Sicily and Naples, Italy

By | January 4, 2022


Sicily (Italian Sicilia), largest island in Italy and the Mediterranean, with 25 426 km2 and 5.02 million residents (2017); The capital is Palermo.

According to smber, Sicily lies south of the Italian peninsula, from which it is separated by the Strait of Messina; the highest mountain is Mount Etna (3 295 m). Wine, olives, citrus fruits, wheat and corn are grown in Sicily; While sulfur mining and sea salt extraction have declined sharply, asphalt mining and oil and gas extraction are becoming increasingly important. Tourism is an important source of income.

History: With the beginning of the 1st millennium BC The Phoenicians immigrated in the 3rd century BC and the Greeks immigrated from the middle of the 8th century. They founded branches in the east and south of Sicily; the west with Panormus (today Palermo) was in the hands of the Carthaginians. In the 1st  Punic War (264–241 BC) the Romans conquered the island, which became the breadbasket of Rome as the province of Sicilia.

In the 5th century. AD. Was Sicily from the Vandals 493 of Ostrogoths, 535/555 of Byzantium and in the 9th century by Arabs conquered.

From the 11th century onwards, Sicily experienced a heyday under the Normans and Staufers (in 1130 it became part of the Kingdom of Naples). Then the island fell to the French Anjou, later to Aragon, 1720 to Austria, 1735 to the Spanish Bourbons. In October 1860, Sicily joined the Kingdom of Italy after a referendum.

Sicilian expedition

Sicilian expedition, the expedition of the Athenians against Syracuse (415–413 BC). The occasion was a cry for help from Segesta, who was connected to Athens and who was at war with Selinus (now Selinunt), who was supported by Syracuse. The aim was to incorporate Sicily into the Athenian sphere of power. The initiator and leader of the company was – alongside Nikias and Lamachos  - Alkibiades. With his recall and flight to Sparta, even before the siege of Syracuse began (May 414), the prospects of success for the Sicilian expedition were slim. Nicias and Lamachos were unable to gain support in Sicily or to completely enclose Syracuse. On the other hand, he came to Alcibiades ‘Council of Sparta sent Gylippus to the city and made the situation of the Athenians more and more difficult. Even a squadron sent from Athens under the general Demosthenes did not turn things around. Nicias raised concerns about a timely withdrawal. After the Athenian fleet had been decisively defeated, the departure of the land army led to complete catastrophe. The survivors (7,000 men) came as work slaves in the stone quarries (Latomien), the Athenian generals were executed. In the Peloponnesian War, the Sicilian expedition marked the turning point in favor of Sparta.

Sicilian Vespers

Sicilian Vespers, revolt of the citizens of Palermo against the rule of Charles I of Naples-Sicily (from the house of Anjou), which broke out on Easter Monday (March 30, 1282) at Vespers and spread to all of Sicily. With the intervention of Peter III.of Catalonia-Aragon (inheritance claims as the son-in-law of Manfred Staufer) the conflict took on European proportions. Charles’s policy aimed at conquering Constantinople and creating an Angevin Mediterranean empire had at the same time driven the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII into the anti-Angevine coalition. The defeat of Charles meant the surrender of Sicily to Catalonia-Aragon.


Naples (Italian Napoli), port city in Italy, located on the Gulf of Naples at the foot of Vesuvius, with (2019) 959 200 residents.

Economic and cultural focus of southern Italy, center of attraction for tourism. The university was founded in 1224. The historic center of the city with numerous churches, monasteries and secular buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Castel Nuovo (13th century) was the residence of the kings of Naples.


Naples emerged from an in the 8./7. Century BC A daughter colony founded by the Greek colony Kyme (Cumae) and a neighboring new foundation (Neapolis, “New Town”) in the 5th century. Around 420 the city took in refugees from Kyme and Campanian immigrants; In 326 she made an alliance with Rome, but retained Greek character. 89 BC In BC Neapolis received Roman citizenship, during the imperial period it became a colony. Byzantine since 553, Naples gradually gained autonomy in the 7th century, which it retained until the Duchy of Naples (which also included Cumae, Pozzuoli, Sorrento) was subjugated by Roger II of Sicily in 1139 (History of the Kingdom of Sicily: Naples  ).

With 30,000 residents, Naples was still far behind the northern Italian metropolises in the 14th century. The capital of the Spanish viceroyalty rose in the 16th century to the most populous city in both Italy and Europe (280,000 residents around 1600) and remained so on the peninsula until the beginning of the 20th century, while on a European scale it was already in the 18th century had been surpassed by Paris and London. The city’s history was not only marked by numerous bloody uprisings and their suppression (including 1585, 1647/48 Masaniello, 1798/99), but even more by mass epidemics (including the plague in 1656 with a population loss of around 30%; 1865, 1885 and 1973 cholera) and earthquakes (particularly devastating in 1688, most recently in 1980).

Naples, Italy