Facts in brief:
Located at foot of Mount Etna; founded by Greeks in 8th cen. BC; Athenian base of operations against Syracuse 432 BC; taken by Romans in First Punic War 263 BC, by Saracens 902 AD & Normans ca. 1090; university founded in 1434; site of French victory over Spanish & Dutch fleet in 1676; was German defense point in WW II in 1943; was often damaged by earthquakes & volcanic eruptions.
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