Sicily (Palermo) - Southern Regions

"Sicily (Palermo) - Southern Regions" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Tuesday 10th January 2012

Sicily Southern Regions map

The name Sicily was given to the island after the name of ancient people Siculians lived here; it was also called Trinacria ("with three points") by Greeks remembering its triangle form.

Its surface is 25 710 sq.km (9923 sq.miles) (8.5%), population 5 108 000 inhabitants (9%), density 199 inhab./sq.km.

Easily accessible by the water way Sicily was one of the first inhabited regions of Italy. The initiators of the economical development on the island were noted above Siculians who in the 3rd millenium b.C. introduced agriculture and breeding and artisan activities. They were succeeded by Phoenicians who founded a number of commercial centers and started intensive usage of the forests for construction needs. Between VIII and III centuries b.C. the Greeks came and founded numerous colonies, developed commerce and agriculture. Romans made Sicily a granary of the empire, building the new roads and enforcing already existing settlements and systems.

Starting from 827 a.C. and beginning of Arabic pirates rides the period of the greatest improvements of the territory organization came.

The port of Palermo was fortified and enlarged and Palermo itself was built and rebuilt; increase of agricultural production on the whole of the territory: diffusion of irrigation, introduction of jasmine, citrus, cotton and other new cultivated plants. This work was continued by Normans and Swabians. But under the Angevin, Aragon and Spanish domination all these initiatives were reduced and Sicily in the end became a Spanish colony with the agriculture based on large landed estates and low productivity.

In the XIX century the criminal organization famous all over the world as Mafia was born and starting from the moment when Sicily became a part of the new Italian state in 1860 this organization took the real control on the territory of the island. After the WWII Italian government conducted a program of improvement of the Sicilian economy: division of large landed estates, reclaim of the soil along the seacoasts, settlement of petrol-mechanic industry, construction of the new roads and railways, development of touristic infrastructure. Nevertheless all these modifications didn't reach the desired results till now mostly due to bad and inrresponsible organization and intervention of mafia in all the spheres of Sicilian activity.

. History Man and Territory Economy and Resources Archeology and Art
Origins Sicily is one of the most inhabited islands in the Mediterranean. In II millenium it was visited by Phoenicians. Since VIII century the Greek colonization began. Foundation of Palermo, Messina, Catania, Siracusa, Agrifento. The temple of Selinunte; theatre in Siracusa; temples in Agrigento and Segesta.
Roman Epoch (from III century b.C.) Roman colonization. Intensive reduce of forests for the needs of agriculture and new cultivated lands. Numerous villas.
Middle Ages (V - XV centuries) Invasion of Vandals and Goths, long political relations with Constantinopolis. Since IX till XI century the Arab domination took place. In XII the Norman domination and brought by it period of prosperity. Grave economic and demographic regress during the periods of invasions. Return to prosperity with the Normans: introduction of new cultures (orange, jasmine, sugar cane, cotton); big hydraulic works. Palermo is embellished by some beautiful monuments; the Norman cathedrals in Monreale and Cefalu'; great Swabian castles.
Renaissance (XV - XVI centuries) Swabian, Angevin, Aragon feudal dominations. Economical crisis. .
Modern Ages (XVII-XVIII) Government of the French (Bourbons). The political and economical primacy moves from Palermo to Naples. Arrangement of numerous cities; foundation of minor urban centers. Baroque style in architecture.
XIX - XX centuries In 1860 the islands is annexed to the Italian state. In 1946 Sicily was declared an autonomous region with the special status. Activation of commerce due to initiative of foreign investors. In 1871 the first railway line was built. The reform of agriculture in the 50's divided the large landed estates in little and improved organization in this sector. Discover of hydrocarbon in 1957 caused construction of relative industrial plants.

Sicily (Palermo) Map:

sicilia-map-thumb.jpg
Fig: Sicily (Palermo) Map
Click to view full map

Position.

Sicily is the greatest island in the Mediterranean sea and in Italy. Separated by the straight channel from the main land it is all surrounded by the seas of the Mediterranean. Its coasts are extended for 1039 km.

Climate.

