Art & cultureHistorical facts

Artists and Scientists

In at least two significant periods, artists and scientists played a leading role in the long eventful history of Sicily. The outstanding figure was Archimedes, born in Syracuse in 287 BC and on intimate terms with the ruler Hieron II. Thanks to the ingenious machines of war he invented, the city was able to resist Roman siege for three years

In at least two significant periods, artists and scientists played a leading role

in the long eventful history of Sicily.

The outstanding figure was Archimedes,

born in Syracuse in 287 BC and on intimate terms with the ruler Hieron II.

Thanks to the ingenious machines of war he invented,

the city was able to resist Roman siege for three years ( 215-212 BC ).

Another great moment in Sicilian history came when the court of Frederick II in Palermo

became known for its artists, poets and architects in the 1300s.

Palermo became a leading centre for intellectuals.

The conquerors of Sicily

Because of its strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean,

Sicily has aleays been fought over by leading powers.

Its history is therefore one of successive waves of foreign domination:

Greek tyrants, Roman proconsuls and barbarian chieftains,

then the Byzantines, Arabs and Norman, the Hohenstaufen monarchs,

the Angevin and Aragonese dynasties, the Spanish Viceroys and then the Bourbons,

the last foreign rulers in Sicily before Italy was unified.

Where to see ancient Sicily

Almost every Sicilian town of any size has an archaeological museum.

The most interesting prehistoric ruins are to be found in the islands,

particularly the Aeolians,

while the few Punic remains are on display in the museums.

The main Greek sites include Segesta, Selinunte, Syracuse,

the Valley of the Temples and Morgantina.