Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is one of the five an autonomous regions of Italy. With a land area of 25,711 km˛, it is also the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the largest Italian region. Sicily has 5 million inhabitants, making it the fourth most populous Italian region.
Sicily has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Aeolian Islands, the Archaeological Area of Agrigento, the Villa Romana del Casale, Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica, and eight Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. If the eight towns in the last category are counted separately, Sicily has the largest number of World Heritage Sites in Italy. If not, it is still second after Tuscany.
Famous people from Sicily include (chronologically): the mathematician Archimedes, the Renaissance painter Antonello da Messina, the Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti, the opera composer Vincenzo Bellini, the writer Luigi Pirandello (Nobel Prize), the poet Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel Prize), and the fashion designer Domenico Dolce (of Dolce & Gabbana).
The earliest archeological evidence of human presence in Sicily dates from the Early Neolithic, around 8000 BCE. From 750 BCE, the Greeks started colonising the island, and were to leave the biggest genetic impact on the present-day population. The Phoenicians settled the north-western corner of Sicily, and founded the cities of Panormos (Palermo) and Motya. For the next 600 years Sicily was the site of the Greek-Punic war (600-265 BCE) and the Roman-Punic war (264-146 BCE), which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage.
As the Western Roman Empire was falling apart, Sicily was invaded by Germanic tribes: the Vandals from 440, then the Ostrogoths from 488. Part of the Byzantine Empire from Byzantines 535, Sicily came under increasing pressure from the Arabs from 652 onwards. The island eventually succumbed to the Muslims in 965, and became the Emirate of Sicily until 1072.
From 1068, the Normans were invited by South Italians from the mainland to recapture Sicily from the Muslims. They took Palermo in 1068 and expelled the Arabs from the island in 1072. Ruling from Palermo, the Normans would establish the Kingdom of Sicily in 1130, which would at some point expand to all the south of Italy as far as Abruzzo. In 1816, it merged with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until the unification of italy in 1861.
Attractions are listed geographically, from west to east (left to right) and north to south (top to bottom).