Sicily. Island of myths and monsters, meeting place of cultures, hub of naval trade routes, source of artistic inspiration and of great material wealth, and much-coveted strategic location in the Mediterranean. Phoenician and Greek colonists were the first outsiders to settle on Sicily and enjoy the riches that the sea and the fertile soil brought them.
They were followed by a bewildering variety of invaders over the ages: from Romans and Byzantines through Arabs and various European dynasties up to the Allies during the Second Wrold War. All thes cultures – sometimes living in peace, sometimes at war, always influencing each other – left their traces on the island itself and in the sea surrouding it. Inspired by Sicily’s archaeological and cultural treasures, this book offers an overview – or perhaps rather an anthology, since a complete survey, if at all possible, would soon become stifling – of the island’s history and culture, paying attention not only to ancient and medieval shipwrecks, battles, economy and art, but also to typically Sicilian traditions (from folk-tales and tuna fishing to mafia fighters), modern politics, and the poets, novelists and film makers who lived on Sicily or were inspired by its unique character.