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Over the centuries the Sicilians have valued a close family life with all its responsibilities. Calendar of events in Sciacca. In turn the Sicilian people have looked to themselves in the face of foreign occupation and imposed government. Segesta Map Partly in response to invasion and colonisation a purely Sicilian hierarchy emerged. Calendar of events in Sciacca This became known as the Sicilian Mafia organised upon what can roughly be translated as "respect", "dignity" and "silence". Calendar of events in Sciacca

Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean islands, lies between southern Italy and North Africa. Discount cheap lodging Catania The island can be seen as a "stepping stone" between Europe and Africa. Calendar of events in Sciacca. 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. Calendar of events in Sciacca 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. Calendar of events in Sciacca. The island is divided into nine provinces: Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa and Trapani. Trapani Holiday Accommodation Throughout history islands have been invaded by foreign powers. Houses to rent in Eolie Aeolian Islands 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.  

Palermo was founded by Phoenicians who sailed there from their native Carthage. Nightlife Entertainment in Taormina The Greeks colonized the whole island, leaving some of the most beautiful and best-preserved temples they ever built at Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta. Calendar of events in Sciacca. Around those glorious sites they planted Sicily's first olive trees and grape vines. Cheap hostels in Piazza Armerina Traces of the Roman period in Sicily can be found in the amphitheatres at Taormina and Siracusa, as well as in that city's Christian catacombs. But perhaps Rome's most lasting (and infamous) contribution to the island came in fostering the great land ownerships which eventually impoverished the peasantry and led, many centuries later, to the founding of secret societies aimed at destroying the fabulously wealthy landlords. Calendar of events in Sciacca. In Palermo, these groups were known as mafia. Cheap flats in Acitrezza

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. Self catering accommodation Sciacca 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. Calendar of events in Sciacca. The Normans took over in 1061. Calendar of events in Sciacca They tore down almost all signs of Arab culture. Diving Centres Dive Sites and Schools Ustica 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. Calendar of events in Sciacca. It is to the Normans that we owe the most spectacular of Sicily's architectural treasures. Information about Ustica 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. Calendar of events in Sciacca. 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. Self catering accommodation Solunto Eventually, in 1302, the French gave way to the Aragonese (part of the same dynasty which sponsored Christopher Columbus), who dominated until 1734. Calendar of events in Sciacca. The aristocracy created during this realm left their magnificent homes, such as Palermo's Palazzo Sclafani and Palazzo Chiaramonte, scattered all over the island. Booking Hotels Taormina 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.

Calendar of events in Sciacca