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Archaeology enthusiasts visiting Sicily should certainly be tempted to visit the ancient Greek city of Morgantina which is one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the hinterland of Sicily.
Although essentially Greek in origins, the excavations at Morgantina have demonstrated that the site was actually occupied from the Bronze Age onwards. See history and etymology of Morgantina to learn more about the rise and fall of this once important town.
Explore Morgantina Archaeological Site
Of course, the buildings and monuments you can see here at Morgantina are ruins - but they are substantial ruins, especially those of the theatre, and there are sufficient walls and floors remaining that the layout of the original buildings can still clearly be seen and of course many of the buildings are named eg furnace, granary, house etc so that you are clear what their original function was.
Almost all the ruins we see today were unknown until 1955, when a series of excavations (mostly under the guidance of American Universities including Princeton, Duke and Virginia) and renovations that continue to the present day were started.
Along the perimeter of the archaeological area at Morgantina you can see the ancient city walls and the sacred area, which includes the remains of several small temples and also the "naiskos", a big temple about 30 meters long and dating from the sixth century BC.
At the foot of the Acropolis hill you can see the residential area, where the "domus" with mosaic floors and frescoed walls has been discovered. We particularly recommend visiting the "House of the Doric capital", which is famous for its Greek inscription which welcomes the visitors with a good-omen "Eykerei," which means “take care of yourself”.
In the “agora” there is a Shrine to the ancient deities of Demeter and Kore. It has a trapezoidal shape and the bust of Demeter was found inside.
The Greek Theatre at Morgantina is also remarkable, with a semicircular auditorium of 15 steps, divided into six areas, which experts tell us could accommodate nearly 5000 spectators.
Next to the Greek theatre, to the east, there is a public granary dating from the third century BC with a rectangular plan. The remains of two furnaces in the building are evidence of the existence of some factories that produced ceramic vases in the city. You can also see the North Baths, which were a revolutionary invention at the time because they incorporated a domed roof.
The archaeological remains found in Morgantina are all preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Aidone, which is also worth visiting.
Where is Morgantina?
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.