The Sicilian cultural patrimony is not only made of architecture and monuments, rightfully known around the world, but it also is the immaterial fruit of the knowledge and work of its scientists, literates and artists, which have given their fundamental contribution to the greatness of the Italian Culture along the centuries.
Going backwards through time, the first universally known name is that of the scientist and mathematician Archimedes of Siracusa, who lived during the III century B.C., to whom are attributed important discoveries in the fields of math and physics, among which are remembered those regarding the laws that regulate floating bodies, the calculation of volume and surface of a sphere and the principles regarding the way levers work. Well renowned as well is the philosopher, poet and scientist Empedocles (V century B.C.), founder of the famous Sicilian medical school. Among contemporary scientists a place of importance is given to Ettore Majorana from Catania, a physicist who gave important contribution in the field of Nuclear Physics.
For what concerns figurative arts, names such as Antonello da Messina (1430-1479) and Renato Guttuso (1912-1987) cannot be forgotten, just like the sculptor Giacomo Serpotta (1656-1732).
Not only to those who love music are known the names of Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) and Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), the latter known for being the author of some of the most famous opera compositions, such as “Norma” (with the famous “Casta Diva”) and “La Sonnambula”.
Especially in the ambit of literature, the contribution of Sicilian authors was fundamental, beginning from the famous Sicilian Poetic School, born in the XIII century under the court of Emperor Federico II, to whom is owed the first kind of laical literature in Italy.
During the following centuries there are many other famous names to be remembered, first among all those of two Nobel prize winners: the writer and playwright Luigi Pirandello and the poet Salvatore Quasimodo. And still, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – author of the renowned “Il Gattopardo” -, the father of realism Giovanni Verga, Federico De Roberto, Luigi Capuana, Elio Vittorini, Vitaliano Brancati, Leonardo Sciascia, Gesualdo Bufalino, Andrea Camilleri, author of the famous series of thrillers following the famous “Commissario Montalbano”.
As for Cinema, we remember the director Giuseppe Tornatore, winner of an Oscar prize with the beautiful and poetic movie: “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”.
Sicily also is home to illustrious historical characters, such as the tyrant Dionysus I of Siracusa (430-367 B.C.), the Norman king Ruggero II (1095 – 1154) and emperor Federico II of Hohenstaufen (1194 – 1250).
One also can’t forget about the many Sicilians who became famous over the island’s borders, for having dedicated their efforts to the defense of legality, up to the sacrifice of their own lives; not being able of quoting every one of them, we will limit to remembering the names of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who became true and proper icons of the fight against Mafia associations among people.