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Sicily boasts an incredible cultural heritage with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy: the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento; the archeological area of Syracuse; the Aeolian Islands (Messina province); the Villa Romana del Casale (Enna province); the Val di Noto (Syracuse province); and the Necropolis of Pantalica (Syracuse province). Recently, another one has been proposed: Sicily’s volcano, Mount Etna.
Noto and Ragusa contain some of Italy’s best examples of Baroque architecture, carved in the local red sandstone. Caltagirone is renowned for its decorative ceramics. Palermo is also a major center of Italian opera. Its Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in the world, with a capacity of 1400. Catania is the birthplace of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, born in 1801. The Teatro Massimo Bellini opera house is named after him, and a museum exists on the site of his birth.
Sicily is also home to two prominent folk art traditions, both of which draw heavily on the island’s Norman influence. Donkey carts are painted with intricate decorations of scenes from Norman romantic poems, such as The Song of Roland. The same tales are told in traditional puppet theaters which feature hand-made wooden marionettes, defined a “Masterpiece of the Oral Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO.