Monte san basilio

Monte San Basilio, at 225 metres above sea level at the western end of the Leontini Fields, is a trapezoidal hill that is difficult to access and was therefore chosen for its strategic position as a settlement in both the Early Bronze Age and the Iron Age, when the indigenous settlement was Hellenised. Archaeological excavations carried out in the plain of Xirumi have brought to light the remains of a Greek-Archaic sanctuary, which indirectly testifies to the process of acculturation between the settlement of Monte San Basilio and the Chalcidese of Leontinoi.


The remains of an imposing boundary wall from the Classical period and the discovery of hypogea and pit tombs from the Hellenistic period with remarkable grave goods, such as the armour with breastplate of the so-called ''Duce ignoto'' found by Paolo Orsi, confirm the military role of the city identified with the ancient Brikinnia along the connecting road between Leontinoi and Gela. The presence of a grandiose cistern, already documented in 1777 by the painter Jean Houel, has also been referred to the need for supplies, probably of foodstuffs, in Roman times. This cistern was reused in the early Middle Ages as a small church that still retains traces of pictorial decoration. Various rock dwellings built on the edge of the hill and along its slopes also date from the Middle Ages, when the area was granted to Basilian monks.

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