Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Temple of Demeter

The so-called Temple of Demeter (the remains of which are located below of the church of San Biagio) can be dated between 480 and 470 BCE. This temple offers an interesting example of distylous building in antis, i.e.without an outer colonnade. It has a simple cella preceded by a pronaos (ante-room) with two columns. Still preserved from the original structure are the base (30 by 13 m approx and partly visible), the oute ...
Founded: 480 BCE | Location: Agrigento, Italy

Kamarina

Kamarina was an ancient city on the southern coast of Sicily. It was founded by Syracuse in 599 BC, but destroyed in 552 BC. The Geloans, however, founded it anew in 461 BC, under the Olympic charioteer Psaumis of Camarina. It seems to have been in general hostile to Syracuse, but, though an ally of Athens in 427 BC, it gave some slight help to Syracuse in 415–413 BC. It was destroyed by the Carthaginians in 405 BC, re ...
Founded: 599 BCE | Location: Vittoria, Italy

Helorus

Helorus was an ancient Greek city of Sicily, situated near the east coast. It was probably a colony of Syracuse, of which it appears to have continued always a dependency. The name is first found in Scylax; for, though Thucydides repeatedly mentions the road leading to Helorus from Syracuse, which was that followed by the Athenians in their disastrous retreat, he never speaks of the town itself. It was one of the cities w ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Noto, Italy

Cornelius Aqueduct

The Roman aqueduct bridge in Termini Imerese is the largest and best preserved in Sicily. The source was located 5 km east of the city, at the foot of Monte San Calogero where the remains of the two settling tanks can still be seen in the locality of Brucato. The aqueduct needed to cross the Barratina stream and the earliest the crossing was made at Fontana Superiore with a siphon about 600 m long, of which the well pre ...
Founded: 2nd century BCE | Location: Termini Imerese, Italy

Cave di Cusa

Cave di Cusa was an ancient stone quarry in Sicily. This site was quarried beginning in the first half of the 6th century BC and its stone was used to construct the temples in the ancient Greek city Selinunte. It was abandoned in 409 BC when the city was captured by the Carthaginians. It is now an official Sicilian Archeological Zone and a popular tourist site.
Founded: 559 BC | Location: Campobello di Mazara, Italy

Capo Soprano

Built in 333 BC along Gela"s western coastline at Capo Soprano by the tyrant of Syracuse, Timoleon, Gela"s ancient Greek fortifications are remarkably well preserved, most likely the result of being covered by sand dunes for thousands of years before their discovery in 1948. The 8m-high walls were originally built to prevent huge amounts of sand being blown into the city by the blustery sea wind. Today authoriti ...
Founded: 333 BCE | Location: Gela, Italy

Catacombs of Generosa

The Catacomb of Generosa is part of an archeological complex, rich of remains not just Christian, but also pagan. The catacomb is situated inside a hill and occupies a single level. The former entrance of the catacomb, just like other Roman catacombs, was inside a basilica, built under Pope Damasus I in the second half of 4th century, whose remains have been discovered by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in the 19th century. In ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the second oldest temple in Syracuse after that of Apollo in Ortigia, rose in the ancient village called Polichne, in a panoramic position, slightly elevated. The Doric building, surrounded by large monolithic columns, appeared really impressive. Today, what is left of the huge building (which measured 20.50 meters x 60) is part of crepidoma and two columns of the south side. From it there ...
Founded: 6th century BCE | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Villa Romana di Patti

The Villa Romana di Patti is a large and elaborate Roman villa. It was the seat of a rich latifundium estate, which until its discovery had few known examples except for the Villa Romana del Casale. The villa was discovered in 1973 during construction work on a stretch of the A20 motorway, when part of the north side of the villa was destroyed. Although excavation is continuing and many rooms still need to be revealed, ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Patti, Italy

Archaeological Park of Occhiolà

On the three ridges of the hill of Terravecchia it is situated the ancient area of Occhiolà, that developed him along an only principal road axle of medieval origin, it notices a great deal simple structures, typical of a country suburb. On the tall part the imposing castle was found, of which lean traces remain, among which a buttress realized with blocks of square stone. This hilly system that constitutes the greate ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Grammichele, Italy

