Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has long been known as
a 'melting pot' of ancient cultures
due to its location on the major Mediterranean shipping routes. The landscape of Sicily is beautiful and varied. In the north-east, Mount Etna
, with its fertile slopes and valleys, supports a number of vineyards. In the south-east there are the beautiful forest-covered mountains
; the landscape characterised by soft hills, with vineyards, olive groves, almond trees, citrus and the characteristic carob trees.Palermo is the regional capital of Sicily
. For centuries various people, including the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Byzantines, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Normans and the Spanish, dominated the island. Nowadays Palermo remains an exotic mix of many cultures
. The area reflects the diverse history of the region and contains many masterpieces from different periods, including Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture as well as examples of modern art.