The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is known for its dramatic landscapes, delicious cuisine and warm people. Unbeknownst to many, Sicily has a burgeoning tech scene and is working towards being home to some of the world’s first truly Smart Cities. Following a local crowdfunding campaign, and significant investments in infrastructure by the local government, the island’s impressive Smart Me project is underway in the city of Messina. Pioneered by University of Messina Professor Antonio Puliafito, dozens of internet-connected sensors have been placed around the city, compiling data in order to provide “smart” services from alerting the local council when bins are full to apps that alert drivers to potholes and navigate them to empty parking spaces.
The project has expanded from the North-East of Sicily to Palermo and Catania, and includes heat sensors monitoring crowds at Catania’s airport to alert travellers how busy it is and how much time to allocate to their journey, and an App that provides information about local landmarks when you point your smartphone camera at them.
It is no wonder that there is a real sense of optimism and change among the island’s start-up community, with more incubators and network groups than ever before. Sicily is also home to several fantastic co-working spaces including Impact Hub Siracusa, set within a converted 17th Century convent in the historic town of Ortigia. The space offers 350 square meters of workspace, including private meeting rooms, open plan desk space, a theatre for talks and events and a charming outdoor patio. Part of an international network of Impact Hubs, this space is ideal for women entrepreneurs in Sicily with home and online based businesses. Also part of the Impact Hub group, Vulcanìc is an open and welcoming coworking space in Catania with open plan work stations and private rooms. Set in a converted 19th century winery near Acireale on the east coast of Sicily, EtnaHub is a fully equipped and flexible work environment for freelancers, digital nomads and entrepreneurs in the area. The space also boasts an idyllic private garden surrounded by Mediterranean countryside There is also a cafe providing food, coffee and tea.
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