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Home Page Medieval castles Literary parks Arts and Traditions General information The Nine Province Contact Us
 
 
Itineraries and Places to discover
  The Nine Province of Sicily
Agrigento Palermo
Caltanissetta Ragusa
Catania Siracusa
Enna Trapani
Messina
   Principal Sicilian Tourist Itineraries

Castles itinerary in the Sicilian Provinces

Fortresses built to defend, they now conquer us with their proud beauty...

The Sicilian Literary Parks

The magic of Sicily in the pages of the Sicilians...

Arts and Popular Traditions itinerary

Precious jewel case to preserve deep roots...

 
 
 

SICILY
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:: Economy

Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil, pleasant climate, and natural beauty. It has a long, hot growing season, but summer droughts are frequent. Agriculture is the chief economic activity but has long been hampered by absentee ownership, primitive methods of cultivation, and inadequate irrigation. The establishment (1950) of the now-defunct Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Southern Italy Development Fund) by the national government led to land ownership reforms, an increase in the amount of land available for cultivation, and the general development of the island's economy. The Mafia, which is still influential, has hindered governmental efforts to institute reforms in the region, and Sicily continues to have an extremely low per capita income and high unemployment, although many workers have “black,” or unreported, jobs.

The chief agricultural products are wheat, barley, corn, olives, citrus fruit, almonds, wine grapes, and cotton; cattle, mules, donkeys, and sheep are raised. There are important tuna and sardine fisheries. Sicily's manufactures include processed food, chemicals, refined petroleum, fertilizers, textiles, ships, leather goods, wine, and forest products. There are petroleum fields in the southeast, and natural gas and sulfur are also produced. Improvements in Sicily's road system have helped to promote industrial development. The chief ports of the island are Palermo, Catania, and Messina.

Agrigento wine industry is one of ancient traditions, it dating from the earliest Greek colonization of the area. The province boasts the second wine output in Sicily. Especially renowned are the Inzolia grape and the spumante wines, among which is the celebrated Grecanico Sei Corone Brut. Marsala, Bianco d’Alcamo and Passito di Pantelleria wines are as much appreciated. Tourism has been one of the province’s main resources, thanks to a myriad of beatiful and diverse attractions. A number of sea resorts along the shoreline are major goals of tourists. Not to mention is the breath-taking Valley of the Temples.

The wine-making is a leading economic industry. Differently than other Sicilian provinces, the field here particularly flourished in the Middle Ages. The Nero d’Avola and Spumante wines are the major labels. A most famous herbal alcoholic digestivo drink is also produced on the area. Craft is, equally, a field of recognized importance; it spans such traditional activities as pipe making (making use of Erica Arborea briar), confectionery (notably the torrone), glass processing and decoration, wood working and restoration, and embroidery.

An intense mining activity was recorded in the past century, notably related to sulphur extraction. Oil – most drilled off Marina di Ragusa’s shore – is refined at the petrochemical plant in Gela, its output accounting for a considerable percentage of the internal consume. Agricultural remains an outstanding source of income and job; the province’s large estates are mainly cultivated with vindes, corn, olive and almond trees, and used for grazing.

The harbor has been a fundamental resource for Catania’s economy. Tourism is remarkably developed, thanks to natural resources like Etna volcano, offering opportunities for excursions or sky vacations, and the splendid Ionian shore, featuring amazing spots, resorts and fishing villages. The province territory is largely covered by vineyards, divided into groups according to their geographical position and type of production. The first group refers to the Etna wines, furtherly splitted into three sub-groups according to the different quality produced. The second group refers to the Caltagirone’s grape varieties. The third and last group concerns the production of bodied and highly alcoholic wines.

The harbor has been a fundamental resource for Catania’s economy. Tourism is remarkably developed, thanks to natural resources like Etna volcano, offering opportunities for excursions or sky vacations, and the splendid Ionian shore, featuring amazing spots, resorts and fishing villages.
The province territory is largely covered by vineyards, divided into groups according to their geographical position and type of production. The first group refers to the Etna wines, furtherly splitted into three sub-groups according to the different quality produced. The second group refers to the Caltagirone’s grape varieties. The third and last group concerns the production of bodied and highly alcoholic wines.

Thanks to its strategic location and to its highly developed harbor, Messina has played an outstanding role in the Mediterranean commercial routes. Its harbor is still a fundamental resource for its economy. The last decades have seen the growth of the wine industry, that Phoenicians, in their day, introduced to the Aeolian archipelago and Messina area. The Romans furtherly developed the field. Among the major wine labels are the Mamertino, the Malvasia of the Aeolian Islands and the Faro. Tourism is an equally important field, largely relying on the province’s naturalistic and historical riches.

Farming is still a major economic resource for Palermo province. Tourism, thanks to the plenty of naturalistic, historical and cultural sites across the province, has much developed in the past decades. The wine industry is today as much important. Boasting an old tradition that is rooted in the Phoenecian occupation of the area in remotest times, it entered a period of alternate decline and revival under the Spanish. Most vineyards are located in the hilly hinterland, notably in the of San Cipirello and Ficuzza districts. Most of production consists of table wines.

Despite its not very propitious climate and grounds, the province of Ragusa is primarily an agricultural area. The hard work of generations of peasants and farmers, intense works of deforestation and reclamation over the centuries have resulted in a modern agriculture with high output and income levels. The technological development of the last years has been also fundamental to the economy.

The Valley of the Ippari river is a major agricultural area, important for the output of early fruit, vegetables, citrus fruit and flowers, and for the presence of the agricultural market of Vittoria, a precious support for the trade and marketing of the products. The hothouse cultivation, mostly located on the coast, is also worth-mentioning.

The industry, that in Sicily has only recently developed in comparison with the rest of Italy, has been played an increasingly important role, and represents today a considerable source of income and employement. The main industrial activities are those involved in processing and marketing the agricultural products.

Thus, a great number of oil and flour mills, cheese, confectionery and wine factories are spread across the entire territory. The building (notably stone, asphalt, and black-stone factories), and the mining industry (oil is extracted in the area of Marina di Ragusa), have been growing rapidly.

The tourism is as much important today, at last able to take advantage of the range of archaeological, artistic and naturalistic riches of the province. Notably, the last decade has seen an outstanding growth, with the construction of new tourism facilities.

 
 

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