The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and it was later the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, and the Emirate of Sicily. The Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, which was subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou, Spain, and the House of Habsburg. It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicily)
After we discovered the north side of the island, the journey continues west and then south. Finally, we spent a whole 2 months in Sicily, so there will be a third part 😉.
We leave our little house in San Nicola l’Arena and make our way to Sciacca. As soon as we leave the Palermo area, we meet a completely different landscape. Agriculture dominates here in the western part of Sicily. Fields after fields, either with olive- or orange trees, or greenhouses strung together.
On the way to our destination we stopped briefly in Marsala. This little town is a little gem, real cute.
Sciacca is one of the largest fisher ports on the Mediterranean Sea and is in the Agrigento region. The area around Sciacca was already known in Roman times for the healing springs. There are several thermal baths which are no longer in operation today. Like everywhere in Sicily, money is lacking. The current structure of the old town emerged under the Arabs. The city wall and the fort were also built at this time. The name of the city comes from Arabic. The city is not one of our favourite places, no big impression.
Valle dei Templi
The archaeological sites of Agrigento south of today's Agrigento city center are among the most impressive archaeological sites in Sicily. They mainly show the remains of Akragas (Latin Agrigentum), one of the most important ancient Greek cities in Sicily. The Greek temples, some of which are still very well preserved, testify to the size, power and cultural boom of the then Greek city. one of the best-preserved temples in ancient Greece is the Concordia Temple. In 1997, UNESCO declared Agrigento's archaeological sites as a World Heritage Site. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_dei_Templi)
Marina di Ragusa
We spend our holidays in Marina di Ragusa, a fisher village. The area is more a summer / tourist place, we only see a nose from time to time. Surprisingly, December in the south is cold too, the nights drop between 3 ° to 5 ° C and the houses have no heating. This is a lesson for us for our future rental properties 😉.
We enjoy the 2 weeks with a lot of sun, the children can even bath because it warms up to 20 ° C during the day. We spend the cold days at home or in a shopping mall, which reminds us of the winters in Canada 😊.
The origins of Ragusa can be traced back to the 2nd millennium BC, when there were several Sicel settlements in the area. The current district of Ragusa Ibla has been identified as Hybla Heraea.
The ancient city, located on a 300-metre (980 ft)-high hill, came into contact with nearby Greek colonies, and grew thanks to the nearby port of Camerina. Following a short period of Carthaginian rule, it fell into the hands of the ancient Romans and the Byzantines, who fortified the city and built a large castle. Ragusa was occupied by the Arabs in 848 AD, remaining under their rule until the 11th century, when the Normans conquered it. Selected as County seat, its first Count was Geoffrey, son of Count Ruggero of Sicily.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality "Ragusa Superiore" (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city "Ragusa Inferiore" (Lower Ragusa). (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragusa,_Sicily)
Our first visit is to Ibla Ragusa. The place and the cleanliness impressed us. I could imagine living in this part of the city. There we attended a pre-Christmas performance. A water – musical spectacle.
The second visit is planned after Christmas, with a little surprise for the children. We visited the Ferris wheel. With an entry of 20 euros, the price comes close to the same as in Switzerland. Nevertheless, it gave us a nice view of Ragusa Ibla and the Upper Ragusa.