The Sicily region consists of the island of Sicily itself, plus a number of smaller islets. The capital of the region, which consists of 9 provinces, is Palermo. It is the largest region by area, and the fourth largest by population of Italy. Since the island has been occupied by different peoples over the centuries, it probably can boast the most eclectic cultural heritage of the entire country.
Sicily travel guide
The provinces into which the region is divided are called Messina, Catania, Siracusa, Ragusa, Catanissetta, Agrigento, Trapani, Palermo and Enna. The last of these nine is the only one that does not border the coast anywhere. In total, more than five million inhabitants live on the island.
It needs to be noted that officially there are no provinces in Sicily anymore. In 2015 these were all changed to either “Metropolitan cities” (Palermo, Messina and Catania) or “Free municipal consortiums” (the remaining six).
Province of Messina
Messina is the Sicilian province closest to mainland Italy. The Città Metropolitana di Messina, as the province is now called, consists of 108 municipalities. The capital city is Messina itself. However, the province’s biggest tourist attractions are Taormina and the seven Aeolian Islands. Two of these islands, Stromboli and Vulcano, still have active volcanoes.
Province of Catania
The Città Metropolitana di Catania has over one million inhabitants. The main city is the capital, which is also called Catania. The most famous attraction, however, is Mount Etna, with its multiple craters. Other interesting towns are Acireale and Caltagirone.
Province of Syracuse
What used to be called the province of Syracuse is now, officially, the Libero consorzio comunale di Siracusa. Almost one third of its 400,000 inhabitants lives in the capital, which is also called Syracuse. Other notable cities are Avola and Noto.
Ragusa, capital of the free municipal consortium of the same name, is the southernmost big city of Sicily. The coastline of this province is dotted with picturesque fishing villages. The most important cities, beside the capital, are Modica and Scicli.
Unlike most other Sicilian provinces, the free consortium of Caltanissetta, does not have a very long coast line. Although Gela is the biggest city, Caltanissetta is its capital. These two cities together make up almost half of the inhabitants. One of its towns, Resuttano, is an enclave in the province of Palermo.
The free municipal consortium of Agrigento is located on the south western part of the island. Its capital Agrigento is world famous thanks to the Valley of the Temples. Other interesting cities in this province, which is known for its wine production, are Sciacca and Licata.
The Libero consorzio comunale di Trapani is the westernmost province of Sicily. Just like Agrigento, it is known for its wine production. The capital is Trapani itself, other well known tourist destinations are Marsala and Erice. The island Pantelleria is part of the province, as are the Egadi and the Stagnone Islands.
The province (now “metropolitan city”) of Palermo is the biggest tourist attraction of the island. It is popular both because of its beaches and because of the beauty of its capital Palermo. Cefalù and Bagheria are other well known beach resorts. Corleone is located inland.
The Libero consorzio comunale di Enna is the only province of Sicily without a coast line. Its capital Enna is built on a mountain. The other important city in the area is Piazza Armerina.