If you are wondering if is Sicily a country or just an island, then you are in the right place.
This article will explain to you in details everything you need to know about this magnificent area and something more: it also contains 10 interesting facts about the geography of this unique island.
Sicily, or Sicilia as the Italian call it is the largest and most densely populated place in the whole of Italy.
It is not just a stunning place with amazing views of the sea, but it is also home to an impressive number of ancient ruins and played an important role along time.
According to the evidence, it looks like the area had been inhabited for more than 10.000 years so you definitely have to include this ancient place into your bucket list especially if you are passionate about history.
The island is strategically located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea and its strategic position was the main factor that caused so many wars and destruction on the island.
Sicily is not a country, it is a province of Italy, a region called “regione” and it is located in the Mediterranean Sea, in the southern part of Italy.
Ever asked yourself where is Sicily and if Sicily is a country or not?
This article will help you clear out this question and find out where this beautiful island is located and what you can do in this area.
The beautiful Sicily is located in the southern part of the Italian Peninsula and is home to one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe, Mount Etna.
But before discussing Sicily, let me tell you a few words about Italy, the country where this island is located.
Italy became a republic on June 2nd, 1946 when many Italians voted in a referendum to get rid of the monarchy and so the country become a republic.
In terms of religion, the island like the entire Italian Peninsula became completely Roman Catholic.
Until 1054 the Churches owing allegiance to the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople belonged to one Church, after that year they were converted to Catholic Church).
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Like I said earlier, Sicily is not a country, it is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and together with the other 19 provinces, it forms Italy.
That is why it is called the autonomous region of Sicily, a region that is connected with the main peninsula by Messina Strait which has about 3 kilometers ( 2 miles) wide in the north and about 16 km (10 miles) wide in the south.
This stunning piece of land has the same currency, flag, and governance as the rest of Italy.
Like all the regions from Italy, besides the national flag of Italy, Sicily has its own flag that was adopted in 1282.
The provincial flag has the triskeles in the middle, which shows the Medusa head and three wheat ears that represent the very fertile land of the island.
The capital of Sicily is Palermo, a beautiful town located in the northern part of the island with beautiful architecture and many restaurants and bars where to sip an Italian wine and enjoy the view!
The total population of the island is around 5 million people and is ranked on number 4 as the most populated region of Italy.
The island is split into 9 provinces: Siracusa, Palermo, Messina, Catania, Caltanissetta, Trapani, Enna, Ragusa and Agrigento.
8 of the 9 provinces have a beautiful coastline, with many wonderful beaches and amazing landscapes.
Enna is the only province that does not have a coastline, but it has instead the highest volcano from Europe.
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Yes, it is the largest island from the Mediterranean Sea with a total surface of over 25.500 square kilometers.
With a surface of 9,927 square miles, Sicily Italy was part of the kingdom of Italy from ancient times that is why today you will still find Greeks and Arabs living on the island.
Giuseppe Garibaldi is considered to be one of the greatest generals of modern times, the person who united Sicily with Italy at the beginning of 1860.
Sicily has a few major industrial hubs, but most of the island’s land is dedicated to agriculture.
The country is famous for its extremely tasty oranges and lemons, but also olives and of course, olive oil as well as pistachios, grapes, and wine.
So, the most significant agricultural products are vines, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and garden crops.
The Island of Sicily is where you will also find Mount Etna, the jewel of the kingdom of Sicily and one of the tallest active volcanoes from Europe.
The province is separated from Italy’s mainland by the Strait of Messina, a very important maritime canal that is transited daily by dozens of ferries and ships.
You can easily reach Sicily by taking a ferry or by plane from Rome and other Italian cities as well as major European town.
In Sicilia, a former Roman province, there are 6 airports, spread all over the place that connects this beautiful island with the rest of the world.
The most important are Catania Airport “Vincenzo Bellini” and Palermo Airport Falcone Borsellino.
These are international airports and many European airlines land on one of these two airports.
There are other two smaller airports where usually land domestic and low-cost flights and two tiny airstrips just for domestic flights.
You can take a bus or a train to explore the island or why not rent a car and discover the beauty of this island on your own.
The dominant landforms from the island are the hills, perfect for agriculture that is an important source of income for the inhabitants, besides tourism.
The highest point from the island is Mount Etna, followed by the mountain ranges of Madonie with 2,000 meters and Nebrodi with 1,800 meters, both located in the northern part of the island.
On the southern part of the island is a range of lower mountains, called the Hyblaean Mountains with the highest peak of about 1,000 meters.
Sicily is surrounded by small beautiful islands and islets, some of them being home to active volcanoes.
So we have the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea where you can find the beautiful Stromboli volcano as well as the underwater volcano called Ferdinandea.
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Sicily and Unesco World Heritage sites
Now that you know if is Sicily an island or a country, it’s time to move forward and see which are the most important attractions from the area.
Spread across the island there are 7 Unesco World Heritage Sites that should be included in your travel itinerary.
