Where is Sicily, Exactly? 

Believe it or not, I've been asked the question "Um...Where is Sicily in Italy?" a lot.

Most people know that Sicily is somewhere in the south of Italy but they can't mentally pinpoint the exact spot. We don't have a map of the world embedded in our brains, after all!

If you look at Italy on a map, you'll see something resembling a "triangular football" right at the part of the boot where the big toe would go.

View Italy in a larger map

That football is Sicily.

Sicilians like to joke that their island once belonged to the Italian mainland but got itself hurled into the sea by a quick kick from the boot.

And the joke makes sense, considering that Sicily lies so close to the mainland. Only 4 km in the Strait of Messina separate the island from the western tip of Calabria. Ironically, there's a theory that maintains Sicily was actually created some 90 million years ago when the European and African continental plates broke apart.

View Strait of Messina in a larger map

And where is Sicily in the Mediterranean?

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, with a landmass of 25,708 sq.km. Triangular in shape, it's about the same size as Vermont, a tenth of the size of Great Britain including Northern Ireland, and a fourth the size of South Korea.

Located smack in the middle of the Mediterranean, it sits halfway between the Suez Canal and Gibraltar in the south of Spain. Sicily is edged right where Europe ends and North Africa begins,in the narrow space separating the southern tip of Italy from Tunisia in North Africa.

Here's a map to give you a better idea.

It's a clickable map, with a zoom function and view function. Gibraltar is indicated by the yellow placemark and The Suez Canal by the red placemark.

View Sicily in a larger map

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