Thursday, July 6, 2017

Virtual Sicily: An Overview/History

Like a rough hewn stone at the very tip of Italy's boot- Sicila (Sicily) The island is located 3.5 miles offshore across the Strait of Messina.

Today we begin.

 Ciao, Sicilia!

It is an autonomous region of Italy made up of Sicily and several smaller satellite islands.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Nearly 10,000 square miles.

It is also home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Mount Etna.

Already, in 2017,  Mount Etna has erupted in February,March,April and May.

There are also 15 major rivers which criss-cross Sicily and drain into the Mediterranean.

The island,triangular in shape, has been inhabited by humans since roughly
12,000 BC.

The Sicilian flag bears the Tricerina...

whose meaning we will explore in greater detail later on our virtual journey.

It has had both Phonetician and Greek Colonies, was the site of the Sicilian and Punic Wars, and has been ruled in turn by the Greeks,The Romans, The Byzantine Empire, The Arabs,The Normans,The Germans,The French and Spain. At one time or another it was conquered by...well...pretty much everybody.

The terrain is mostly hilly and rocky and is cultivated intensely in the areas that can be cultivated. This soil is rich and fertile because of the past volcanic activity.

It has a Mediterranean Climate with mild wet winters and hot dry summers.The maximum summer temperature recorded 119 degrees. 90-100 degree days are common.

The original inhabitants, The Sicels, are thought to have originated from Liguria. They were later homogenized into Greek Culture. During Greek rule the island was cultivated with Olive trees and grapes. The Saracean Olive Groves are huge and some of the oldest surviving.

Because of the large number of overthrows through her history, Sicily is a vast melting pot of cultures, genetic make-up and ethnicities.

The area is known for its olives and olive oil, artichokes, almonds,grapes and wines,lemons,tomatoes, pistachios, cheeses,honey and chocolate production.

Hold the phone...Sicily has their own CHOCOLATE production?

Sicila Salame Cioccolato (Palermo)

That's it...I'm HOME.

Must try this!

Sicily is also known for its liquors. Limocello, Sicilian Strawberry Liquor and Basicello.

All of which we will learn to make over the next several weeks.

More anon...

 Overview of Sicily