Here is the complete list of them:
- Valle dei Templi a great example of Greece architecture and art
- Villa Romana del Casale, a beautiful Roman villa built in the 4th century containing the most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the whole world
- The Aeolian Islands, the most famous volcanic archipelago located in the Tyrrhenian Sea
- Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto comprising the following towns: Caltagirone, Catania, Militello in Val di Catania, Modica, Palazzolo Acreide, Noto, Ragusa, and Scicli
- Mount Etna, the world-famous active volcano
- Necropolis of Pantalica, the largest of its kind from Sicily with more than 5,000 tombs
Moving around the island
In order to move around the island, you can choose between trains, buses and of course renting a car.
Let me tell you some words about each of this options to see which one is more convenient for you.
Trains are reliable but very limited when we speak about routes. Most of the train routes are along the coastline.
There are 3 train categories:
- intercity which is the fastest train and stops only in major stations;
- espresso which is a little bit slower and stops on most of the stations from the route and
- Regionale the slowest which stop in each and every village from the route
The ticket prices are pretty high and the trains are not as fast as the ones from the Italian mainland.
Buses go almost everywhere after a fixed scheduler.
Buses are the best option when you want to travel from one big city to another, not if you want to explore the island.
In general, the buses are fast and offer a direct connection between the main cities of the island.
But if you want to explore the coastline of Sicily island or the countryside, then buses are not the best option.
The ticket prices are reasonable and can be bought from the bus or from specially designated shops.
Cars are the best choice when exploring the island and most Sicilians use small cars to move around.
They give you the mobility and flexibility you need when planning an itinerary! You don’t have to worry about public transport schedules or about connections.
Pick up your car and start exploring as there are many interesting places to discover on this island!
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Flag of Sicily
The Sicilian flag shows a triskeles symbol and at its center is a depiction of the head of Medusa and a pair of wings together with 3 wheat ears.
A triskeles symbol is a figure that has three legs that are displayed in symmetry rotational movement.
The Sicily flag is bisected on diagonal into regions colored red which is the color of Palermo and yellow which is the color of Corleone.
10 interesting facts about the island of Sicily
1.It has a very old history and based on the evidence found specialists have estimated that the island is inhabited for more than 10.000 years.
Initially, the island was inhabited by the Sicani people but around 750 BCE, Greeks came and started to settle here and influenced the existing culture and traditions.
Another important moment in the history of Sicily was the moment when Sicily became part of the Roman Province, starting with 242 BCE.
2. The island had been controlled along time by various empires and people, including the Germanic Vandals, Arabs, Byzantines, and Normans.
In 1848 a revolution took place that leads to the separation of Sicily from Naples and so the island gained its independence.
3. Between 1860 to 1946, the island of Sicily was part of the Kingdom of Italy.
4. The economy of Italy is quite strong mainly because of its very volcanic soil which is extremely fertile. Agriculture is the main industry on the island and Sicily is famous for its citrons, lemons, oranges, olive oil, grapes and almonds.
5. Tourism plays also a very important role in Sicily’s economy. Visitors are attracted here by the mild climate, incredible landscape, rich history, delicious food, and interesting culture.
6. Roman, Greek, Byzantine, and Spanish cultures are just some of the cultures that influenced over the years the Sicilian culture and traditions.
Sicily is home to an impressive number of UNESCO World Heritage Site and all these influences are visible all over the island.
7. The island of Sicily is separated by mainland through the Strait of Messina and it is a triangular island with a total surface of almost 10.000 square miles (26.000 square km).
8. The land from the island is dominated by agriculture, while the northern coast is famous for its mountains with Mount Etna, the active volcano of 3.320 meters being the highest point.
9. The island of Sicily and the smaller islands located in the vicinity are home to an impressive number of volcanoes, some of them active, while others dormant.
The most famous volcano of all is Mount Etna, with a total height of 3.320 meters which has last erupted earlier this year.
10. Sicily has a Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and dry and hot summers.
For this reason, we prefer to visit this island during shoulder season, from April till May and from September till October.
Is Sicily a country of its own?
No, Sicily is not a country of its own, it is part of Italy which is a country in Europe and it is located in the Mediterranean Sea in southern Italy and it is one of the 20 regions of Italy.
This beautiful island has home to a few active volcanoes, out of which the most important is Mount Etna, which is also one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe.
Is Sicily a country or part of Italy?
Sicily is not a country, nor a city but it is part of Italy, the beautiful peninsula located in Europe.
Find out: Where is Sicily Italy located, history and demographic information
This beautiful island is located in the southern part of Italy and it is connected with the mainland by Messina Strait.
Yes, Sicily is an island located in the southern part of Italy, in Europe, and it is one of the 20 regions of the Italian Peninsula.
The island is located at the top of the boot and has a Mediterranean climate and one of the best red oranges in the world.
Is Sicily a country or a city?
None of the options are correct, as Sicily is neither a country nor a city, it is a beautiful island located in the Mediterranean Sea.
The island is located in the southern part of the Italian Peninsula and is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina.
Is Sicily a poor country?
The main sources of income for this island are agriculture and tourism. It is not a poor nor a rich island, and for sure the COVID restrictions affected this place like any other place that lives mostly from tourism.
The world-famous Sicilian mafia controlled the island for a long time, but today things are getting better and for sure there are sunny days ahead for the Sicilian people.
Is Sicily a separate country from Italy?
Sicily is part of Italy and it is one of the provinces that form the country of Italy.
It is an autonomous province from a political perspective together with Egadi, Pelagie, Lipari, and Pantelleria islands, all located on the southern part of the peninsula.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.