Sicily is an island, located off Italy, where lovely wines can be made. Here are some interesting facts about the island:
- Sicily is located just 1.5 miles off the coast of the most southern tip of Italy. It is nearest the big toe of the “boot,” which is Calabria. The gap between is called the "Strait of Messina." There is no bridge connecting the island with the peninsula itself.
- The island stretches over 9,900 square miles, and it's about one-third wider than it is from top to bottom. This makes Sicily the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
- The three seas that surround Sicily are the Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas.
- About four-fifths of Sicily is covered by hills and mountainous terrain. The soil is incredibly fertile, so much of the land is cultivated.
- One of the most famous attractions or notable geological features is Mount Etna, which is an active volcano. Within the last two weeks, Etna has been busily sending ash and smoke into the air, and spewing lava onto the countryside. These are great photos of Etna’s activity, taken at night just this week. The volcanic soils due to Etna’s activity contribute greatly to making good wine on the island.
- Historically, the island of Sicily has been owned by many groups including the Ancient Greeks, the Byzantines, the Arabs, and the Normans.
- At one point during a period of independence, it called itself the Kingdom of Sicily.
- Technically, Sicily is autonomous, based on law, but it remains inexplicably tied to Italy by choice.
- The population of the Sicily today is about 5,000,000 people
- The language of the island is Sicilian, though most residents speak Italian, as well. Though you might think it, Sicilian is not a dialect of Italian; it is a separate language altogether.
- The Valley of the Temples near the city of Agrigento features beautiful, preserved Greek ruins.
- The largest opera house in all of Italy is located in Sicily, in the capital city of Palermo. The Teatro Massimo was built in 1897, and was featured in a big scene in The Godfather, Part Three.
- Palermo is one of the most populated cities in all of Italy. Due to its southern location, it is one of the warmest cities in Europe, and boasts 2,500 hours of sunshine each year, and little to no rain in summer. In 2015, Palermo was named Europe’s capital of street food.
- Speaking of food, Sicily is known for being the place that gave us the cannoli. That delectable, golden-brown tube of flaky pastry filled with ricotta cream.
- Another food specialty from Sicily is the Sfincione or Sicilian pizza. It features a thick crust, topped with tomatoes and other toppings. Cheese is not always a topping, but may be. Other toppings may include anchovies, onions, and herbs.
Now, we talk about Sicilian wine. Based on archeological research, it appears that Sicily was one of the first wine-growing areas in Italy. The majority of winegrowing on the island occurs in the provinces of Trapani, Agrigento, and Palermo. The predominantly red grapes in Sicily include Nero d’Avola, Frappato, and Nerello Mascalese. White wines from here feature grapes like Catarratto, Grillo, Inzolia, and Carricante. Marsala, which is made like sherry, is made in Sicily, from either red or white grapes.
This weekend, City Vino, will be featuring 4 wines hailing from Sicily. The first wine is a a white wine, the 2018 Bodegas Morgante Bianco di Morgante Nero d'Avola, then a rose 2019 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosato, followed by two reds, 2016 La Mura Nero d'Avola, and 2017 Nicosia Fondo Filara Nerello Mascalese. Join us to experience a little bit of Sicily.