There is a mythological explanation regarding Sicilian weather. One day in spring, the god Pluto, king of the Underworld, appeared from the lake of Pergusa and caught sight of Proserpina playing with her nymphs and gathering flowers. Pluto immediately fell in love with her and abducted her. Ceres, her mother, searched for her for three days and nights, lighting up the landscape with a pine tree dipped into the crater of Etna. Her search, however, was in vain and, in anger, she cast drought, famine and pestilence on the island. The people, in desperation, turned to Jupiter for help. Jupiter resolved the problem by deciding that Proserpina should spend eight months on earth with her mother and the other four in the Underworld with her husband Pluto. By so doing, Jupiter created just two seasons on the island. Henceforth, to the joy of all who visit her, Sicily has boasted one of the most temperate climates in the world.
Mythology aside, the climate of the northern and eastern coasts, and of the smaller islands, is mild in winter and hot in the summer months with annual average temperatures of 18 degrees. The southern coasts and the immediate interior are more subject to the influence of African winds and very hot summers. The mountainous areas in the interior have a harsher climate with noticeable variations in temperature and frequent rainfall, even snow, in the winter months.