Goethe said of the isalnd: L’Italia senza Sicilia non lascia immagine nello spirito: qui è la chiave di tutto – To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.