A Brief History of Sicily
In this engaging and eye-opening narrative, Alfio Caruso takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the past and present of an island that has encompassed the noblest and darkest pages of Italy’s history. Invaded by all and vanquished by none, the history of the island of Sicily is one of the constant struggles between bloody garbles and resounding volte-faces. Uniquely situated between East and West, Sicily has uniquely distinguished itself as a land of astonishing coexistence between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Frederick II, who created the concept of a unified Italy, made Sicily the center of a cosmopolitan empire, where both Europeans and Muslims were irresistibly lured. There, he created the first school of poetry and a vernacular language. Its past includes peoples from across the globe: the Siculians, for whom it is named, followed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Swabians, and Normans. It has been occupied by Royal and imperial dynasties, like the Aragons, Angevins, Hapsburgs, Bourbons, and finally the Piedmonts under the protective mantle of the British Empire, which allowed Garibaldi to invade and unite the country. As early as 1863 the Italian Savoy monarchy began its initial negotiation – the first of many to come – with Cosa Nostra, which later developed into what we now call The Mafia.
I do not envy God’s heaven because I am well – satisfied to live in Sicily.
To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 1787
Alfio Caruso: an author intolerant of clichés and faithful to irrefutable truth.