An Eco-sustainable World
Nature to be saved



Sicily is an autonomous Italian region with a special statute of about 4,800,000 inhabitants, with the capital Palermo.
The territory of the region consists almost entirely of the island of the same name, the largest of the Italian and Mediterranean islands, the seventh in Europe, as well as the 45th largest island in the world, bordered to the north by the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the west by the Channel of Sicily, to the southwest by the Sicilian Sea, to the southeast by the Malta Channel, to the east by the Ionian Sea and to the northeast by the Strait of Messina, which separates it from Calabria, with the remainder being made up of the archipelagos of Aeolian, Egadi and Pelagie, as well as from the islands of Ustica and Pantelleria. It is the largest region in Italy and the fifth largest by population (after Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Veneto). Its territory is divided into 391 municipalities, which in turn consist of three metropolitan cities (Palermo, Catania and Messina) and six free municipal consortia.

Etymology –
The etymology of the term “Sicily” has ancient and complex origins. The name “Sicily” comes from the Latin “Sicilia”, which in turn has Greek roots.
It is believed that the name of the region derives from the ancient Greek word “Σικελία” (Sikelía), which in turn derives from the term of the indigenous Sican dialect “Sicel” or “Sicul”. The indigenous Sicans were an autochthonous people who inhabited the island before the arrival of the Greeks.
The term “Sicel” or “Sicul” could be related to the name of a tribe or an ethnic group present on the island. However, the precise origins of these terms are not entirely clear. Some scholars suggest that they may be related to the word’s Indo-European or pre-Indo-European roots.
During Antiquity, Sicily was a rich and strategically important region, conquered and influenced by various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Each culture has left its mark on the island, but the name “Sicily” has kept its Greek roots to this day.
In conclusion, the etymology of the term “Sicily” is linked to Greek roots and could originate from the ancient native tribes of the island.

Geographic Features –
Sicily is a large island located in the Mediterranean Sea and represents the largest region of Italy. It has several geographical characteristics that make it unique. Here are some of the main geographical features of Sicily:
– Mountains and hills: Sicily is dominated by several mountain ranges, including the Nebrodi Mountains, the Madonie Mountains, Etna, the Peloritani Mountains and the Iblei Mountains. Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and stands majestically in the Sicilian landscape, with its peak reaching 3,329 meters in height. Hills are spread across the island, creating picturesque landscapes.
– Coasts: Sicily is surrounded by the sea on all sides, and its coast extends for over 1,000 kilometres. The coasts present a great variety, with stretches of sandy beaches, secluded bays, rocky cliffs and picturesque coves. Some of the more popular coastal towns include Taormina, Cefalù, Syracuse, Agrigento and Trapani.
– Minor islands: In addition to its main extension, Sicily also includes several smaller islands. The Aeolian Islands, located north of Sicily, are a volcanic archipelago made up of seven main islands, including Stromboli and Vulcano. The Egadi Islands, located in the western part of Sicily, include Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo.
– Plains and valleys: Despite the predominance of mountains and hills, Sicily also has some fertile plains and valleys. The Piana di Catania, located in the eastern part of the island, is one of the most productive areas for agriculture in Sicily. The Valley of the Temples, near Agrigento, is an important archaeological area which presents a landscape of ancient ruins and olive groves.
– Rivers and lakes: Sicily doesn’t have many significant rivers, but it does have some important waterways. The Simeto river is the longest in Sicily, with a length of about 113 kilometers. The Alcantara river, in the northeastern part of the island, is famous for its spectacular gorges and waterfalls. Sicily also has a few lakes, including Lago Pergusa and Lago Pozzillo.
These are just some of the geographical characteristics that make Sicily a unique and fascinating place from a landscape point of view.

