Southern Italy is very different from the north and Sicily is very different from the rest of the south. The island is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina that is only two miles wide at the narrowest point, but the cultural gap is enormous. From Sicily to Tunisia it is only about 100 miles and, historically, the island was strategically important for civilisations going back as far as the Carthiginians and Greeks, for it gave control over maritime traffic between the eastern and western Mediterranean. Many different cultures have left their impressions on the island in their own different ways but the one that always surprises me by its absence is the Roman Empire. Traditionally that is explained as the Romans using the island principally as a source of grain to help feed the growing population of Rome itself. The interior of the island is rugged and mountainous and so the larger towns and cities are to be found on the coastal strip.
The modern capital is Palermo but in ancient times it was Syracuse and the two cities could not be more different so spending time in both gives the visitor a real feel for Sicilian culture. While you are on this beautiful island you may like to visit the places we have suggested,