Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region of Italy. Minor islands around it are also considered to be part of Sicily. Throughout much of its history, Sicily has been considered a crucial strategic location due in large part to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. The area was highly regarded as part of Magna Graecia, with Cicero describing Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece.
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The island was once a city-state in its own right, and as the Kingdom of Sicily ruled from Palermo over southern Italy, Sicily, and Malta. It later became a part of the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons, a kingdom governed from Naples that comprised both the island itself and most of Southern Italy. The Italian unification of 1860 led to the dissolution of this kingdom, and Sicily became an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Italy. Sicily is today an autonomous region of Italy. Of all the regions of Italy, Sicily is the one that covers the largest land area at 25,708 square kilometres (9,926 sq mi) and currently has just over five million inhabitants.