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One of the most beautiful places on the Earth, Sicily recently was associated only with mafia. Now the situation has completely changed. Mafia is almost defeated and the island has become travelers’ paradise, very popular resort whose beauty is supplemented with the wide range of architectural and cultural attractions.
Sicily is a mix of cultures and nations. The explanation lies in its rich history. During the centuries Sicily was ruled by Asians, Africans and Europeans that formed the special Sicilian nation. On the island you can still see Phoenician settlements, Punic cities, Greek temples, Roman amphitheatres, Norman Arab castles and Aragonese churches.
Cities with the Greek origin are mostly situated on the west side of the island. These cities are Selinunte, Segesta, Siracusa and Agrigento. There, on the West also lies the impressive Valley of Temples.
The architectural style of the cities in the Eastern part of Sicily was formed under the Baroque influence, and received the name of the Sicilian Baroque. The most outstanding cities of the East are Ragusa, Modica, Scicli, Ispica and Noto. Magnificent “stone gardens”, remains of the Sicilian Baroque era are included in World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Other interesting towns to visit on Sicily are Taormina, called the “pearl of the Ionian Sea”, Enna, which is “Sicily’s belly button”, “the ceramic town” Caltagirone and Catania, with its Baroque palaces. Catania is also known for its intense nightlife.
The capital of Sicily, Palermo, is an ancient city founded between the 8th and the 6th century B.C. Palermo stands on the shore of its own wide bay underneath the limestone bulk of Monte Pellegrino. The historical part of Palermo strikes with the fusion of Arabic and Viking influences, reflected in the medieval buildings of the 11th and 12th centuries. Palazzo dei Normanni is the best sample of the style.
All the cities on Sicily are not very big. Palermo, the biggest one, has the population of 652 000. The typical Sicilian city is more like village with small houses, and the cozy atmosphere of a place where everybody knows each other.
The best of Sicily is its nature. You can never forget the beautiful landscapes of hills, vineyards, olive groves, almond orchards and endless wheat fields. Sicily is an island and, thus, is surrounded by the sea so blue that it seems unreal. In addition, I should mention, that the sea is not only beautiful, but also very good for swimming. Nearby Sicily you also can find a huge amount of the small islands, which are also worth visiting.
Above the blue of the sea and the greenery of the fields rise magnificent mountains. Europe's greatest natural wonder, Mount Etna is situated on Sicily.
The other thing Sicily is famous for is its cuisine. Like all on the island, the food represent a refined mix of East and West. The main ingredient is fish. As a land with a lot of vineyards, Sicily has its own wines that are rapidly becoming world-popular.
This island, separated from the other parts of Italy has its special magic and is the perfect place for rest.
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