Historical Notes –
Sicily, an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, is steeped in history and has an ancient culture dating back millennia. Below are some significant historical notes about Sicily:
– Prehistory: Human presence in the region dates back to around 12,000 years ago, during the Stone Age. Neolithic settlements such as the Grotta dell’Addaura and the Grotta dei Genovesi testify to this ancient human presence.
– Phoenicians and Greeks: In the 8th century BC, the Phoenicians founded several colonies along the western coast of Sicily, such as Mozia and Palermo. Subsequently, the Greeks, led by settlers from city-states such as Megara and Corinth, established numerous city-states on the east coast, including Syracuse, Agrigento and Taormina. Sicily became an important center for Magna Graecia, with thriving cities, works of art and a rich culture.
– Roman domination: In the 3rd century BC, Sicily fell under Roman rule after the Punic wars with Carthage. During the Roman period, Sicily became a granary of the Empire, supplying grains and other valuable resources. Cities such as Syracuse and Catania were greatly developed under Roman rule.
– Barbarian Invasions: In the 5th century AD, the Western Roman Empire fell to the siege of the barbarians. Sicily was invaded by the Vandals and later by the Goths, who sacked many of the island’s cities. However, in the 6th century, the Byzantine Empire managed to reconquer Sicily.
– Arab period: In the 9th century, Sicily was invaded by the Muslim Arabs, led by the general Asad ibn al-Furat. The Arabs introduced Islam to the island and ruled for about 200 years. During this period, Sicily became a cultural and scientific centre, with cities such as Palermo flourishing as the capitals of the Emirate of Sicily.
– Norman period: In the 11th century, the Normans, led by Ruggero I d’Altavilla, invaded Sicily and managed to conquer it after decades of conflict. The Norman domination led to a fusion of cultures between the Normans, the Arabs and the Greeks. Monreale Cathedral, built in this period, is a remarkable example of Norman-Arab architecture.
– Kingdom of Sicily: In the 12th century, Sicily became an independent kingdom under the control of the Swabian dynasty, followed by the Angevin dynasty and then by the Aragonese dynasty. During this period, the island underwent periods of prosperity and conflict, with cities such as Palermo becoming important cultural centres.
– Spanish period: In the 15th century, Sicily passed under the dominion of Spain after the victory of Ferdinand of Aragon in the War of the Vespers. Spanish rule lasted until the 18th century and led to significant Spanish cultural influences on the island.
-Italian unification: In 1860, with the arrival of Garibaldi and his troops, Sicily joined the Kingdom of Sardinia in the process of Italian unification. However, southern Italy, including Sicily, continued to suffer from socio-economic problems.
These are just some of the significant historical notes on Sicily.

Ecosystem –
The ecosystem of Sicily is extremely varied and rich in biodiversity. The island, located in the Mediterranean Sea, is home to a wide variety of natural habitats, including mountains, hills, plains, coasts and seas.
One of the distinctive features of the Sicilian ecosystem is the presence of Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The slopes of Etna are covered by forests of pine, oak, chestnut and other tree species. This area is also known for its endemic flora, with numerous plants found only in this region.
The Sicilian coasts overlook the Mediterranean Sea and are characterized by a great variety of marine environments. There are numerous marine reserves, such as the Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro, which are home to a rich diversity of marine flora and fauna, including corals, sponges, fish and marine mammals such as monk seals.
The plains and hills of Sicily are mainly used for agriculture, with the cultivation of wheat, olives, citrus fruits, grapes and other plants. These areas are often characterized by Mediterranean vegetation, with shrubs such as mastic, cistus and rosemary.
The mountainous areas of the interior are home to coniferous forests, such as loricate pine and silver fir, along with a variety of wildlife, including deer, wild boar, foxes and several species of birds of prey.
Sicily is also known for its lakes, such as Lago Pergusa, which are an important staging area for migratory birds.
However, the Sicilian ecosystem also faces some challenges, such as deforestation, loss of natural habitats due to urbanization and the presence of invasive species that threaten local biodiversity.
To protect and preserve the Sicilian ecosystem, several protected areas have been established, including national parks, nature reserves and marine reserves. These areas are managed to conserve the island’s unique flora and fauna and to promote sustainable tourism and environmental education.

