Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is an autonomous region of Italy. The minor islands around it are also considered to be part of Sicily.
Throughout much of its history, Sicily has been considered a crucial strategic location due to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes.
The island was once a city-state in its own right, and as the Kingdom of Sicily ruled from Palermo over southern Italy, Sicily, and Malta. Later it became a part of the Two Sicily’s under the Bourbons, a kingdom which governed from Naples that consisted of both the island itself and most of Southern Italy. The unification of Italy in 1860 led to the dissolution of this kingdom, and Sicily became an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Today, Sicily is still an autonomous region of Italy and covers the largest land area at 25,708 square kilometres and currently has just over five million inhabitants.
Sicily has its own unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, cuisine, architecture and language. The Sicilian economy is largely based on agriculture, much of which is orange and lemon orchards. The agricultural natural beauty has attracted significant tourism. Sicily has many important archaeological and ancient sites such as the Valley of the Temples.