Caltanisetta archeology


Since the antiquity, the Caltanissetta’s territory has presented a high density of human settlements, thanks to its peculiar geographical and geomorphological characteristics , to its connections with the sea, to its central position. The inside of the territory, prevalently hilly, tendes to the lowland in the coastal zones.

However, if it has favored the agricultural activity from a side, from the other one, it didn’t oppose distinctive difficulties to the development of human installations. The area had an important strategic role as in the inside zones, obliged passage for all that moved from west to east, as in those seaboards, point of departure for boats that carried goods from the different countries of the ancient Mediterranean.

The testimonies of the past

In the Caltanissetta’s territory have been found a very great range of settlements. Yet from the inferior Paleolitic, the territory began populated from small groups of agriculturists, of which have been found traces in the area of Milena.

Very clear are the archeological evidences of the Copper Age (Milena, Marianopoli, Caltanissetta and Gela) and of the Bronze Age (2200-1500 B.C.), when the territory came settled more intensely. Of this period there are the villages located in the coast or in the barrows near the tillable zones. The strongest testimonies however goes back to the epoch of the Greek colonization, that has been extended from the coast (Gela), going up again along the course of the Imera Meridionale River, toward the more inside areas.

The archeological reportable sites to this important phase of the ancient history of Caltanissetta present a big quantity of elements: villages, fortifications, places of cult, sepulchral areas. Notably abundant are the collected finds (funeral kits, crockery, statues, varied objects), safeguarded in the archeological museums of Gela, Marianopoli and Caltanissetta.

Among the most important sites than the northern part of the Province there is Sabucina, situated in the homonym mountain near Caltanissetta, at 660m on the middle level of the sea. The site testifies millenniums of ancient history that goes from the formest installations to the Greek colonization, and more on. At the feet of the mountain, in a zone rather rich of water, have been discovered tombs dated back to the Bronze Age that presuppose the existence of a primitive installation as the cultural facies of Castelluccio. Then the ancients of Sabucina must move in the tallest parts of the mountain building a village ,characterized also from the presence of a lot of tombs called “tholos”.


Toward the VII century B.C. rose a new village called Saboukis, in a strength commercial relationship with the Geloi. During the IV century B.C. Sabucina passed under the control of the Greek, that built rectangular houses and a line of fortification with towers of sighting. After a long period of Sabucina splendor, it was destroyed around the V-IV century B.C. after the rebellion of the colonies in the regard of the Greek dominion.

Reconstructed from Timoleonte in the second half of the IV century, it was definitely ignited and destroyed in the 310 B.C. The archeological site of Sabucina has given quite a lot finds of a big historic-artistic value. Famous is the model of “sacello fittile” of the second half of the IV century, that represents most eminent document of fusion among native and Hellenic elements, preserved currently in the archeological Museum of Caltanissetta.

Five kilometers far from the south-east of Caltanissetta it is situated the limpness mountain of Gibil-Gabib, characterized by tombs and room tombs. The name (Gibil Habib, mountain of the corpses) it was given by Saracens. Close to it, rose a village that goes back to the origins of the Copper Age and, in the IV century B.C., an Hellenic-indigen center past under the dominion of Agrigento in the V century B.C.

Moving toward the west, along the street that connects San Cataldo with Serradifalco, there is the ancient installation of Vassallaggi, inhabited in the IV and V century B.C. by hindigens populations. Of great interest are the finds founded and now preserved in the archeological Museum of Agrigento. Moving toward to the north-east, near Santa Caterina Villarmosa, it is possible to visit the site of Cozzo Scavo, where are present the rests of one of the many installations reconstructed from Timoleonte around the IV century.

Caltanissetta street
Caltanissetta street
Photo © Planetcam

Near the inhabited part of Marianopoli there are three very interesting archeological sites, from which arise quite a lot of finds, all preserved in the local archeological Museum. The sites are: Castellazzo, Balate and Valle Oscura, where has been found an interesting necropolis. The sites of Raffe and of Polizzello, near to Mussomeli, present Mycenean, Sicans and Greek testimonies and they are characterized from oven and box tombs, beyond to a big quantity of finds.

The archeological northern itinerary concludes in the Mount Conca, near Campofranco and Milena, where you can observe testimonies, that go back to the origins of the Inferior Paleolitic.

The archeological middle-south itinerary, beyond the sites of Sophiana (Mazzarino), Fontana Calda (Butera) and Petrusa (Niscemi), presents its principal cover in Gela, with the archeological sites of Piano Notaro, Capo Soprano, Bitalemi, Manfria. The area of Gela was occupied by Greeks around the VII century , that went up again in the Imera Meridionale River , extending their dominion in other inhabited places of the territory.

Toward the V century Gela achieves its best splendor engaging a role of first plain in the political chessboard of the time. Very interesting it is the surrounded of Capo Soprano, built in the IV century B.C. by Timoleonte around the city; around rose the sanctuaries of the Demetra, Kore and Atena divinities.

Very interesting is the Acropoli of the hill of Molino a Vento, with the rests of the doric sanctuary of the V century B.C. From the Gela’s archeological sites arise a big quantity of finds , statues, crockery, precious objects preserved beside the Archeological Museum of the city.

Where to stay in Caltanissetta

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