was the Phoenicians who brought this esteemed drink in the Mediterranean
When the Greek settled in the island (VIII B.C.), they found a fertile humus in Sicily for their oenological culture. During the 500 years of their permanence on the island, spent in harmony with its inhabitants, they changed the habits of the Sicilians, who became skilled not only in the cultivation of vines, but also in the cultivation of the olive and in the growing of wheat.
Under the Romans (III B.C.),the cultivation of vines, although in restricted areas, was quite important and the Malvasia of the Eolian islands, the Pollio of Syracuse, theMamertino of Messina were exported and appreciated in all the Latin world.
With the advent of Christianity many Sicilian lands were owned by the Church and the cultivation of vines was preserved.
With the invasion of the barbarians ( V A.D.) the production halted, but in 535 A.D. the Byzantine Belisario allowed the Sicilians to devote themselves to agriculture again.
In 827 the Muslim invaders, according to the Koran, stopped the production of wine but they never forbade it entirely so that the production of esteemed eating grapes, like the Moscato dAlessandria (Zibibbo) of the Pantelleria island increased.
With the Normans, who arrived on the island in 1601, the viticulture was brought back to life until Carlo dAngiò in 1266 induced people not to plant vines any more because of exaggerated taxations.
With the Aragonese agriculture and cultivation of vines developed immensely; but its since 1773 that the production of wine in Sicily has recorded a veritable boom thanks to the commercialization on an industrial scale of Marsala wines with the English Woodhouse. In 1880-81 a terrible epidemic of phylloxera reduced the cultivated area of the island from 320.000 hectares to 175.000 hectares causing a serious economic disaster.
It has been necessary to replant European vines grafted on the immune
American stump coming from a nursery created in Palermo in order to
face the emergency.