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As elsewhere in the Roman Empire, the Romans were replaced by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths, who demolished far more than they built (one rare example is the villa of Piazza Armerina) and were swept away by the Byzantines. Tourist Information office centre Noto The Arabs who followed them moved the capitol from Siracusa to Palermo, renamed most of the existing towns, and planted the first carobs, date-palms, citrus trees, jasmines and melons. Agrigento apartments. The Normans took over in 1061. Agrigento apartments They tore down almost all signs of Arab culture. Hotel Reservations Taormina They brought the island to a new level of prosperity and planted a different kind of seed, still visible today in the blonde and red tresses of many Sicilians. Agrigento apartments. It is to the Normans that we owe the most spectacular of Sicily's architectural treasures. Houses to rent in Capo D Orlando From the cathedrals of Cefalý, Messina and Monreale to Palermo's Zisa and Cuba, the churches of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, San Cataldo and the Martorana. Under the realm of Frederick II, the Swabian king, Sicily became one of the centers of the Western world, and perhaps it is not surprising that the principal architectural endeavors of this era. These lasted only from 1220 to 1250, were of a military nature, such as the castles in Siracusa, Catania and Salemi. Agrigento apartments. When Frederick died in 1250, his successor Manfred was murdered by the ruthless Charles of Anjou, whose French allies streamed into the island and established a new aristocracy so despised that it led to the popular uprising called the Sicilian Vespers. Enna Car Hire Eventually, in 1302, the French gave way to the Aragonese (part of the same dynasty which sponsored Christopher Columbus), who dominated until 1734. Agrigento apartments. The aristocracy created during this realm left their magnificent homes, such as Palermo's Palazzo Sclafani and Palazzo Chiaramonte, scattered all over the island. Nebrodi Holiday Flats The Aragonese clergy, while wielding the heavy arm of the Inquisition, effectively conspired to keep almost all artistic traces of the Renaissance out of the island. Agrigento apartments

'To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not having seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the key to everything.' So said Goethe. Agrigento apartments. Tuscany might want a look in, and Rome might beg to differ, but Sicily, with a history of foreign occupation across the centuries, is certainly fascinating, with a real pot-pourri of culture, cuisine and architecture. Plus the odd volcano. Catania weather forecast 

Tourism is an important earner of foreign currency. Agrigento apartments. There are many castles and churches in Sicily to attract the tourist and important towns such as Taormina and Cefalu thrive on the tourist industry. Hotels Palermo Tours are available to visit Sicily's active volcanoes: Mount Etna, Europe's tallest volcano, and Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands. Flats in Piazza Armerina Other places of interest are Madonie National Park, the Baroque towns of south-eastern Sicily, the Cathedral of Monreale, the Dorian Temple and Theatre at Segesta, the ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, the ancient town of Syracuse and the archaeological area of Agrigento. Palermo Bed and Breakfast

Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean islands, lies between southern Italy and North Africa. Houses to rent in Segesta The island can be seen as a "stepping stone" between Europe and Africa. Agrigento apartments. A beautiful, mountainous island, Sicily has been occupied by a series of migrants and invaders. These include the Greeks, Cathaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Angevins and Spaniards. In 1861 Sicily became part of Italy when Garibaldi united the Kingdom of Italy and the island. Agrigento apartments Eighty-five years later Sicily achieved "relative independence". This means that although Sicily belongs to Italy it is responsible for much of its own local affairs. Agrigento apartments. The island is divided into nine provinces: Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa and Trapani. Discount cheap lodging Milazzo Throughout history islands have been invaded by foreign powers. Acireale Accomodation However, Sicily's rugged terrain has provided its people with a degree of protection as many of its towns and villages are high in the mountains.

Agrigento apartments