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Where the Phoenicians met the Greeks and Romans: the Archaeological Park of Solunto

The Archaeological Park of Solunto is one of the jewels of Sicily, able to take you back at the time of the Phoenicians who founded the ancient city on the Solanto promontory, later on conquered by Dionysius I of Syracuse during the war against the Carthaginians, and, finally, where Greek mercenaries later settled and rebuilt the city on Mount Catalfano.

Then, in 254 B.C. the city came under Roman’s domination and it is thought that it had been abandoned shortly afterwards. All the proofs of the civilisations, that succeeded one another on the site, are still clearly visible in the decorations, buildings and inscriptions in both Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, though, the traces of the ancient settlement on Mount Solanto are scarce, due to building development, but the necropolis is sufficiently preserved as it is located outside the archaeological park, in the territory of Santa Flavia; the area consists of underground burial grounds with dromos inside which Punic pottery and amphorae have been found.

On the other hand, the Greek site on Mount Catalfano enjoys better conditions. In fact, its remains are clearly visible and the route is developed on a typical Greek layout where all the streets branch off towards the agora; the domestic architecture consists of multi-storey houses and of particular interest is “The House of Leda” due to its largeness, mosaic floors and opus signinum. A thermal building, also with mosaic floors, stands opposite the agora. Special features of the area are the theatre, which had a capacity of 1200 spectators, and the gymnasium. Both offer a breathtaking view of the sea.