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Do Sicilians Feel Italian?

by Jack Guy

Aug 28, 2019

© Anna Lurye | Dreamstime

Trends / History

Sicily has a unique history and the inhabitants of the island sometimes consider themselves separate from the rest of Italy.

While this is true for many regions of Italy, which only became a unified country in 1861, Sicily is a special case. As an island, it has a degree of physical separation from the mainland as well as a complicated history of conquest by a string of different cultures.

This left Sicily with a distinct language, customs and traditions. The Sicilian language is not as common as it once was, but there is a movement to revive its use. It can be hard for Italians to understand the Sicilian language, and even when Sicilians speak classic Italian they have a distinctive accent that marks them out from the rest of the country.

The food is also a key difference, with a focus on seafood as you might expect. There is also the culinary legacy of those different rulers, resulting in a rich series of dessert dishes famous throughout Italy.

Cultural differences also led to some discrimination from northern Italians. As the country developed, economic disparities opened between the increasingly industrialized north and the agricultural south. These continued differences only served to strengthen a sense of Sicilian identity.

 

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