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Sicily Italy Vacation Tours Hotels Villas

Standing like a fortress between Europe and North Africa, Sicily has long been a vital crossroads of the Mediterranean Sea. Few islands in history have managed to attract the attention of so many civilizations, such as the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans just to name a few. Each civilization left its mark on this wonderful island creating a rich historic, artistic and cultural tradition.

Sicily Highlights

• Rich history
• Historical landmarks
• Traditional cuisine
• Folklore Music
• Picturesque Villages
• Geologically interesting - EtnaVolcano
• Syracuse
Founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians in 733 BC, Syracuse became an extremely powerful city-state forming strong alliances with Sparta and Corinth. Described by Cicero as the most beautiful and powerful Greek city, Syracuse played a pivotal role in the geopolitical dynamics of the Mediterranean. Even after thousands of years, Syracuse is still regarded as a beautiful city with a rich Ancient Greek, Roman, and Baroque cultural influence. These unique cultural features have earned the entire city a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Taormina
A small town on the east coast of the island perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, Taormina has long been a popular tourist destination well-known for its clear salt-water beaches. Taormina boasts remnants of its Greek and Roman habitation, a fine medieval quarter and castle ruins, as well as modern shops and restaurants. Within its eternal stone walls, old Taormina has fascinating archaeological monuments and medieval homes. Stroll the narrow streets and indulge in the incredible views of the coast, and let yourself become enchanted; after all it is in romantic Taormina that the self-exiled D.H. Lawrence was inspired to write ‘Lady Chatterly's Lover’, one of the most passionate love stories of its era.

Sicily History

Although there is evidence that Sicily was inhabited as early as 8000 BC, the island did not become historically important until it was colonized by the Ancient Greeks at about 750 BC. Due to the volcano - Mount Etna, Sicily was always a very fertile island able to produce olives, grapes and citrus fruit of exceeding quality. As the power of Sicily slowly grew with the city of Syracuse as the forerunner, city-states on mainland Greece began to express their interest in this unique colony. During the Peloponnesian war, Athens made a bid to conquer Syracuse (and Sicily), however Syracuse formed an alliance with Sparta and Corinth, which led to the swift defeat of the Athenian forces sent to conquer the island. With the rise of the Roman Republic, Sicily soon became a Roman province, but the island’s volatile history remained and became even more unstable with the onset of Christianity. The Germanic tribes, Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish, and the French occupied Sicily instilling their own culture, architecture, and knowledge. Sicily finally became part of Italy in 1860 after a small expedition force led by Giuseppe Garibaldi took over the island.