Sicily (Italian and Sicilian: Sicilia) is an autonomous region of Italy. Of all the regions of Italy, Sicily covers the largest land area at 25,708 km² and currently has five million inhabitants. It is also the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, several much smaller islands surrounding it are also considered to be part of Sicily.
Throughout much of its history, Sicily has been considered a crucial strategic location due in large part to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. The area was highly regarded as part of Magna Graecia, with Cicero describing Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece.
Although a region of Italy today, Sicily was once its own country as the Kingdom of Sicily, ruled from Palermo. The kingdom originally ruled over the island, the southern Italian peninsula and Malta before the Sicilian Vespers. It later became a part of the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons, with the capital in Naples rather than Sicily. Since that time the Italian unification has taken place and Sicily is now an autonomous part of Italy.
Sicily is considered to be highly rich in its own unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, cuisine, architecture and even language. The Sicilian economy is largely based on agriculture (mainly orange and lemon orchards); this same rural countryside has attracted significant tourism in the modern age as its natural beauty is highly regarded. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica and the Valley of the Temples.