Sicily is the largest island (25,426 sq. km.) in the Mediterranean; it is also the most important economically and has the richest heritage of history and art. Its geographical particularity lies in its compact but varied orographical structure, the uniformity of its rivers, the typically Mediterranean climate and the insularity which has helped Sicily to experience homogeneous historical development with originality of custom, art and culture.
Together with the minor Aeolian islands (the Lipari), Ustica, Egadi, Pantelleria and the distant Pelagie, Sicily is the most extensive region in Italy, though it has only the fourth highest population. The population density is slightly higher than the national average.
The island is bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north, the Ionian to the east and the Sicilian Sea to the south-west; the Strait of Messina separates it from Calabria.