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Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Tourists not only visit the island to enjoy the sun, sea and beach, but also to sniff some culture because Sicily has many relics from the Ancient Greek Times. The Greeks were the first inhabitants of the island.
Sicily has more than 5 million inhabitants. Almost one quarter lives in and around the major cities Palermo and Catania. Sicilians are proud on their island and when asked for their nationality they often respond 'Sicilian' and not 'Italian'.
Sicily is separated from the southern Italian region Calabria by the Strait of Messina. The island has a triangular shape; the original Roman name for Sicily was Trinacria.
Sicily has an extremely productive soil and therefore agriculture plays an important role in the local economy. The island is known as the granary of Italy and also produces citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes), olives, almonds and (wine)grapes. The wines of the island are world-famous, especially the ones made of the Nero d'Avola grape. This grape has made a truly triumphal procession around the world and has its origin in the south-east of Sicily. The fishing industry is mainly focused on tuna and sardines. The island attracts tourists all year round, but summer time is the busiest time of the year.
There are three important airports in Sicily. The busiest one is the airport of Catania on the east-coast, followed by the capitals' airport Palermo Airport. Trapani also has an airport, but is mainly used by budget airlines.
Sicily has an extended and surprisingly good functioning bus line network. The major towns have frequent bus connections; to the smaller villages buses run minimum once a day. Furthermore the island has a good rail road network: the most important routes are Messina-Palermo and Messina-Catania-Syracuse. There are even trains to Naples and Rome (these trains cross the Strait of Messina by a special train ferry). Palermo and Catania have a subway, while Messina has a light-rail system.
The main roads in Sicily are excellent. There are four highways: Catania-Palermo, Palermo-Mazzara, Catania-Noto and Messina-Palermo (this last one is a toll road). But if you want really want to explore Sicily with your rental car, then avoid these highways and follow the smaller roads. Bear in mind that the inland roads are narrow, curvy and sometimes unpaved.
There is no lack of hotels, guesthouses and other accommodations in Sicily. Obviously most hotels can be found along the (touristic) east-coast and in the larger cities, but also in smaller towns you will not have a problem finding a room.
For more information about Sicily, we recommend Google and the following sources: