“Smart Way – The Phoenicians’ Route in the EUSAIR area”
Network of museums/archaeological sites




In the Adriatic-Ionian Region, the Phoenicians’ Route develops its branding strategy in line with the overall branding strategy for the EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR). The brand contribute to increase the competitiveness of the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe and to develop new products and service.

Specific objectives

  • Build the Adriatic-Ionian ‘brand’ linked to a cultural tourism product based on the identity that it intends to create;
  • Diversify and expand the cruise and nautical sectors into coastal hinterland economies, therefore start the design of the connection systems to be realized through agreements between private companies;
  • Establish a R&D platform with universities, research centres and the business community to develop new tourist products and services;
  • Promote new tourist routes for walking, cycling and sailing, etc.;
  • Embrace the Adriatic and Ionian cultural heritage by working together with the cultural sector;
  • Improve access to tourism products and services for senior groups, disabled people, low income groups, etc.

Among the activities, a Network of Museums and Archaeological Areas was created in Croatia, Greece and Italy, linked to the themes developed by the Route:


The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is one of the direct successors to the former National Museum, the oldest museum institution in the Croatian capital, founded in 1836. Since its founding, the Museum has gone through various phases of organizational development. The Archaeological Department was declared an independent institution within the National Museum in 1878. This department subsequently became an independent museum in 1939 when the National Museum ceased to exist in its previous form. Since 1945 the Museum is situated in the Vranyczany-Hafner mansion at 19 Zrinski Square, where it remains today.

From the very beginning, the Museum was acquiring archaeological items and collections from private individuals and antiquarians, but as early as the 1880s, its curators began systematic archaeological excavations all over Croatia, acquiring in this manner abundant quantities of archaeological artefacts as well as valuable data for studying many different aspects of everyday life from the prehistoric age to the mediaeval period. Nowadays, field excavations remain the main source of new acquisitions. The most recent museum activities in this field include systematic excavations, conservation and presentation (in the form of archaeological parks) of Roman urban architectural complexes at Ščitarjevo near Zagreb (Andautonia) and at Varaždinske Toplice (Aquae Iasae) as well as many research projects at various sites, mainly in continental part of Croatia.

The Museum collections consist today of nearly 450,000 objects organised in five different collections (Numismatic, Egyptian, Prehistoric, Greek and Roman and Medieval collection). Among them are some extraordinary artefacts whose significance goes far beyond the limits of local or regional heritage such as:

  • the Etruscan Linen Book of Zagreb
  • the Roman portrait of a young girl from Salona (presumably the princess Plautilla)
  • the eneolithic Dove of Vučedol
  • the Psephisma of Lumbarda commemorating the creation of a Greek colony on the island of Korčula
  • the first dated inscription of a Slavic ruler, the Branimir inscription from 888 AD.

Address: 19 Nikola Subic Zrinski Square, P.O. Box 13, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 (0)1 4873 000
e-mail: amz@amz.hr
web: www.amz.hr

The Archaeological Collection Issa is housed in the fort built by Austria during their rule over Dalmatia. The fort is called Our Lady’s Battery. It is situated in the centre of the spacious bay of Vis, and by its position it overlooks the surrounding buildings. It was built in the beginning of the 19th century. It played an important role in the Battle of Vis in 1866, when the Italian ships entered the bay, unsuccessfully trying to conquer the island. It is surrounded by a deep trench, there are embrasures in the walls and there is a spacious court in the centre of the fort. Today it houses a submarine archaeological, ethnographic and Hellenistic collection.

Address: Zrinsko – Frankopanska 25, 21000 Split, Croatia
Tel: +385 021 / 329-340
e-mail: info@armus.hr
Web: http://mdc.hr/split-arheoloski/index.html


It’s the largest building in Northern Greece, fully restored with such a large volume of murals, ceiling paintings, wood carvings, tarpaulins, as well as the largest number of exhibits. More than 5,000 visitors & students guided tours of the history and culture of the city.

In the Folklore and Historical Museum of Xanthi the visitor discovers the elements and the peculiarities of the area that contributed to the formation of the modern history of the place. The architectural symmetry and the exterior decoration of the building, as well as the wood-carved ceilings, frescoes and wall-paintings make it a jewel.
Here are presented elements of public and private life, the social, economic and religious life of the city and the countryside of the early 20’s century.
The exhibitions of the Ground Floor and of the Floor refer to the history of Thrace, the modern history of the city and the life of the ruling bourgeoisie.
The presentation of the Basement constitutes the agricultural and livestock life of Xanthi. While in the second part, the thematic section “Entrepreneurship in Xanthi in the beginning of the 20th century – Professionals – Workers’ class.  Finally, in the courtyard, there are the two Hammam and the Church of the Holy Hazards.
The Folklore & Historical Museum of Xanthi, which is managed entirely by FEX, opened its doors to the public 1975 with the report taken care of by the Popi Zora and presented exhibits that were gathered and we continue to accept donations of Xanthi and not.
The volunteer work of the members has resulted in a significant collection and an excellent building that has been restored and today is the largest building in northern Greece, fully restored with such a large volume of frescoes, ceilings, wood carvings, tarpaulins and the largest number of exhibits.
This took place in 2000-05 and 2008 -2010 with the implementation of two European programs in cooperation with the Municipality of Xanthi for its restoration and with its support Alexandros S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation  & Lt;  of the Ioannis F. Kostopoulos Foundation  to complete the work. His support had preceded him of the AG Leventis Foundation with which FEX preserved the volume of exhibits presented in the permanent exhibition of the Museum.
In 2010 with the donation from Stavros Niarchos Foundation work on the exploitation of the collections and the rich archive continued, documenting it scientifically by issuing eight (8) thematic lists. “Little Stories of Xanthi” FEX 2010). New rooms with thematic units were formed and opened, and their studies were the result of postgraduate studies from universities in Greece and abroad, while the entire exhibition was attended by the staff and scientific associates of the Museum.
The same year and with his support of the Bodossakis Foundation the studies that were preceded by groups of students of the polytechnic faculty of the DUTH. on Digital Security Infrastructure – promoting and improving the operation of the Museum by exploiting new technologies.

In 2018 with the donation from Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the museum renewed its equipment and acquired two new associates as the scientific staff of the museum, a historian and a folklorist.
Today the Museum presents in the best and unique way the modern history of our city.  It runs daily and teaches local history to students and to more than 12,000 visitors per year. It has permanent staff, many volunteers and employs scientific associates to implement the programs it organizes. It collaborates with universities and hosts students every year doing their work, giving a new dynamic to the work and planning of the Museum. It organizes educational programs and exploits the spaces and infrastructures beyond the Museum’s schedule. It is fully equipped, making it functional and tempting for the visitor and its partners. It is a gem and an important infrastructure for our region.
The Folklore & Historical Museum of Xanthi in its educational activities organizes a series of educational programs. The programs are the result of collaboration with educators, museologists and artists.

Address: Antika 7, Xanthi 671 00, Greece
Tel: +30 2541 025421
e-mail: fexanthis@gmail.com
Web: https://fex.org.gr/

The Abdera Archaeological Museum is a museum in Avdira, Greece. The museum houses archaeological artifacts found in the city which date from around 7th century B.C. to 13th century A.D.

The museum was established in January 2000 and the building was designed by the architects Y. Polychromous and N. Filippidis of the Directorate of Museum Studies of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

The exhibition includes objects found in the ancient city and its cemeteries and covers the period from the 7th century BC till the 12th century AD. Its main objective is educational. Displayed mainly the everyday lives of ancient people of Avdira through the objects used by ordinary people in their daily occupations. The exhibition is structured thematically. Each section includes items from all periods of the city’s life arranged according to their use. By doing so presents the evolution of the city and become apparent the gradual changes in the lives of residents and the construction method of the same object. Illustrative texts, photographs, drawings, maps and diagrams provide additional information to the visitor.  The excavations in ancient Avdira began in 1950. Findings initially housed in the Museum of Kavala. Since 1973 (when the Prefecture of Xanthi incorporated into Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, of Komotini) housed in the Museum Komotini. To 1976 the Ministry of Culture has taken action to build the Museum of Avdira. The decision for the foundation signed in 1984. In1985 the Community of Avdira granted for this purpose a plot in the village. Work commenced in 1989 and completed in 1992. Official receipt was made in 1993. In 1994 works began on preparing the exhibition. The years 1995 – 1998 were selected and transferred ancient findings from the Museums of Kavala and Komotini. In 1997, approved from the Central Archaeological Council (CAC) the proposal for the exhibition program. In 1998 – 1999 were the work of re-exposure.