Flora –
Due to its conformation, morphology and geographical position, Sicily is characterized by vegetation with a rich biodiversity.
In coastal areas up to 200 meters above sea level the presence of olive and carob trees is very high.
In areas where there is more presence of water, the existence of Mediterranean Maquis is relevant, while in the driest areas there is the Mediterranean Prairie and Cisto Maquis.
Unfortunately, due to fires, pastures and anthropic pressure, the Mediterranean Evergreen Forest and the Mediterranean Deciduous Forest present in the areas of Etna, Nebrodi and Madonie have been particularly reduced.
Up to about 800 meters above sea level the vegetation is made up of strawberry trees, myrtle, holm oaks, cysts, tree heath, euphorbia, cork, and various species of broom.
Between 800 and 1,200 meters above sea level there are many sulites, vetches, wheat, clovers, wild lilies, dog roses, wild pears, wild plums and rowan trees.
From 1,200 to 1,400 meters above sea level there are oak, Turkey oak, oak and downy oak formations.
Then arriving at the mountain range, over 1,200 meters above sea level. there are beech forest extensions and a variegated undergrowth made up of Sicilian hawthorn, butcher’s broom, yew and holly. Very present are also the sycamore maple (with a height of 20 m, the largest in Italy is on the Nebrodi), the Hungarian maple, the mountain elm, the wild apple tree and the Sicilian witchcraft.
Above 2,000 meters above sea level, especially in the Etna area, there are large numbers of beech, pine, birch and chestnut trees, as well as saponara, astragalus, moss and lichen.
Agriculture also contributes with its remarkable biodiversity, the result of thousands of years of work and selection of farmers. There are vast areas of citrus, hazelnut, almond, olive and grape vines.
The Sicilian flora has several exclusive species including the Branciforti orchid, the half-moon orchid, the Nebrodi fir, the cross grass, the Sicilian astrangle, the Nebrodi astrangle, the Todaro limonium, the rare Sicilian zelkova, cupani broom, Nebrodi violet, Nebrodi garlic, Nebrodi alyssum, Sicilian iris, Aeolian cytisus.
Furthermore, already used by “our grandparents”, capers, prickly pears and sweet oranges are studied more than ever today in the medical field.

Wildlife –
Sicily boasts one of the greatest biodiversity also in the faunal field. In ancient times it was populated by a variety of fauna that has now disappeared and changed due to the transformation of environmental factors as well as man’s neglect. This is testified by the discovery of many fossils of species now extinct such as elephants, deer, lions, rhinos and bison. Nonetheless, Sicily still retains a remarkably varied fauna.
There are many mammals that populate it including martens, wild cats, porcupines, dormice, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, foxes, mice, bats and some endemics such as the Cirneco dell’Etna.
The avian fauna is also very diversified, especially in the eastern part of Sicily where there are dippers, sparrowhawks, buzzards, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, crows, hoopoes, coots, kestrels, tits, owls, herons, woodcocks, kingfishers.
In the western area it is more frequent to find nuthatches, spotted woodpeckers, blackbirds, wrens, great tits, blackcaps, blue tits, treecreepers. The endemic among the invertebrates is instead represented by some species of butterflies (Parnasso Apollo of Sicily), grasshoppers (Stenobotro lineato), coleoptera (Schurmannia of Sicily).
The Sicilian fish fauna is also important, in the past more flourishing, today it is represented by sea bass, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, swordfish, prawns, saddled bream, grouper, conger eels, moray eels, oysters and mussels.
To defend them from extinction, some species of crustaceans, spirographs, gorgonaceans, porifera and molluscs have been protected with the establishment of numerous reserves on the island.
Due to the overheating of the sea, some tropical species are also sporadically visible.
Among the reptiles residing in Sicily there are vipers, grass snakes, frogs, toads, tortoises, lizards, geckos.

Environmental Protection Actions –
Environmental Safeguard Actions in Sicily may concern various initiatives aimed at protecting and preserving the natural environment of the island. Here are some examples of actions that could be implemented:
– Protection of nature reserves: Sicily is rich in nature reserves and protected areas, such as the Etna Park, the Zingaro Reserve and the Stagnone Islands Reserve. Environmental conservation actions may include the management and conservation of these areas, for example through monitoring biodiversity, controlling harmful human activities and promoting sustainable practices.
– Pollution reduction: An important environmental protection action is the reduction of atmospheric, water and soil pollution. This can be achieved through the implementation of effective waste management policies, the promotion of renewable energies and the adoption of measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
– Promotion of sustainable tourism: Sicily is a popular tourist destination, and promoting sustainable tourism can contribute to environmental protection. This may include raising awareness among tourists of the importance of environmental conservation, promoting environmentally friendly tourism activities and regulating tourism activities to avoid negative impacts on the environment.
– Protection of water resources: Sicily faces significant challenges related to the management of water resources. Environmental conservation actions can focus on water conservation, promoting sustainable irrigation practices, reducing water waste and preserving aquatic ecosystems.
– Environmental awareness and education: Environmental awareness and education are essential to involve the community in environmental protection. This can be done through educational programs in schools, public awareness campaigns and the promotion of sustainable behaviours.
These are just some examples of environmental protection actions that could be implemented in Sicily. The implementation of these actions requires collaboration between public institutions, environmental organizations, local communities and citizens to ensure environmental protection and long-term sustainability.

Guido Bissanti

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