Sicilian cuisine is a real art appreciated all over the world. Its origins are ancient and are linked to the history and culture of the island. In ancient times the people who passed through Sicily influenced the current culture of the island.


The first written news of Sicilian cuisine dates back to the Greek era. In ancient times fish was the most popular food in Sicily but also the olive trees and the vineyards were important for the Sicilians. Sicily was rich in grain and the Roman Empire brought some techniques for working wheat in Sicily.

The Arabs brought  a great revolution in Sicilian cuisine. They introduced in Sicily the cultivation of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and many others), sugar cane, rice and different recipes and preparations. The Arabs were the first to distill liqueurs. In this era, there was the spread of Sicilian pasta. The first dish of pasta with sardines was made in Syracuse and it was prepared by an Arab cook.

The Jews introduced garlic fried with olive oil in the sauce. The Normans brought game gastronomy in Sicily. In the Sicilian cuisine there are also French influences such as the use of shortcrust pastry. The Aragonese in the XIII century introduced fried preparations in the Sicilian cuisine. The Spanish brought the ‘’pan di Spagna’’; tomatoes, cocoa, corn and other products that arrived in Sicily after the colonization of America.                                                      

Today every Sicilian city has a great variety of its own traditions and typical food. Today Sicilian cuisine is a wonderful concentration of wisdom and taste. The classic traditional recipes are still appreciated and they are famous all over the world such as Sicilian street food.

Some of the most famous Sicilian foods in the world are: the cassata siciliana, the iris, the cannolo siciliano, the granita and the arancini.

The best known culinary symbols of the island are: almonds, prickly pears, pistachio and olives.


It has very ancient origins; the Greeks ate food, outside their homes, in the streets of the city. Tradition is full of quick and inexpensive preparations and the street food is sold in stalls or kiosks on the street. Rotisseries are spread all over the island. Palermo was ranked the fifth city in the world for street food.

Some Sicilian street foods are:

  • ARANCINI of rice;
  • BOMBA (a snack bar food);
  • CALI E SIMENZA (chickpeas and pumpkin seeds);
  • CALZONE (a snack bar food);
  • CIPOLLINA (stuffed puff pastry);
  • FRITTELLE at festivities (they can be sweet or salty);
  • PANELLE of chickpeas (chickpea flour pancakes);
  • BRACIOLETTE ALLA MESSINESE (a second course of Messina cuisine);
  • PATE’ (made with stuffed puff pastry);
  • SFINCIONE PALERMITANO (Sicilian pizza);
  • STIGGHIOLE (the basic ingredient is lamb guts);
  • VASTEDDA (a loaf of bread).

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Francesca Vega


I B Liceo Classico

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