Category: sicily


THE Bronze Age in Sicily, considered one of the most important periods of the island’s prehistory, witnessed the establishment of a unitary and in some ways artistically vibrant culture. The three main phases of the period take their name from the most important centres at the time in question: Castelluccio (Early Bronze Age), Thapsos (Middle Bronze Age) and Pantalica (Late Bronze Age).

There was a marked increase in cultural and commercial trade between regions near and far, particularly with Cornwall, across the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain, Sardinia, the Tyrrhenian coast to the Strait of Messina, and from here to the Aegean-Anatolian area. It was a world, therefore, in great turmoil, that felt the need to interconnect to achieve a better future.

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Mount Aetna from Taormina

Thomas Cole (1801-1848), 1844.


GELA (Greek: Ghélas), in southern Sicily, was a Greek colony founded c. 689 BCE and it remained an important cultural centre throughout antiquity. Prospering on trade and expanding its territory, the city-state founded Agrigento. In the 5th century BCE the tyrant Gelon reigned with success but the end of that century brought attacks and destruction by Carthage. The city revived thanks to the Corinthian general Timoleon but was destroyed in 282 BCE by Phintias, ironically the tyrant of Agrigento.    

Gela is located on a long and low hill running parallel to the Mediterranean sea on the southern coast of Sicily. The first settlements in the area date back to the copper age (2800-2170 BCE) with the town of Gela being founded c. 689 BCE by Greek colonists from Rhode sand Crete, amongst whom were Antifemo of Rhodes and Entimo of Crete. The town was initially called Lindioi and then changed to Gela shortly afterwards after the nearby river.

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IT is a well-known fact that Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean sea, went through a quite complex prehistoric period. So much so that it is difficult to navigate through the muddle of people that have followed each other over the centuries. The impact of two influences, however, remains clear: one from Europe which came from the North-West, and one from the Mediterranean which had a clear Middle Eastern matrix.

In recent years this island has revealed, similar to other Mediterranean areas, the presence of small dolmen monuments, which are found almost everywhere, both inland and along its coast. Such monuments, already known in Northern Europe with larger dimensions, have intrigued scholars for centuries, and with the scientific and technical advances of modern archaeology, we are finally beginning to understand something of their purpose and the meanings that they had to the people who built them. They are a type of tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a flat horizontal capstone (table) to form a construction where the structural elements frame a quadrangular space.

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Ancient Greek silver litra coin minted in Syracuse, Sicily, circa 466 BC

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Private Roy W. Humphrey of Toledo, Ohio is being given blood plasma after he was wounded by a shrapnel in Sicily on 9 August 1943

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US Liberty Ship SS Robert Rowan Explodes Off the Coast of Sicily, July 11, 1943

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