Blogmas Day 16: Caltagirone, Licata and Selinunta, Sicily July 1969 :)

My mum found her Great-Grandmas travel diaries a while ago and I have been typing them up for her to read and thought I would put them on here as well- If you want a little bit more background read part one  here πŸ™‚


An Arab fortified town built on hills, its streets are actually flights of steps; each row of steps has a different mosaic on its front, following a pattern of 2 rows, of geometrical designs, then a row of either faces, figures, animals, birds, travel scenes, hunting, fighting or some sport, all in beautiful columns. Ceramic works flourishes here and the main buildings have ceramics as exterior decoration. The population is mostly farmers as the land is fertile producing mainly olives and fruit.


This small, dirty, dusty town has no water supply, the occupants have to lay it from a water cart which gets its water from a nearby fountain. Licata and Agrigento shared a reservoir in the past but the growth of the latter town absorbed all the supply. Money collected to construct a new reservoir is not paid by most people, who can get some official to excuse them paying, so the money which is collected is collected is spent on another project In contrast to Licata, Pibera has a splendid irrigation  system which waters the orchards of cherry, pear, peach and olive trees, these are on the mountain slopes; the water runs through large cement troughs and a water tower to the lower levels of the sloping ground. In May wild strawberries are plentiful; cotton is also produced. At Sciacca, nearby, are thermal springs; it is possibly the worlds oldest spa; 2 large hotels, have been built on a mountain top over the springs. Sardine fishing and canning provide work and Sciacca is famous for its ceramics.


The huge temples of this site are so ruined it is impossible to re-erect them and only a few are partially re-built, the town was raged by Hannibal during the Carthaginian wars, and the temples have been given alphabetical names as their true names are unknown: earthquakes also provided additional havoc. The Temple of Zeus is a mass of fallen drums and blocks, the drums are some of the largest found in any ruin. The columns are plain or fleuted, the style is Doric, but the presence of plain columns proves the temple was not completed before it was destroyed by Hannibal. The stove is limestone, some capitals remain, gigantic but plain, no freize or canning. The temple is also desiguated as Temple D. Temple E was probably the Temple of Dionysius or Hera, it has been partially erected with its tall Doric columns, and houses 3 of the enormous capitols rescued from the ruins. Among the fallen masoney and catacombs and remains of houses. The Acropolis is surrounded by a city wall; it held 4 temples and many small houses, some of the walls of which still have the blue and the white plaster intact, were protected from the elements. Its main street is intersected by parallel roads which are straight and run N.S., E.W. Some of the road stones have channels worn by chariot wheels, and tethering places for the houses. The lower stones of some buildings are not shaped or smooth, thus proving that the acropolis like the Temple of Zeus, was destroyed before it was completed. The main entrance gate and walls are large, the approach to them, long, wide and pointed as in those days the sea came right up to the gate. No arches are in the walls as the art of their construction was then unknown. The drums and pillars of the 4 temples are smaller than those of the temples outside the acropolis on account of the stone being much heavier. The Acropolis was also within the city walls. Outside Selinunte are the hovels of people who fled from earthquakes; as at Sciacca, where the new houses were completed, the seuts were so high, that the people preferred to remain in their houses.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Sicily πŸ™‚


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