01. Introduction
02. Grammar/Activities:
03. Reading Section
04 Listening Section:
05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
07 Final TOEFL tests

Listening Test 1.11


Professor – After speaking of a renowned and ancient country, Italy, let’s look at one of its islands, best known as a cradle for Mafia, organized crime. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. Hmm… Jenny?

Student – Are you talking about Sardinia? Oh no! No, no! Sicily!

Professor – Yes! Quite right! Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana (Sicilian autonomous region). Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean and extends from the tip of the Apennine Peninsula, from which it is separated only by the narrow strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 meters, the tallest active volcano in Europe, and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. The earliest archaeological evidence of human dwelling on the island dates back from as early as eight thousand BC. At around seven hundred and fifty BC, Sicily became a Greek colony. And for the next six hundred years, it was the site of the Greek Punic and Roman Punic wars, which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century AD, Sicily often changed hands. And during the early Middle Ages, it was ruled in turn by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans. Later on, the Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816, subordinated to the Crowns of Aragon, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and finally the Bourbons as the Kingdom of the two Sicilies. It was united with the rest of Italy in 1860 but a subsequent economic collapse led to a wave of immigration, separatism, and the emergence of the Mafia, whose criminal activities pose problems to this day. After the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946, Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region. Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture, and language. Sicily also holds importance for archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples, and Selinunte. The Sicilian economy is diversified. The agriculture sector is significant with citrus fruit, olive, and olive oil, grapes, and wine. Tourism and real estate are economically important for the islands.