Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean. However, what most people first think of when they hear it mentioned, is what Tony Soprano calls "that thing of ours', or, to use the word they so much like to avoid, -- the Mafia. Well, apparently, the organization stems from Sicily. But did you know that not only is Italy's crime rate much lower than of most West European countries (especially when compared to the United Kingdom or France), but that within Italy Sicily has a considerably lower frequency of crime than the big cities of the North - like Milan or Turin. So regarding this it is quite essential to tell stereotypes from reality!
Sicily has a population of five million, and with an area of 25 thousand square kilometers, it occupies roughly eight per cent of the Italian land. Palermo is the island's biggest city and also its capital.
Sicily's climate is classified as Mediterranean, but also as Subtropical. Since the summers are very dry, the heat actually appears a lot milder than it really is. It has been said that a winter on Sicily seems a bit like a spring in Paris. Sounds good, doesn't it? The Italian mainland is not far from the island - at one point the distance is just about five kilometers. Sicily's landscape is fairly varied. There are high mountains, plains, beautiful, sandy beaches, but also high cliffs - and then, of course, there is a famous volcano: Mount Etna, standing 3,329 meters high, Europe's second biggest active volcano. Its last eruption was in 2008. Approaching Etna as close as possible - this is one thing, among so many others, that adventurer tourists like to do on Sicily.