AREA ARCHEOLOGICA DI FRANCAVILLA

 
Collezione del Museo

Francavilla di Sicilia is located in the heart of the Alcantara Valley, in a flat area between the river of the same name and the San Paolo, on the north-eastern side of the Etnean territory. Thanks to the richness of the soil and water, but also to the natural communication routes (from the Ionian Sea, through the Alcantara, and from the Tyrrhenian Sea, crossing the Nebrodi and Peloritani), the site has been frequented since prehistoric times. Ceramic materials testify to the existence of a settlement of Chalcidese Greeks at the beginning of the 7th century B.C., who arrived from the colony of Naxos through the Alcantara valley (the ancient Akèsines) on a pre-existing indigenous site. The Greek city remains anonymous (Kallipolis?). A few strips of settlement and necropolis have been brought to light in the area of the modern town.

 

A large sanctuary occupied the northern sector of the city (via Don Nino Russotti), in contiguity with the Alcantara. The composition of the rich votive deposits found documents the cult of the goddesses Demeter and Kore in the sanctuary. In the state-owned area of ​​the Fantarilli district, at the foot of the Castle hill, you can see a part of the 5th century town B.C. which in the urban layout but also in building construction techniques reveals cultural affinities with neighboring Naxos, when it was conquered and "re-founded" in 476 BC. from Hieron of Syracuse. The site was said to have been abandoned at the end of the 5th century BC. perhaps coinciding with the conquest of Naxos by Dionysius I in 403 BC. The demographic recovery, documented by some renovations of the houses and some changes in the road system, occurs after about fifty years, perhaps coinciding with the birth of the nearby Tauromenion (358 BC) or with the advent of Timoleonte in Sicily ( 338 BC). During the third twenty five years of the third century B.C. the site was completely abandoned for reasons still mysterious.

 

 

MAFRA – MUSEO ARCHEOLOGICO DI FRANCAVILLA DI SICILIA

The Archaeological Museum of Francavilla di Sicilia (MAFRA) is a newly established museum opened on 19 October 2020.
It is contained within Palazzo Cagnone, a building owned by the Municipality of Francavilla. The 16th century palace is located in Piazza San Francesco, within the medieval quarter, at the foot of the hill dominated by the Norman castle. Its name derives from the noble Cagnone family, who lived there in 1700, and whose chapel is preserved intact both in the furnishings and in the eighteenth-century majolica flooring of Caltagirone.

 

On the right side of the building there are, in an area used as a vineyard, the millstone and the cellar, which today can be identified, after the last restoration in 2006, in the congress hall. The building is now also the seat of the civic library.

 

The Museum

At the entrance to the palace, on the ground floor, is the welcome room with a video introducing the visit to the museum. From here you can access the first floor via the stairs. Access for the disabled is permitted from the Palace conference room.
The museum is divided into four rooms, three of which are dedicated to the exhibition of artefacts following a chronological and topographical criterion.

 

In the first room, a large panel introduces the territory of the Alcantara Valley, which has been frequented since prehistoric times. A showcase preserves a few but significant finds from Francavilla's pre-protohistoric phase from a probable indigenous settlement of Siculi dating from the end of the Bronze Age (13th-12th century BC) before the encounter with the Chalcidese of Naxos.
The second room is dedicated to the Greek city, of which a strip (state-owned area) in the Contrada Fantarilli is accessible. Interesting finds of daily life from the 6th to 3rd century BC come from this area: numerous architectural terracottas (antefixes and acroteria with a gorgonian or silenica mask) - some perhaps even imported from nearby Naxos -, loom weights for weaving, oil lamps, vases and coins from various Sicelian mints.

 

The third room is dedicated to the rich collection of votive deposits from the suburban Sanctuary in Via Don Nino Russotti dedicated to the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, one of the most important sacred complexes in Greek Sicily. From the complex stand out the terracotta female protomes and the famous figured pinakes in relief typologically similar to those found in the Sanctuary of Persephone at Locri Epizephyrii. Also on display in this room are finds from the 5th century B.C. necropolis, including some fine fragments of figured Attic pottery.

 

The itinerary ends with an immersive experience inside the "Francavilla immersive room" (room 4) where the visitor can take a virtual journey back into the past.

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