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Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and occupies a strategic position at the toe of Italy. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice The island has long been a magnet for invaders - all of whom have left their mark. Nightlife Entertainment in Campo Bello di Mazara Greek temples, Roman ruins, Norman castles and Byzantine domes. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. Visiting these relics of the past, swimming off the island’s beautiful golden beaches, marvelling at Mt Etna – Europe’s largest live volcano – and sampling first-rate seafood are all part of the Sicilian experience. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. City of Catania. Panarea Villa Rentals Situated at the mountain slope of Etna and to the center of a fertile lowland cultivated to citrus fruit, it was occupied from the Cartaginesi versus 700 B.C. Trapani Car Hire Then it was under the dominion of Siracusa and conquered from Dionigi and from the Cartaginesi then, finally by the Romans in the 263 B.C. Segesta Holiday Accommodation Subsequently conquered from the Normanni was destroyed in 1693 from a terrible earthquake. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. We find it again today, like commercial heart of the Isle with its splendid and attractive baroque. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice

Palermo was founded by Phoenicians who sailed there from their native Carthage. Messina Villa Rentals The Greeks colonized the whole island, leaving some of the most beautiful and best-preserved temples they ever built at Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. Around those glorious sites they planted Sicily's first olive trees and grape vines. Hostels in Catania 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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. In Palermo, these groups were known as mafia. Sicily photos  

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. Places of interest in Eolie Aeolian Islands 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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. The Normans took over in 1061. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice They tore down almost all signs of Arab culture. Houses to rent in Enna 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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. It is to the Normans that we owe the most spectacular of Sicily's architectural treasures. Agritourism in Palermo From the cathedrals of Cefalů, 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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. 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. Solunto 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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. The aristocracy created during this realm left their magnificent homes, such as Palermo's Palazzo Sclafani and Palazzo Chiaramonte, scattered all over the island. Hotels Ustica 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.

'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. Camping and Caravan sites in Erice. 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. Cheap hostels in Caltanissetta

Camping and Caravan sites in Erice