When people find out I live in Sicily, they bombard me with questions. This Facts About Sicily page will answer some of the most frequently asked ones:
1. Dude, where is Sicily, exactly?
Take out a map of Europe. See how Italy takes on the shape of a high-heeled boot? Well, move your finger south towards Africa and stop where the big toe would be. Sicily is that triangular “football” to the left of the big toe which seems to have gotten kicked into the sea by the boot.
Have a look at my where is Sicily page for more detailed information.
2. Is Sicily part of Italy?
Politically, yes. Sicily is a part of the Italian Republic, though it maintains a semi-autonomous status with its own parliament and president. It has limited legislative powers in certain sectors such as tourism, transport, and the environment.
Culturally……. it depends on who you ask!! It's one of those facts about Sicily that's difficult to answer. I’d love for you to come see for yourself :-) Suffice it to say that most people here see themselves as Sicilians first and Italians second.
3. How big is Sicily?
Sicily is the biggest region in Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean. It has a landmass of 25,708 square kilometers (9,923 square miles). The coastline of the main island is more than 1,000 km (629 miles) long.
It would take you about 3 ½ hours to cross the main island from east to west and about 2 ½ hours to cross it from north to south.
4. Do more people speak the Sicilian dialect or Italian over there?
Although Sicilian is referred to as an Italian dialect, it’s so different from Italian that it can be considered a language in its own right.
Italian is Sicily’s official language, and it’s spoken by almost everyone here. About 70% of the people speak Sicilian, but it is usually only amongst themselves. So don’t worry, you won’t be expected to speak Sicilian…any effort to do so could earn you a free beer though!
5. What’s Sicily weather like?
Sicily has a classic Mediterranean climate, with very long, hot summers and mild winters. Have a look at my Sicily Weather page to get more information on this subject as well as your 3-day weather forecast for various areas of the island.
6. When’s the best time to go visit Sicily?
The absolute best time to come visit is either in springtime (April -June) or at the very end of summer (September – October). Find out why on my Sicily Weather page.
7. How many people live in Sicily?
Just a little over 5 million.
8. What’s the capital city of Sicily?
Palermo. A fascinating city indeed....
9. What are Sicily’s biggest cities?
Palermo on the northern coast has a population of 680,00 while Catania on the eastern coast has a population of 310,000.
10. What’s the main religion in Sicily?
11. What’s the geography of Sicily like?
Sicilian terrain is hilly for the most part, with the plains and plateaus covering only 14% of the land area. The eastern part of Sicily is a fertile volcanic zone, while the coastline alternates between steep and rugged coasts and sandy, Mediterranean beaches. The main island is also surrounded by splashes of volcanic islands.
12. Isn’t there a really huge volcano in Sicily?
You bet! Mount Etna is Europe’s largest active volcano and one of the most active in the world. It stands 3,323 meters tall, dominating much of Sicily’s eastern coast. In recent years, the main crater has become more explosive and volatile, which is why it is one of the most exciting attractions on the island.
13. Is Sicilian food really as good as they say?
It’s better! Another one of those facts about Sicily I can't deny. Sicilian cuisine is known as one of the most exotic in Italy, but also one of the most traditional. It’s a little spicier than food from the north and there’s a lot more fish to be had. Read more about it on my Sicilian Food page.
14. Where can I find a really good, free map of Sicily?
Already working on that one! I’ll update this Facts About Sicily page real soon with that info.
15. How many provinces are there in Sicily?
Okay, okay. People don’t really ask me that, but I just thought I’d just throw in this fact about Sicily anyway :-) There are 9 administrative provinces in Sicily: Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Syracuse, and Trapani.
16. Is Sicily poor?
Economically-speaking, Sicily is one of the poorest regions in Italy. The average wage in Sicily is only half of what it is north of Florence and the official unemployment is 20% (double that of the national average).
But if you want to talk history, architecture, culture, food, beaches, and volcanoes… it’s one of the richest places on our planet!
17. What are Sicilian people like?
They are, by far, the warmest, friendliest, and loudest people I have ever met. Hands down.
18. What’s it like for a foreigner living over there?
Life is beautiful here. The friends I’ve made here are genuine, the food is great, the cost of living is still relatively cheap for western Europe, I have a job, and new places to visit every weekend! What more could a girl ask for?
I hope you've found this Facts About Sicily page useful. Feel free to ask more questions via my contact form. Also, check back soon as I'll be adding a "Fun Facts About Sicily" page in the next few weeks.