I’ve spent some time analyzing the comparison of the Mass Bay area with the SF Bay Area, and occasionally even commented on the Red Sox – Yankees rivalry, but a recent trip to Europe has brought to the fore another instructive comparison.

You may not realize it, but it turns out that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is almost exactly the same size as the autonomous Italian region of Sicily – 10,555 and 9,926 square miles respectively.  Mass has the edge in population – 6.5 million vs 5 million – but that won’t stop me from pointing out…. five reasons why Sicily is better than Massachusetts:

Sicily has the largest active volcano in Europe. (That’s Mt. Etna, which is 10,890 feet high) Massachusetts has the largest Federal highway project in the USA.  (That’s the Big Dig, which is about $22 Billion deep)

In Sicily, shops close in the afternoon for a long lunch. In Massachusetts, banks and bars close early.

Sicily was colonized by the ancient Greeks over 2,000 years ago and later became an important part of the Roman empire. Many of the events in the Iliad and the Odyssey take place in Sicily.  Massachusetts was colonized by uptight English religious fanatics 400 years ago.  Many of the events in Ally McBeal take place in Massachusetts.

In Sicily, you can get a good espresso almost anywhere for about a Euro. In Massachusetts, you can get Dunkin Donuts coffee almost anywhere.

Sicily gave the world the Cannoli. Massachusetts contributed, um, well, there’s no cuisine section in the wikipedia entry on Massachusetts, so I’ll just stop here.