Albenga Amphitheatre

Built around the 2nd century AD, the Albenga amphitheater is still the only building of this kind known in the Riviera di Ponente. According to the portions of the wall that re-emerged in the excavations of 1973/75, it is believed that it had an elliptical plan of about 72.80 meters for 52.20 and that it could contain a few thousand spectators.Probably used only for gladiatorial shows, in history it was the scene of the ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Albenga, Italy

Palike

Palike was an ancient city on Sicily. Its archeological site is located in Rocchicella on a spur of basalt in the valley of the Margi river. There are no certain origins to this ancient town. Diodorus Siculus writes that it was founded in 453 BCE by the native Sikel leader Ducetius. It was named after the sanctuary of the Palici nearby. The city was surrounded by strong walls and grew rapidly because of the fertility of i ...
Founded: 453 BCE | Location: Rocchicella, Italy

Adranon

Monte Adranone is a mountain rising 899 metres above sea level in the north of the comune of Sambuca di Sicilia. At the summit of the mountain are the remains of the ancient city of Adranon, one of the more important archaeological sites in Sicily. Adranon was settled at the beginning of the 5th century BC, destroyed during the 3rd century BC, according to data from archaeological excavations. The city is distinct from t ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy

Thapsos

Thapsos was a prehistoric village in Sicily of the middle Bronze Age. It was found by the Italian archaeologist Paolo Orsi on the small peninsula of Magnisi, near Priolo Gargallo. In its vicinity was born the Thapsos culture, one of the most important prehistoric cultures in Sicily (identified with the people of Sicani). The site is notable for its village - the first known city in Sicily - and for its rich necropolis.
Founded: 1400-1300 BCE | Location: Priolo Gargallo, Italy

Pozzo Sacro di Predio Canopoli

The Pozzo sacro of Predio Canopoli is a sacred well, one of the best preserved well temples in Sardinia, has been discovered in 1923 and excavated by Taramelli. The monument has a typical plan of a nuragic well temple, with the atrium, stairs and the well located in underground chamber. The sacred well is constructed of very accurately treated limestone blocks.
Founded: 1300 BCE | Location: Perfugas, Italy

Pozzo Sacro di Sa Testa

One of the Gallura area’s most characteristic Nuragic landmarks is a sacred well where water worship rituals were performed. Pozzo Sacro di Sa Testa (The Holy Well of Sa Testa). It dates to between 15th and 13th centuries BCE and sits just outside of the town of Olbia. It is just under 18 metres long and made of granite, trachyte and schist cut into blocks that were then carefully finished. The external part is reminisc ...
Founded: 1400-1200 BCE | Location: Olbia, Italy

Lu Brandali Archaeological Site

The Lu Brandali site was discovered in the late 1960s by a young graduate Michele Careddu. It consists of a giants’ tomb, a nuragic village (seven huts have been excavated out of the 35 that exist and are still buried underground) and a nuragic tower.
Founded: 1400-1000 BCE | Location: Santa Teresa Gallura, Italy

Varignano Roman Villa

Varignano Roman Villa is an ancient Roman residence in Varignano, now a frazione of the town of Porto Venere. Its site is marked by an archaeological museum. Its first construction phase dates to the 1st century BCE and it mainly consisted of a house surrounded by a farm linked to olive oil production. The site is beside the Seno del Varignano Vecchio, overlooking the sea, near the santuario delle Grazie and, to the nort ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Porto Venere, Italy

Casmenae

Casmenae or Kasmenai was an ancient Greek colony located on the Hyblaean Mountains, founded in 644 BC by the Syracusans at a strategic position for the control of central Sicily. It was also intended as a military forward-position on the Via Selinuntina road that connected Syracuse to Akragas (modern-day Agrigento) - also on that road were Gela and Akrillai to Casmene"s west and Akrai to its east. Destroyed b ...
Founded: 644 BCE | Location: Buscemi, Italy

Colonne di San Basilio

The Colonne di San Basilio (Columns of St Basil) are an ancient Greek structure, which take their name from the mountain of San Basilio where they are located, in the territory of Lentini. The summit of the mountain shows trances of ancient settlement from the prehistoric period, with clear traces of the postholes of a hut, probably belonging to the Casteluccio culture. A little way away is the imposing structure ...
Founded: 5th century BC | Location: Lentini, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.