History

Brief overview of Sicily history including facts and world war two history and an insight into Sicilian architecture and mosaics.

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At the foot of Mount Eurako or San Calogero, Caccamo rises majestically on a hill 520m above sea level along the valley of the San Leonardo river known nowadays as Lago Rosamarina.

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It is from these two features, the headland and head shaped rock, that Cefalù’s name is thought to derive, from the Greek Kephale, or head.

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Collesano is a town in the Palermo province, standing on the slopes of Mount Grotta del Signore. It is surrounded by a fine mountainous landscape with plenty of naturalistic riches.

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Enna is called the “lookout of Sicily” or the “navel of Sicily” being the centre of the island and the highest capital of an Italian province at 948m.

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The origins of Geraci date back to 550 BC when the Greeks first settled in this area of the Madonie. The name “Geraci” probably derives from the Greek ‘Jerax’ meaning vulture.

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The sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna is perched high on the Pizzo San Angelo 800m above sea level. Said to be the first on the island to be dedicated to the Madonna.

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The town boasts an historical importance. Although probably founded by the Romans, as a coin discovered at the area seems to confirm, the town design betrays clear Arab-Medieval features.

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Isnello is a starting-point for excursions on foot through the surrounding area. It occupies a fine position clinging to the rock in the middle of a gorge surrounded by high limestone walls. Its narrow streets reveal a typical medieval layout.

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The interior is breath-taking, the most extensive area of Christian medieval mosaics in the world, the apex of Sicilian Norman art.

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Founded by the Phoenicians in the VII century BC and called Ziz, meaning flower, it was subsequently conquered by the Romans who gave it the name Panormus (coming originally from the Greek meaning ‘big port’).

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The Parco Naturale Regionale delle Madonie is the highest mountain range on the island, and on clear days boasts views right across the island to the snow-capped peak of Mount Etna, the island’s highest peak.

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The town first became important during the Roman period when it was a centre for grain distribution to the Roman Empire.

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Petralia Sottana appears to have started in the Middle Ages as a feudal dependency of Soprana

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The town has elusive origins. It seems to have played a major role in ejecting the Arab invaders.

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Pollina’s character was forged in the Middle Ages and the maze of narrow streets making up its town centre retain a charming medieval character and steeped in Sicilian history.

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The name Sant’Ambrogio was given due to the presence of an old shrine dedicated to the doctor of the Church, Sant’Ambrogio of Milano.

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San Mauro Castelverde, and the San Mauro mountain, take their name from a piece of the skull of the Saint which Benedictine monks are said to have given to the town.

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The small hilltop settlement began as troglodyte community contemporary with the Sicani, dating around 1,000 BC.

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The little town was founded in 856 by the people who escaped Haleasea as it was being razed by the Arabs. Built from the building blocks of the excavated site of Haleasea.

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A marvellously luxurious hunting lodge / country mansion, it was built for one of the wealthiest men in the Roman Empire, almost certainly Maximian (Maximianus Herculeus), co Emperor with Diocletian -as part of a Tetrarchy- between 286 and 305 AD.

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