Art & cultureHistorical facts

History of Sicily

The most striking aspect of the history of Sicily Even the Sicani, Elymi and Siculi..

The most striking aspect of the history of Sicily

is the enormous influence of all the different people who have colonized the Island.

Even the Sicani, Elymi and Siculi,

the first populations to leave traces of their cultures in Sicily,

came from other parts of the Mediterranean.

They were followed by the Carthaginians and

then by the Greeks,

under whom the history of Sicily saw its first real periods of great splendour.

Greek domination ended 212 BC with the siege of Syracuse,

in which the great inventor Archimedes was killed.

For the next six centuries,

the Island became the bread basket of the Roman Empire and

during this period acquired a social system

that was to be its distinguishing characteristic for centuries .

After the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions,

Sicily was ruled by the Byzantines.

The Island was then conquered by the Arabs,

under whom it became one of the most prosperous and tolerant lands in the Mediterranean.

The next rulers were the Normans,

who laid the foundations for the splendid court of Frederick the II in Palermo.

A long period of decadence coincided with the dwilling of the Middle ages.

The Angevins, Aragonese and Bourbons in turn took power in the history of Sicily,

but this dynasties exploited the Island and treated it as a colony instead of improving life

for the people there.

Giuseppe Garibaldi’s expedition in 1860 paved the way for the unification in Italy.

Despite initial neglect by the central Italian Government,

Sicilians were finally given control of their own affairs.

Yet many long-standings economic and social problems still

need to be tackled and resolved, in particular,

the continuing presence of Mafia in Sicily.