Halaesa was an ancient city of Sicily, situated near the north coast of the island. The city was of Siculian origin; in 403 BC the tyrant Archonides of Herbita, having concluded peace with Dionysius I of Syracuse, gave the northern part of his territory to the Sicilians as well as to mercenaries and others who had helped him during the war. He named it Halaesa, to which the epithet Archonidea was frequently added for the purpose of distinction. Others attributed the foundation of the city erroneously to the Carthaginians.

It quickly rose to prosperity through maritime commerce. At the start of the First Punic War it was one of the first of the Sicilian cities to submit to the Romans to whose alliance it was always faithful. It was doubtless to this conduct and to the services that it was able to render to the Romans during their wars in Sicily that it was awarded the status of civitas libera ac immunis which gave it the privilege of retaining its own laws and independence, exempt from all taxation, an advantage enjoyed by only five cities of Sicily. In consequence of this advantageous position it rose rapidly in wealth and prosperity and became one of the most flourishing cities of Sicily.

The city appears to have subsequently declined, and had sunk in the time of Augustus to the condition of an ordinary municipal town, but was still one of the few places on the north coast of Sicily which Strabo deemed worthy of mention.

The site

The site has been partially excavated starting in 2017. The agora and theatre are among the monuments so far been brought to light. Portions of the aqueduct can be seen and fragments of statues, as well as coins and inscriptions, have been frequently discovered on the spot.



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SP177, Tusa, Italy
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Founded: 403 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Susanne Wiegand (13 months ago)
Worth seeing for a short stop with a great view. Free entry or small donation.
Mauro Malpighi (2 years ago)
Place a lost Po. It could be kept better. Interesting overall.
Пикник и самовар (2 years ago)
If you go for archeology go your way. There is absolutely nothing to see anything! What are the reasons to go anyway? - In July there are excavations and it must be possible to see archaeologists work on one of the 3 sites in the morning. - On a clear day it is possible to see the Lipari Islands cut out on the horizon and admire the exceptional surroundings around - To consider the location of the very latest Greek theater discovered in 2018 facing the sea and just beginning to excavate. For the rest nothing!
Francesco Saverio Modica (3 years ago)
One of the most important ancient cities of northern Sicily. A site that has to give still many surprises for the studies. In the summer months there are several universities with archaeological excavations at the Temple of Apollo on the North Acropolis, in a building on the South Acropolis, in the district to the south of the agora and to conclude at the theater, discovered this summer.
Ludo de Graaf (3 years ago)
Some people write that there is nothing to see: not true. We got a nice tour in the little museum by a lady who only speaks Italian but knows the site and many details. And you can walk on the small agora and see ancient walls.
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