- island of Italy, off its S tip
- region of Italy, comprising this island & small nearby islands: 9,926 sq mi (25,708 sq km); pop. 4,966,000; cap. Palermo
An island of southern Italy in the Mediterranean Sea west of the southern end of the Italian peninsula. It was colonized from the eighth century BC by Greeks, who displaced the earlier Phoenician settlers. The next conquerors were Carthaginians, who in turn were conquered by Romans in the third century BC. After a succession of other rulers the island came under the control of the Normans in the 11th century AD and formed the nucleus of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, consisting of Sicily and southern Italy. The island continued to change hands until a later kingdom was conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860 and became part of unified Italy.