Discover Sicily 8211 A Roman Treasure Trove

Discover Sicily 8211 A Roman Treasure Trove



Sicily’s prime geographic location​ in​ the centre of​ the Mediterranean Basin​ has meant that, over time, settlers and​ conquerors from the medieval Normans, Aragonese Spanish, Moorish North Africans, ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, and​ Romans have come and, except for​ the latter, mostly, gone. Today, Sicily's Roman ruins are rivaled only by those in​ Rome, and​ lovers of​ Roman archaeology will find a​ treasure trove of​ sites to​ explore.

To get an​ idea of​ the diversity of​ Sicily in​ ancient times and​ particularly the range of​ artifacts from the Greek and​ Roman colonizations of​ the island, visit the Museo Archeologico Regionale in​ Palermo. One of​ Italy’s greatest archaeological museums, it​ is​ filled with rare finds that put the multiple foreign occupations in​ perspective. as​ well, you’ll have a​ chance to​ compare priceless artifacts from the island’s different civilizations, including those from the Phoenician, Punic, Greek, Roman and​ Saracen periods. Listed here are some of​ the best Roman ruins in​ Sicily:

Cape Boéo – Marsala
Roman ruins here include a​ villa with baths and​ colourful mosaics, and​ the Church of​ San Giovanni, built over a​ cave converted into a​ home in​ Roman times. The Baglio Anselmi Archeological Museum on​ Lungomare Boéo exhibits ship from the Punic era.

Catania
Catania has two Roman amphitheatres, one reminiscent of​ Rome’s Colosseum. The smaller one, off Via Vittorio Emanuele, built upon​ an​ earlier Greek theatre, accommodated 6,000 spectators, while a​ larger amphitheatre, near the commercial centre in​ Piazza Stesicoro, is​ completely Roman and​ was built in​ the second century AD.

Solunto – Palermo
Seventeen kilometres east of​ Palermo, overlooking the coast, and​ on​ a​ site that was originally a​ Phoenician village that had been expanded by the Greeks in​ 396 BC, are the ruins of​ a​ town that was rebuilt by the conquering Romans 50 years later. The ruins mostly consist of​ floors, with some mosaics, the lower portions of​ walls, with some murals, and​ some columns. While there is​ a​ small archaeological museum here, most of​ the original artifacts are in​ the Palermo's Regional Archaeological Museum.

Taormina
The Greek amphitheatre here, built in​ the third century BC, was expanded later by the Romans, who enlarged the stage. The view of​ Mount Etna and​ the sea beyond the theatre is​ spectacular. During summer, the theatre stages dramatic performances. a​ much smaller Roman theatre, the odium, is​ near Santa Caterina church.

Tyndaris – Capo Tindari
Tyndaris, founded by Dionysius the Elder in​ 396 BC, and​ later destroyed by pillaging conquerors, has been excavated to​ display the ruins of​ everything from a​ basilica to​ a​ Roman theatre. Overlooking the sea, the setting here is​ magnificent.

Villa Romana del Casale – Piazza Armerina
this​ Roman villa, a​ few kilometers outside town, and​ built between 330 and​ 360 AD, is​ one of​ the largest surviving classical-era Roman dwellings anywhere. The villa contains 40 rooms with western Europe’s most magnificent mosaics depicting scenes from daily life, such as​ hunting, and​ one mosaic of​ ten young women dressed in​ strapless two-piece swim suits that could be in​ fashion​ today.

No archaeology lover’s trip to​ Sicily would be complete without visiting the Valley of​ the Temples, the largest and​ best collection​ of​ ancient Greek ruins in​ the world. You’ll also see necropoli, houses, streets and​ everything else you​ would expect to​ find in​ an​ ancient city. Be sure to​ check out the small amphitheatre, the several auditoria, and​ the first-rate archeological museum. you​ can’t miss the Concord Temple with its with 13 tall, wind-eroded columns. Set outside the city of​ Agrigento, on​ the southern coast of​ Sicily, the temples look dramatic at​ night when floodlights accentuate their shape and​ form.




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