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Historical Timetable

VIII-V cent BC.

Greek colonization : the Ionics found: Naxos, Zancle, Leontinoi and Katane. The Dorics found Syracuse (733), Akrai, Megara Hyblaea, Selinunte (627), Gela and Girgenti (580). The Doric temple of Segesta is erected.

V-IV cent. BC.


Syracuse defeats the fleets of Carthage (480) and Athens (415). It routs the Sicels leaded by Ducetius (440). In 406 the tyrant Dionysius I seizes the power. In 366 Plato visits the court of tyrant Dionysius II.

264-241 BC.

First Punic War : Sicily witnesses the battles between Romans and Carthaginians . By the end of the war Sicily becomes a Roman province.

212 BC.

In the course of the Second Punic War , Syracuse is sacked by Romans. The Syracusan scientist Archimedes is mistakenly murdered by the Roman soldiers who were ordered to spare him.

70 BC.


Cicero visites Sicily to collect evidences of governor Verres' bribery.
In 67 Pompeius frees Mediterranean Sea from piracy.

II cent BC.

The Greek-Roman Theatre

The Romans restore the Greek theatre in Taormina, which had been built during the previous century, making it a masterpiece of theatre architecture.


The invasion by the Goths (486) leaded by Odoacre follows the conquest by the Vandals leaded by Genseric . In 491 Theodoric becomes king of Sicily.


Emperor Justinian sends the general Belisarius to Sicily, and he conquers the island after a brief campaign.


San Cataldo Church

Arabs begin their conquest of the island from Marsala. Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold, falls in 902. During the following 250 years Arabs reign over Sicily until the fall of Noto (1091).

XI-XII cent.

After 1061, the Normans leaded by Roger de Hauteville defeats Arabs and conquer the island. The Swabian Henry IV marries Constance de Hauteville(1186).


Reign of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen and flourishing of Sicilian culture. He patronizes the Sicilian School of poetry, which produces the first samples of written Italian literature.


Sicilian Vespers by Francesco Hayez

Charles of Anjou defeats Manfred, Frederick II's son , in Benevento, thus becoming king of Sicily. The king rules the island from Naples. In Palermo the popular insurrection known as Sicilian Vespers breaks out (1282) resulting in the war between Angevins and Aragonese.


Peace of Caltabellotta . The reign of Sicily passes to Frederick III of Aragon . The Spanish were to rule until the early '700. In 1415 Juan de Pen was appointed first viceroy.

XVII cent.

Ancient Coin - Val di Noto Earthquake 1693

In 1624 Palermo suffers a ferocious outbreak of plague, which causes the death of hundreds of people every day. In 1693 a devastating earthquake destroys several towns in Easstern Sicily, causing 60.000 dead.


As a result of the Spanish Succession War , the reign of Sicily is ruled by the Savoy dynasty . In 1720 it is ceded to the Austrian in return for Sardinia. In 1735 Charles III of Bourbon ascends the throne.


Ferdinand I of Bourbon

The Congress of Vienna , which was convened to determine the new shape of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon, acknowledges Ferdinand I of Bourbon as King of the Reign of Two Sicilies.


The popular upraise leaded by Salvatore La Masa along with Rosolino Pilo forces king Ferdinand II of Bourbon to enact a Constitution . After his restoration, the King abolishes the Constitution and begins a systematical persecution of rebels.


On May 11 th Garibaldi lands at Marsala with his army of one thousand soldiers (the so-called Mille ), and defeats the insignificant resistance offered by the Bourbon king. Sicilians vote in favour of the annexation to the reign of Savoy with a plebiscite.


Giovanni Verga

While sojourning at the Hotel des Palmes in Palermo, Richard Wagner completes his Parsifal . In the same year Giovanni Verga publishes I Malavoglia.


A 7.2 Richter scale earthquake destroys Messina. The death toll is estimated to be at least 80.000 out of 130.000 inhabitants.


On July 10 th the Allied army lands on the coast between Licata and Syracuse. On September 8 th the armistice between Allies and Italy is signed. The Autonomistic Movement for Indipendent Sicily is founded.


A government decree lays down Regional autonomy . In 1947 Salvatore Giuliano and his band of gangsters kill 11 farmers during a trade-unionist demonstration in Portella della Ginestra, near Palermo.


The Leopard

The novel Il Gattopardo by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is published posthumously. In 1963 Luchino Visconti makes a movie out of it.


A horrible earthquake strikes Belice Valley killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands homeless. In the following years the government's failing policy for relief and reconstruction shocks Italian public opinion.


Mafia wipes out all its opposers: Judge Terranova , President of the Sicilian Region Mattarella , Judge Costa , General of Carabinieri Dalla Chiesa , Regional Deputy La Torre, Judges Chinnici and Ciaccio Montalto.


Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino

Judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino , symbols of the fight against mafia are murdered along with their police escort. Sicilian people condemns Mafia and asks national government to intervene in Sicily with the Army to support local police forces.


“Cosa Nostra”'s boss Totò Riina is caught .


Libera Antimafia Associations

Libera” (associations, names and numbers against mafias) is founded . It aims at coordinating and promoting events to educate Sicilian people to legality.


National government issues a legislative decree for the erection of a Bridge across the Strait of Messina . Inauguration is due in 2012, but a few years later next government wil revoke the decree.


Bernardo Provenzano Capture

In April Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano is captured in the countryside surrounding Corleone. He had been on the run for more than 40 years.

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