Because of Sicily's history, there is a richness of cultures that transcend time.  Sicilians are very proud people, even conceited, and in their own words quite perfect and do not need to change their ways . They will not cooperate easily but instead prefer to lead .  They are very hard on each other in the struggle  for power. This creates great tension and restlessness. Sicilians are very secretive and quite insecure.  They appear to be religious, even devoted,  yet they seem to lack spirituality . (These masters of their own destiny  fear death like no-one else ).  Many Sicilians left the island in the past in desperation looking for a better future elsewhere, some still go back hoping to see some improvements, only to find the same contradictions.  Some things have changed but too much still remains the same. Sicily is part of Italy  but could easily be a separate country .  People speak Italian and live Italian lifestyles, but with  an entirely different culture; they have different dialects, have a very different cuisine  than in the Northern part of Italy, and live quite different lives. There once were strong influences from Greeks, Roman, Norman, Spanish and Arabs and this can be seen in people and in the different architectural heritage.  For example in Cefalu'  the old church used to be a Norman church then later became a Spanish mosque. Monreale has strict Norman roots and not much has been changed there. The differences are very widely in evidence everywhere In Sicily. There are many historic places and more Greek ruins than in Greece itself.  Then there are destinations like Taormina, a fashionable hill  top town  which is nice but  feels a lot less like the real Sicily . There are many villages in very remote places worth a visit just for the spectacular views and cities that can be challenging like Palermo, with its anarchic drivers. Messina and  Catania are also interesting places but again are a nightmare for driving and parking.  A warning to all drivers, All big cities  in Sicily should be avoided unless one is quite hardy.

Sicilians lives are a contradiction in many ways, one of which is the need to project a good image of themselves, which they call  bella figura, and that would be fine - everyone likes to impress after all,  but the very odd thing in Sicily is that no one seems to notice, care, or do anything about the external conditions of their towns, villages and architectural heritage. In their homes and on their person they  may be spotless but their surroundings are often squalid and neglected.  Anyone who wishes  to get rid of some rubbish will do so without even thinking of the eye-sore they are creating.  It is  almost a form of abuse by some and a total disregard for all that is considered civilized, yet 'bella figura'  does not figure here very strongly often resulting in tired looking and dull places that otherwise would have so much to offer. Most visitors will notice this and get a bad impression.  One wonders where  the people are who should care about these things. Unemployment is high in Sicily and so much could be changed to improve things if  only they would care less about their personal 'bella figura' and more about their environment:  Sicily is crying out for some tender loving care and deserves better

Now on a much lighter note...... Sicilians peculiarly seem to be afraid of draughts even in the summer because they fear ''catching their death''  so it is not surprising that in the winter they wrap up, but the winter months are usually very mild. For those who want to explore winter would be ideal, you could also include skiing as a unique experience on Mount Etna.  If you are a sun lover, however, stick to the summer months for a good roasting!