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The Top 8 Historical Marvels to See While Visiting Sicily

Apr, 27 || No Comments |

When it comes to history there are few places in the world more steeped in it than Sicily. This island has been the subject of invasion, and counter invasion for thousands of years. It holds some of the best architectural marvels from ancient Rome in the world today. It’s culture and history are second to none, so if you find yourself looking at Sicily vacation rentals some day.

Try to keep in mind the following awe-inspiring sites just waiting for you to visit.

1) Teatro Greco

Situated in the town of Taormina, this ancient theater is one of the most popular sites to visit. While it might appear that Teatro Greco was Roman in origin. Excavations have proven that it was built over a Greek theater already in place. The theater itself dates back to the 2nd century, and while some parts of it have been replaced, a lot of it still remains intact to this day.

2) The Palermo Markets

Palermo is a city that was founded almost 2,700 years ago by the Phoenicians, and it’s markets have been a hub of activity ever since. They serve as the center of Palermo and are still in use today just like they were in ancient times. You can buy everything you need here to cook an authentic Sicilian dish. The markets are one of those places that you really need to participate in to get the full effect.

3) Valley of the Temples

In this areas sits some amazingly preserved Doric temples that date back to the 5th century. These temples are situated on a ridge that overlooks the sea. The biggest Doric temple of all time can also be found here. It was dedicated to Zeus but unfortunately was never properly finished. These temples are also noted for being some of the best preserved Doric architecture in the world.

4) Ruins of Syracuse

The ancient city of Syracuse has a history the predates the Roman empire. It was one of the biggest colonies in the Greek empire, and an important one to boot. It was a center of trade and served as a stop off point for a lot of trading vessels headed toward mainland Italy. The ruins of the city itself are well worth exploring including the Temple of Apollo, a Doric temple that dates back to the 6th century.

5) Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa Romana del Casale is a Roman villa that you definitely want to make time to see. It houses the best collection of Roman mosaics anywhere in the world. These mosaics are well preserved and date back to the 4th century. This location is also designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. One of the more famous if not infamous mosaics is the Chamber of the Ten Maidens, or unofficially as it’s known “the bikini girls”. The young women in the mosaic are shown doing various sports from weight lifting, running, to throwing discs. The infamous unofficial name comes from the fact they all appear to be dressed in bikinis.

6) Selinunte

Selinunte is an ancient Greek city with a number of different historical attractions worth visiting. There is the Acropolis, the Temple of Hera, and the sanctuary of Malophoros. Each one of these sites is part of a massive archaeological park you can visit. The Cave di Cusa are the stone quarries where the limestone was mined and used as building materials for most of the buildings in Selinunte.

7) The Temple of Segesta

This Doric temple dates all the way back to the 420’s BC and was built by a Greek architect. This temple is known for being surprisingly well preserved unlike so many other examples of Doric architecture. The Carthaginians invaded Segesta in the 5th century, but the temple itself remain unharmed despite this. The town of Segesta itself was an important trading city in ancient times.

8) Necropolis of Pantalica

The Necropolis of Pantalica is another UNESCO world heritage site on Sicily. The Necropolis itself is a series of tombs cut into the limestone rock that dates back all the way to the 7th century. The palace located on the top of the hill is said to date back all the way to the Bronze Age. The excavation of the tombs began in 1895 by an Italian named Paolo Orsi who unfortunately found that most of the tombs had long since been robbed.

There have been different estimates on how many tombs there actually are in the Necropolis, but the latest number puts it at around 4,000. It was noted by Orsi upon excavating the tombs that they were often resealed and reused throughout history.

In the end, the island of Sicily has a long, and rich history dating back thousands of years and involving multiple ancient civilizations. If you’re a fan of history, or even if you just want to get inspired then I would recommend visiting anyone of these marvels the next time you find yourself in Sicily.

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