Address: L. Lazaridi Str. 2, Avdira 67061, Greece
Tel: +30 2541051003
e-mail: protocol@ithepka.culture.gr
web: www.emtgreece.com/en/museums/archaeological-museum-of-avdira


The Maritime Museum of Cesenatico is the only one in Italy (and among the very few in the world) having both a Ground Section displayed inside a pavilion and a Floating Section, with eleven traditional boats of the Adriatic Sea, with their dyed sails that in summer are hoisted daily, of which three are kept sailing to preserve and pass on the intangible heritage of ancient navigation skills.

But above all, the Maritime Museum of Cesenatico is a special museum to be discovered for its inseparable relationship with the ancient channel harbour sketched by Leonardo da Vinci, with the historic center characterized by the places of conservation and sale of fish and houses of fishermen, with the traditional private boats whose restoration was encouraged by the example of the museum and by the free mooring granted by the Municipality.

Ultimately, a museum that is the mirror in which an entire community sees its most authentic history and identity reflected and narrated to everyone.

Address: via Armellini, 18 – 47042 Cesenatico (FC) – Italy
Tel: +39 0547 79205
e-mail: museomarineria@cesenatico.it
Web: www.museomarineria.eu

The Torre di Palme Archaeological Museum, from 15 April 2019, embellishes the already rich museum tour of Fermo. It is accessed from Piazzale della Rocca, the main entry point to the pretty village. Set up in an elegant neo-Guelph style building dating back to the second post- war period, it winds through three rooms in which the funerary objects of three of the twenty tombs found in the Cugnolo district, on the southern side of the village, are displayed. The museum, which in the future will be enriched with other rooms, bears witness to the importance of the Piceno settlement and the uses and customs of this important population that inhabited the Fermo area before the Roman colonization in 264 BC. In the first room, where the information point and ticket office are located, the oldest tomb of the necropolis, dating back to the Bronze Age (IX-VII century BC), of a young man, aged between 17 and 21 years, is displayed, buried with his little kit: a copper alloy dagger and a flint artefact. The second room, the largest, houses the faithful reconstruction of a tomb that belonged to a woman of about 40 years, who lived in the 6th century BC, who was to have a very prestigious role in the community. The third room is dedicated to the remains of an infant tomb dating back to the 6th century BC, probably female.

Numerous are the finds in amber, fossilized resin of some species of prehistoric conifers.
Although small deposits are also known in Italy, most of the amber used in the ancient world comes from the coasts of the Baltic Sea, imported along what is called Amber Road, entering the Mediterranean trade routes.
The Piceno is the Italian territory in which the greatest number of precious amber finds were found, particularly appreciated in the 6th and 5th century BC. In the necropolis of Torre di Palme the ambers are present in seven female tombs and in that of a child. The tomb of the woman in the second room stands out for the quite exceptional amount of jewelry of this material. The deceased was literally covered in jewels and garments embellished with amber: she wore a large necklace around her neck. These discoveries open up a new panorama on the antiquity of the presence of human communities in Torre di Palme and represent an important discovery also for the entire regional area, with unexpected cultural contacts towards the entire Italian peninsula.

Address: Pinacoteca civica – Piazza del Popolo, 5 – Fermo (FM)
Tel: +39 0734 217140 / 0734 284327
e-mail: fermo@sistemamuseo.itmuseidifermo@comune.fermo.it
web: www.sistemamuseo.it

Roman Purifyng Cisterns of Fermo are one of the best testimonies of the Roman Age in Fermo. They are located under Piazza del Popolo and they are accessible through Via degli Aceti. The cisterns, probably wanted by Cesare Ottaviano Augusto, date back approximately to the first century B.C. and they are also named “Piscine Epuratorie”. The main use of the roman cisterns was to collect, store and distribute rainwater by means of a sophisticated plumbing.

They are formed by 30 rooms for a total of 2200 mq which make it one of the most important monumental complex of its kind in Europe. Over the centuries, after having a deposit use, they have been in part reused as plumbing. It’s not easy to imagine the medieval city of Fermo as a box of hidden evocative roman remains, perfectly preserved.

