For centuries, Sicily was the preferred stomping ground for practically any Mediterranean nation with an army.
Conquerors came and went at will from the time of the Punic Wars in 700 BC through successive waves of Mycenaeans, Greeks, Romans, various Germanic tribes, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans before Sicily endured a nal few hundred years under the thumb of rival royal houses in Spain and France. Not until 1860 was the great battle eld commander Garibaldi able to resolve things in a uni ed Italy’s favor. Only then did Sicily become one of Italy’s 20 provinces.
The historic turnover is understandable. Everything about Sicily invites conquest, from its triangular coastline and strategic position in the Mediterranean to the abundance of agricultural wealth throughout its interior. One can see Africa on a clear day looking from Sicily’s southern shores, while up north the Strait of Messina separates island from mainland by a mere two miles. Add to that vast healthy herds of livestock, signi cant mineral deposits, superior soils and a great climate. Small wonder so many wanted a piece of Sicily. They probably thought it was paradise!