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Solunto (PA)

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Solunto (Palermo Province) is the ruins of the city of Solunto are about 20 km from Palermo, on Monte Catalfano. According to the historian Thucydides, Solunto was founded by the Phoenicians in the same period when they occupied Motya, and Panormus, with the name of Kfra (Kafara), i.e. village, which was changed to Solunto in the Graeco-Roman period.

History: It was conquered in 397 BC by Dionysius the Elder, the Tyrant of Siracusa, who almost entirely destroyed it.

After 396 BC (the date of Dionysius' second expedition), the city was completely rebuilt on Monte Catalfano. The 4th century BC city has been brought to light by excavations carrried out since the last century until the present day.

As to the precise location of the ancient Pheonician city, until recently it was thought to have been situated in the Pizzo Cannita area, but the finding of some 6th century BC tombs on the slopes of Monte Catalfano suggests that the archaic city stood more or less on the same site as the later city.

The new 4th century city appears to have been profoundly Hellenized, not only as regards its layout and the style of the houses but also because of some Greek inscriptions recording magistracies and cults typical of the Hellenic and Magna Graecia civilization.

In 254 BC, during the first Punic War, the city passed to the Romans, and we learn from Cicero that it was plundered on several occasions after becoming a civitas decumana.

The lastest reference to the city is in an inscription in Latin dating from the time of the Emperor Caracalla.

Towards the end of the 3rd century AD, completeing a phenomenon that had begun in the 1st century, the city was gradually abandoned and eventually its decline was complete.

It was rediscovered in the 16th century, thanks to the historian Fazello, who identified the site.

Archaeological Area: An Antiquarium has been set up at the entrance of the archaeological zone, displaying material found on the site. Here we can see 4th century pottery, painted plaster work from houses, Hellenistic-roman capitals and late-Hellenistic figurines. A rich series of Solunto coins is now to be found in the Archaeological Museum in

The city is regular in layout, with intersecting straight roads (of Hippodameic type) creating rectangular blocks measuring about 40 x 80 m, separated by a long channel (ambitus) which served for the drainage of water.

Links to other sites about Solunto include:
Solunto Photo
Ancient Sicily
Palermo Province
Italian Wikipedia
Italian Towns
Italian Postal Codes
Sicily Web
Sicilian Net

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily - A Reference for Researchers and is now available. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

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