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, with more space between them towards the summit of the mountain. In the 6th century BC, the city wall was built, which probably contained the entire inhabited area at that time. In the 5th century the settlement was destroyed, probably by Ducetius, who is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus. Reconstruction occurred in the second half of the century; the settlement received a new layout of streets and housing plots on a different orientation, and a new city wall with rectangular towers. This settlement was abandoned in turn at the end of the fourth century, probably as a result of the Agathocles of Syracuse.
In the area at the bottom of the mountain are some Bronze Age grotticella tombs. Other important discoveries include to a hut used as a shrine and the so-called Sacello of Sabucina, a terracotta model dating to the 6th century BC, found in the area of the necropolis, which depicts a small temple with a pronaos in antis and a pitched roof surmounted by two figures of cavalrymen and two gorgoneion masks decorating the tympanum. The sacello, with other discoveries, is now kept in the Regional archaeological museum of Caltanissetta.
The discovery of this archaeological site is relatively recent; the first excavations only took place in the 1960s, when Piero Orlandini excavated the late Bronze Age huts, dating to the 13th-10th centuries BC. This was an important excavation, since Sabucina was the first village of this type to be identified in Sicily.
Today the site is accessible, thanks to a regulation of the Office of Cultural Heritage.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.