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Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea (15,972 sq miles/25,706 sq km), has a vaguely triangular shape and is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north and the Ionic Sea on the east. The Canal of Sicily on the southwest is about 86 miles (140 km) from the African continent. The straight of Messina (1.86 miles/3 km) divides the island from the mainland, Italy, on the northeast. Its territory is mostly hilly; the plains comprise only 14 percent of the territory.
The Sicilian coastline surpasses 620 miles (1,000 km) and 931 miles (1,500 km), if the smaller islands are included. The Northern coastline stretches from Capo Peloro near Messina to Capo Lilibeo near Marsala. In the west, it extends from Marsala to Trapani and changes landscape completely turning into the white of the salt water (saline). The southern coastline, sandy and low, reaches Capo Passero the extreme southern part of Sicily in the province of Ragusa. Still, the Eastern coastline is characterized by the presence of numerous gulfs: Noto, Augusta and Catania. North of Catania, tall hills of calcareous stones from the Peloritan Mountains and lava stones from Mount Etna distinguish the surroundings with spectacular breathtaking views.
Islands and archipelagos
Small islands and archipelagos are to be found around the island: the Aeolian Islands and Ustica north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea; the Aegadian Islands off the coast of Trapani on the west side; and Pantelleria and the Pelagie Islands with Lampedusa in the southwest of the Canal of Sicily. These minor islands offer spectacular settings and unspoiled beaches.
Mountains and volcanoes
The Sicilian Apennines can be considered in part as a continuation of the Calabrian Apennines and are divided in three different sections: the Peloritan Mountains between Messina and Patti (northeast); the Nebrodi Mountains (northwest) and, further west, the Madonie Mountains. Mount Etna is not only the highest mountain in Sicily (10,900 ft/3,323 m), but also the highest active volcano in Europe. Sicily is made up of three volcanic districts: the Aeolian Islands, Etna and the Canal of Sicily.
Most people do not know that Sicily has rivers. The longest one is Salso in the Caltanissetta province, followed by Simeto on the slopes of Mount Etna. Here is a table that lists all the river of the island:
|Salso River||89 miles / 144 km|
|Simeto||70 miles / 113 km|
|Belice||66 miles / 107 km|
|Dittaino||65 miles / 105 km|
|Platani||64 miles / 103 km|
|Gornalunga||50 miles / 81 km|
|Gela (river)||46 miles / 74 km|
|Salso Cimarosa||45 miles / 72 km|
|Torto||36 miles / 58 km|
|Irminio||35 miles / 57 km|
|Dirillo||34 miles / 54 km|
|Verdura||33 miles / 53 km|
|Alcantara||32 miles / 52 km|
|Tellaro||28 miles / 45 km|
|Anapo||25 miles / 40 km|