Address: Pinacoteca civica – Piazza del Popolo, 5 – Fermo (FM)
Tel: +39 0734 217140 / 0734 284327
e-mail: fermo@sistemamuseo.itmuseidifermo@comune.fermo.it
web: www.sistemamuseo.it

Situated on the site of an ancient Daunia village, the Canne della Battaglia Archaeological Park safeguards valuable artefacts from the Roman, Paleo-Christian, and Medieval eras.
Halfway between Canosa di Puglia and Barletta, the settlement of Canne della Battaglia stands on the hill that dominates the Basso Ofanto Valley, site of the famous battle in 216 b.C., between the Romans and Carthaginians.
Surrounded by the thick walls that for so many centuries protected the local population from enemy attacks, Canne today offers visitors the chance to admire a rich and fascinating collection of finds dating to Roman, Paleo-Christian and Medieval times.
Make sure to visit the so-called Cittadella, the ancient village of Dauni with a burial ground in Fontanella, and the enthralling Antiquarium. Archaeological excavations have brought to life artefacts dating to periods ranging from the Copper Age to the Middle Ages. Studying the majestic city walls and visiting the Cittadella and the valuable Antiquarium, you can admire the remains from the Paleo-Christian, Roman and Medieval eras.

The Antiquarium of Canne della Battaglia is located not far away from Barletta and it keeps several archaeological finds, the evidence of the life in Canne from the Prehistory to the Middle Ages.
The museum, not far away from the train station and near the archaeological site, was inaugurated in 1958 and tells the story of those who used to live along the banks of Ofanto river.
Ornaments, coins, grave goods, ceramics, paintings and engravings with geometric patterns are evidence of the life in this area, well-known after the victory of Hannibal against the Romans in 216 BC.
To understand and learn more about the contents of the exhibition, there are scale models, graphics and educational panels.

Address: Strada Provinciale n. 142 Barletta-Canosa di Puglia 76121 Barletta (BA) – Italy
Tel: +39 088 3510993
e-mail: pm-pug.museocannedellabattaglia@beniculturali.it
Web: www.musei.puglia.beniculturali.it

In the middle of the Murge, in the area of Gioia del Colle, halfway between Bari and Taranto, the hill of Monte Sannace surrounds one of the richest areas of the Apulian territory: probably the old town of Thuriae, surely one of the most important ancient town in Peucetia.

After an inhabitation during the Neolithic age, on the hill of Monte Sannace, a permanent settlement is documented from the VIII century BC, which continues, with brief interruptions, until the Roman period (I century BC).
The building which are still now in this place refer especially to the main building period when the built-up area was richer, between VI and III century BC. During this period the settlement undergoes a gradual change: from a village of huts to a wide fortified urban centre.
Inside the Archaeological Park of Monte Sannace (state property – Polo Museale della Puglia) there are two routes devoted to a specific subject, one archaeological and the other naturalistic.

The archaeological itinerary includes a lot of break points in the lower area of the city and on the acropolis by allowing the view of the main monuments which characterize the ancient city.
The panoramic and naturalistic itinerary involves autonomously hills and plain, passing through the archaeological excavations, the “trulli” and the small rural buildings, in an intact landscape of Mediterranean scrub and ultra centenarian oaks.

Address: Strada Provinciale n° 61 Gioia-Turi Km 4,5 70023 Gioia del Colle (BA) – Italy
Tel: +39 080 3483052
e-mail: pm-pug.parcomontesannace@beniculturali.it
Web: www.musei.puglia.beniculturali.it

Keeping vigil over Italy’s most easterly town, The Castle of Otranto is a fascinating fortress that looks eastwards in memory of past Saracen attacks.

The Aragonese Castle, formerly Otranto’s defensive stronghold, is now a beacon of culture and knowledge, hosting international exhibitions and events.
After having been damaged in 1067 during a siege, the fortress was repaired and modified. But it was after the historical Saracen attack of 1480 that the defensive structure was reinforced and equipped with cannon towers.
Wandering between the imposing walls, you’ll be able to appreciate the various architectural details, such as the towers (Alfonsina, Duchessa, and Ippolita), the Punta di Diamante (Diamond Tip) Bastion, and the Sala Triangolare. This Triangular Hall was created using innovative defensive techniques and is considered one of the most important examples of military architecture of that time.

In the sale of ground floor, it is possible to retrace the history of Otranto and its monuments.
Inside the wonderful archaeological museum, a permanent exhibition entitled “The places of Prehistory. Porto Badisco and the Grotta dei Cervi”, projects the visitor into a world that since the last century was closed to historians and enthusiasts: the one that opened with the sensational discovery of the Badisco cave, in February 1970. It will be possible to visit mediated the Deer Cave, a Paleolithic site with its depictions dating from the Neolithic through the means of virtual reality and 3D movies. It will also expose many of the archaeological finds and restored on the occasion of our project. Approximately 250 exhibits, selected by two hundred cassettes of materials, are illustrated in a path that has Also Relates to other prehistoric otrantine.

