La necropoli

Pantalica is a rocky site between Sortino and Ferla, which rises at the confluence of the Calcinara valley in the Anapo valley. Here, during the 13th century BC, a settlement of the late Bronze Age developed and continued to live for several centuries, until the 8th century BC. It was the scene of artistic, artisan and architectural events, revealing numerous contributions that the Aegean-Mycenaean culture had transferred to Sicilian soil.


We do not know the prehistoric village, which must have consisted of wooden huts that were lost without a trace. The remains of three Byzantine villages dug out of the rock, built around as many small rock churches, are still visible in the cave of the Crucifix, of S. Nicolicchio and of San Micidiario, when Pantalica returned to be inhabited in the late ancient age.


The only surviving building from the Late Bronze Age is the: anaktoron oranax: an ancient building that was later transformed and adapted in the Byzantine era. On the southern side, the square megalithic wall structure confirms the Aegeomycenean matrix of the building, attributed not to the local people but to one of the Aegeans who, around the year one thousand, reached the Syracusan coast and, having entered the Anapo valley, placed themselves at the service of the lord of Pantalica. The necropolis of Pantalica occupies the different sides of the grandiose canyon carved by the two rivers Anapo and Calcinara, and consists of almost five thousand cave tombs dug into the broad, steep rock faces. It belongs to two different periods of settlement, the first called "Pantalica Nord", dating from the mid-13th century B.C. to the 11th century, the second "Pantalica Sud", dated between the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. with, in between, the Cassibile facies (mid-11th - mid-9th centuries B.C.) which is when the Siculi arrived from southern Italy. The funerary rite is always that of inhumation.


Among the handicraft productions, the ceramics, of bright red color, for the first time records the use of the lathe. Bronze razors and knives are found in male tombs, while spinning and weaving tools, such as loom weights, spinning knives, cast, distinguish the role of women. Among the fibulae, those with a simple bow and a violin bow prevail first, and then those with the arc by eye and the curved needle spread.


Pantalica is not just archaeology. The site is set in a luxuriant nature, with steep and majestic rocky walls, an intricate articulation of karst cavities, and an extraordinary wealth of flora and fauna. This place, truly unique in the world, was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 2005, when Pantalica, paired in Syracuse, was listed on the World Heritage List.

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