The region has Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild and rainy winters. The climate varies from the territory to territory. Along the coast the average temperature varies between 19 C and 30 C, while in the inland it goes down to 13 degrees. The precipitation is scarce, exception is only the higher zones of the island.

Palermo

January: 10.3 C

July: 23.6 C

Altitudes

plain: 14%

hill: 61%

mountain:25%

Landscape.

The greatest part of the sea-costs of Sicily is covered by the always green gardens. The hills and mountains cover most of the island territory. The mountain system consists of a part of Apennines, Peloritanians, Nebrodians, mountains Erei and Iblei. On the south-east stands Ethna, the greatest active volcano in Europe. The plain zones were formed due to frequent floods, the most fertile are Piana di Palermo and Piana di Catania intensively urbanized. The rivers are short: Alcantara, Simeto, Salso, Platani. The only natural lake is Pergusa in the center of island. The gulfs are numerous: of Milazzo,of Patti, of Termini Imerese, of Palermo, of Castellamare, of Gela, of Noto, of Augusta, of Catania. The territory of the region includes a number of islands (see on the map).

Communications.

During last decades were built some new roads and highways among which are Messina-Catania and Catania-Palermo. But the situation with the railways didn't improved a lot since the first constructions. The most important regional airports are located in Palermo, Catania and Trapani.

Tourism

Total: 9 200 000

Italians: 65%

Foreigners: 35%

Employment

agriculture: 12%

industry: 20%

tourism,

commerce: 68%

Agriculture and breeding.

Mild climate and fertile soil of the seaside plains created conditions for one of most successful agriculture economies in Italy. The main products are: corn, wine grape, olive and olive oil, citrus, almond, fig, artichoke, pea-green, pistachio, caper, carob, cotton (greatest production in Italy). The breeding doesn't have any big importance, while fishing beings very good profits.

Industry.

The industry in Sicily has quite big importance and is represented in two sectors: the modern one in the provinces of Siracusa, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Messina and Catania, and the traditional one spread all over the territory. The new industries are petrol-chemical, mechanics, chemistry, electronics, etc. The old industries are mostly those producing food: wine, oil, conserved products, pasta and other products exported in other Italian regions.
Should also be noticed that Sicily is one of a few parts of the country where the land conserved some mineral resources which caused production of the rock-salt, potassic salts, methane and petrol.
Apart from agricultural and industrial activities are also very well developed commerce (export of wine) and tourism (Palermo, Taormina, Siracusa, islands).

Hydroenergy

Italy:

44 000 000 kWh

Sicily:

200 000 kWh

Thermoenergy

Italy:

128 000 000 kWh

Sicily:

15 500 000 kWh

Births (per 1000)

Italy: 9.9

Sicily: 13.1

Deaths (per 1000)

Italy: 9.3

Sicily: 8.5

Remnant

Italy: 0.6

Sicily: 4.6

Population.

Sicily is a very populated land thanks to the prevalence of births over the deaths. The population is concentrated mostly in the seacoast zones and here as well as in other southern regions people prefer to live in country-side cities while the little farmers' settlements are very few and could be found only in Piana di Catania and on the northern coast. Development of industry favoured migration from the zones of high altitudes in the plains and from the inland to the coasts.

Life.

Speaking about life in Sicily the Mafia question cannot be missed. This organization is very strong and nothing till now could help to avoid its negative influence on all the spheres of social and economical activities. The statistics showing the levels of produced goods and consumption per inhabitant is much lower than the National one and even lower than south Italian rates. The quality of medical assistance is not satisfactory; the diffusion of information with the newspapers and TV is very small; the quality of education is low. The information about the level of criminality is surprising,  being lower than an average Italian one (according to the number of reported crimes), while functioning Mafia organization gave another impression about this side of Sicilian life. Sicily is still strong with its traditions and firm family base.

Inhabitants per car

Italy: 2.0

Sicily: 2.0

Monthly income

per inhabitant

943 000 It.Liras

(471 US Dollars)

Provinces and communes

.

The region is divided in nine provinces: Palermo, Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Ragusa, Siracusa, and Trapani with 390 communes.
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