With around 320,000 inhabitants, Catania is the second largest city in Sicily. Its historical significance is clearly visible throughout the city’s magnificent old district that is dominated by Baroque architecture. The city has few monuments that predate the Baroque Period but it was not wars or battles that were responsible for this but a volcano that towers high above the island. Located 30 kilometres from Catania, Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has destroyed this city more than once.
On the Ionic Sea, in the southeast of Sicily is Syracusa that in ancient times, was a legendary city state. Greek settlers from Corinth founded the city in 734 B.C. and it soon enjoyed much fame and prosperity.
South of Agrigento is the ancient sanctuary of the Valle Dei Templi, the legendary Valley of Temples. An enchanting area that is more of a plateau than a valley, is a truly unique and magical place.
Selinunte is one of the largest archaeological sites in Europe. The Selinunte Acropolis, formerly known as Megara Hyblae, was an important building complex and was built in the 7th century B.C. In the immediate surroundings of the Acropolis, a small urban centre developed that, in later years, had a population that numbered tens of thousands.
Beneath Monreale Mountain and located on the coast, is Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The city dates back to the 8th century B.C. However, nothing remains of the time when the Phoenicians founded the ancient town of Panormus, Palermo’s predecessor. The former summer residence of the Emir of Palermo served as the palace of Norman king, Roger II. Up until the 13th century, this luxurious Norman palace was a symbol of the wealth and power of the Normans.
With its many fascinating ancient monuments, the remains of the CARTHAGINIANS, GREEKS and ROMANS, and with the glorious heritage of the Middle Ages and the charming influences of both the ARABS and the NORMANS, SICILY is justifiably known as, ‘A Treasure Trove of History’.