Top Historic Sights in Caltanissetta, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Caltanissetta

San Sebastiano Church

The Church of San Sebastiano dates from the 16th century and is located in Piazza Garibaldi, in front of the Cathedral. It was built as a tribute to said Saint by the people in gratitude for deliverance from the plague. In 1711 it was altered along its whole length to make space for the Piazza Garibaldi. As a result, a new façade was designed by Pasquale Saetta in the late 19th century. It is embellished with columns e ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Caltanissetta Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Nova, built between the years 1560–1620, was opened to the public in 1622. The façade was only completed in the year 1840. The church has a late-Renaissance appearance that breaks the characteristic Baroque mold usual to Sicily. The interior features frescoes by Guglielmo Borremans, who worked there from 1722. Other works include a wooden Blessed Virgin draped with silver lamina (1 ...
Founded: 1560 | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Saint Agatha Church

The Church of St. Agatha at College with its poly-chromatic marble was built between 1600 and 1610, in late-Renaissance style, on the site of a previous church, which had also been dedicated to St. Agatha. The façade was created by Natale Masuccio, and is decorated with frameworks on a light coloured background. It has a Greek cross plant, with splendid Baroque decorations including frescoes by Luigi Borremans (18th cent ...
Founded: 1600-1610 | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Santo Spirito Abbey

The Abbey of the Santo Spirito (Holy Spirit), built by the Norman Count Ruggero and his wife Queen Adelasia in 1092–1098, was consecrated in 1153. It has been greatly altered in subsequent centuries. The original outlines are still identifiable to the rear, where its characteristic massive jutting apses can be seen. These are separated by flat pilasters and connected by a series of small arches. The left-hand entrance h ...
Founded: 1092-1153 | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Pietrarossa Castle

The Castle of Pietrarossa ('Red Stone Castle'), built using, as its name suggests, largely red stones, dominates the city and the whole Salso River valley from the edge of the ravine upon which it stands. The originsa castle remain unknown. It is presumed to have been built in the 9th century, but there are some historians who claim that it was built by the Sicani, a people that was present in Sicily in the 8th ...
Founded: 8th-9th century AD | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Gibil Gabib

Gibil Gabib is an archaeological site located about 5 km south of Caltanissetta, on a 615-metre-high mountain. Excavations were first undertaken in the area in the middle of the 19th century and were reprised with great enthusiasm in the 1950s by the archaeologist Dinu Adameșteanu. They came to an end in 1984. In those undertaken in the middle of the 20th century, remains dating to the 6th century BC were brought to li ...
Founded: 6th century BCE | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Sabucina

The archaeological park of Sabucina contains settlements ranging from the Bronze Age (20th-16th century BC) to the Roman period. The original village has securely pre-Greek origins, it was constructed by the Sicans, who took advantage of the dominant position of the mountain over the Salso river valley. The first phase of the Greek settlement came in the 7th century. The centre consisted of rectangular habitations, wi ...
Founded: 2300 BCE | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.