Visit Palazzolo Acreide
Palazzolo Acreide and the ancient site of Akrai are situated in south-east Sicily, inland and to the west of Syracuse.
While it is the nearby ruins at Akrai that attract the most attention from visitors, the town of Palazzolo-Acreide itself deserves exploring, above all for the churches it contains.
Explore Palazzolo Acreide
The town of Palazzolo-Acreide is a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto. All these towns have some superb examples of late Baroque architecture. In Palazzolo-Acreide these include the San Sebastiano church , Saint Paul's church and the church of Saint Nicholas.
In the centre of the town is the Piazza del Popolo where you can see the Church of San Sebastiano. It has a Baroque façade on three levels above a high staircase and was built in the late 19th century.
Based on the late Renaissance style the church curves with three overlapping levels: the first has a portal flanked by four Corinthian columns, the second has four columns and a large electric clock while the third includes the bell tower with two bells. The interior of the church has three naves, where a painting of “Saint Margaret of Cortona”, by Vito d 'Anna (1718-1769) stands out.
Saint Paul's Church, built in the first half of the 18th century, has a Baroque style facade with a central arch supported by two Corinthian columns. The church has three naves, richly decorated with stucco and a wooden pulpit. The Altar is composed of four pairs of columns with Corinthian capitals. In the midst of the altar stands a wooden statue of St. Paul the Apostle, by Vincenzo Lorefice (16th century).
To the side of Saint Paul's Church is the Cathedral Church of Saint Nicholas. The interior has three naves, and the cornice decoration is of the Baroque style. The interior is rich in paintings by Olivio Sozzi (1690-1765) and Mario Minniti (1577-1640).
The Church of the Annunciation is the oldest church in Palazzolo Acreide and was probably built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt by Matteo Tranisi. The exterior of the church stands out for the wide portal, which has four spiral columns decorated with vine shoots and friezes in a naturalistic style.
The church has three naves decorated with paintings, among which the most notable is the 'Annunciation' by a local painter, Paolo Tanasi (19th century).
The town once had an impressive castle but this was destroyed along with much of the town in the 1693 earthquake. All that is left of the castle now are a few ruins. It is this earthquake that led to many towns in the area having to be rebuilt and the architectural style of the time was late Baroque.
There is an interesting museum in the town. The museum of Antonino Uccello houses a collection put together by Antonino Uccello, an ethnologist, and is housed in an attractive house in the town.
Attractions near Piazzolo Acreide
Tthe Anapo Valley around Piazzolo Acreide stands out for the beauty of its country landscape and traditions. These traditions are celebrated locally in honor of Saint Paul (June) and Saint Sebastian (January), times at which tourists can enjoy some of the local products and typical dishes. Its Carnival is also one of the oldest in Sicily and is a good time to visit the town.
Particular local specialities include the macaroni called "maccu", ravioli with ricotta, risotto with mushrooms, the "Cavatelli" and the noodles with special seasonings. Among the desserts we recommend the "Cannolicchi" and other specialties with ricotta and almonds.
See also Palazzolo Acreide history and etymology.
Places to Visit Nearby
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.