Sicily, known in ancient times as Sicania and Trinacria for its triangular shape, is the largest island in the Mediterranean sea with a total area of 25,460 km². Sicily is connected with some surrounding islands and archipelagos: the Aeolian Islands, Ustica, the Aegadian Islands, Pantelleria and the Pelagie Islands. The region is mainly hilly (61.4% of the area), whilst 24.5% is mountainous and the remaining 14.1% is flat (the largest plain is that of Catania).
The geographical features are varied: whilst in eastern Sicily the Sicilian Apennines continue on from the Calabrian Apennines, central and western Sicily are home to isolated massifs. With the exception of the imposing volcano, Mount Etna (3,350 metres), the Madonie mountain range includes the highest peak of the island: Pizzo Carbonara (1,979 metres).
The main rivers of the island are the Salso (or Imera Meridionale) and the Platani, but it should be noted that in the summer these rivers have extremely low water levels. Sicily enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers, mild and rainy winters and very changeable seasons in between. On the coast, especially on the south-west side, the climate is heavily affected by African currents, resulting in torrid summers.
a wine growing and winemaking continent
The land on which the vines are cultivated is of varied morphology and constitution, the result of complex geological and tectonic events that have led to the creation of a particularly complex structure. The latter consists of a basal complex formed of deep autochthonous terrain, a series of distinct geotectonic units consisting of allochthonous terrain overlying the previous one and a post-orogenic complex inherent to recent autochthonous terrain.
The autochthonous terrain of the basal complex emerges in the Hyblaean plateau, the southern Sicanian mountains, the northern Sicanian mountains, the area of Trapani and Monte Iudica, the Madonie mountain range and the mountains of Palermo. The allochthonous terrain emerges mainly in the north-eastern area of the island, in the eastern part of the Madonie mountain range, in the mountains of Palermo and Castellammare del Golfo; terrain from the post-orogenic complex is widely found in the central and southern areas of the island and along the coastal stretches.
As far as the lithological characteristics are concerned, terrain of sedimentary origin emerges in much of Sicily. In terms of soil, the situation is very complex.