Address: Piazza Castello, 73028 Otranto (LE) – Italy
Tel: +39 0836 210094
e-mail: castelloaragoneseotranto@gmail.com
Web: www.comune.otranto.le.it

From Portugal to California until the Alaskan waters the original fishermen of the island of Marettimo were able to always practice “the art of fishing”. Today in the Museum of the Sea, Maritime Traditions and Emigration run by the CSRT “Marettimo”, these memories are preserved.

It ‘a small museum, but full of history. The story is told from tools that you are exposed, now largely abandoned, that hold all the “art of fishing” of this seafarers. The photos, articles, publications and documentaries do the rest: what little it takes to tell the epic story of who in the late 1800s and early 1900s, began to emigrate to “very distant lands” as many did from all the ‘Italy and especially from the south.

The Marettimo people have done nothing but follow the route of the fish and then first began to move – even rowing boats and sailing – North Africa (Bizerte, Tripoli, Benghazi, Tunis, Bona, Sfax were the preferred destinations), Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Matosinhos, Lagos, Olhão) where they continued to be “master” the art of salting of blue fish and later in America. For the new continent, where they settled more numerous, frequently clandestinely they embarked on large sailing ships and during the crossing had a way of showing their expertise Mariners, helping the crew on deck. They landed near New York City, Ellis Island, where for a few months not fit to do any work. Some went to Milwaukee near Chicago and worked to unload coal, wood, bluefish.

The specificity of our fishermen is that even now only practice the activity with craft tools, as they are formally defined by the industry rules. Small nets, “mbardate” the trammel nets, pots cane and branches of wild olive and mastic, or “tartarune” that are routinely kept in order by the fishermen mending their nets as they learned from their parents. However, some techniques have been abandoned, because cheaper and overruled by the advancement technology. With the museum you are compiling an inventory of all the tools once used, allowing the visitor to appreciate and share the skills, efforts, tenacity of these fishermen. The museum is therefore not just a simple “box culture”

Address: Via Campi, 11 – 91023 Marettimo (TP)
Tel: +39 0923 923000
e-mail: acsrtmarettimo@libero.it
web: www.isoladimarettimo.com

Mozia is a memorable archaeological site in western Sicily, between the towns of Trapani and Marsala. The site covers an island, the San Pantaleo Island, situated in a striking location in a kind of shallow lagoon lined with the salt flats and windmills that are a characteristic of this coastline. Out to sea you can glimpse the Egadi Islands. The island’s terrain is flat and rural, and excavated stretches alternate with woodland, vineyard and field. It makes a good day or half-day excursion, with a small museum and extensive ruins to visit.

Mozia is also called Mothia, Motya and other variations on the original Phoenician name of the ancient town, which was an important colony of Carthage, the Phoenician-founded city in north Africa. The Carthaginians were crucial in the ancient history of Sicily, building, conquering and losing settlements, generally fighting (though sometimes allied) with the various Greek cities in Sicily. However, it is quite rare and exciting to see such extensive Carthaginian ruins in Italy, and so much evidence of Phoenician culture.

Mozia was destroyed by the Greeks of Syracuse (modern Siracusa) in the fourth century BC, after which the surviving inhabitants developed a new city site on the Sicilian coast nearby, on a headland which was more defensible. The new town was called Lilybaeum, and became the modern town of Marsala. Meanwhile the waters around Mozia, sheltered from the sea by longer islands, silted up into a kind of shallow lagoon. A number of ancient shipwrecks have been found nearby, including Phoenician (Punic) warships which were probably fleeing to the shelter of Lilybaeum after the Romans defeat of the Carthaginians in naval Battle of the Egadi Islands in 241 BC. One of these shipwrecks is on display in Marsala’s archaeological museum.
There was a thriving salt-extraction industry along the mainland shore, but the history of the island, now called San Pantaleo, was just about forgotten when an English exporter of Marsala wine, Joseph Whitaker, bought the land in 1902 and began excavating. It was Whitaker’s enthusiasm which led to the rediscovery of Mozia’s past, and the museum on the island, named after him, is still run by the Fondazione Giuseppe Whitaker.
The museum on Mozia is a good place to begin your tour of the island, since the best finds are here, and it helps give context to the ruins. Some of the museum cabinets display the collection of Joseph Whitaker: small ex-votos, lamps and other bits and pieces grouped together with careful little labels, conjuring up images of that worthy gentleman sitting and carefully sorting and admiring his treasures. A collection of ancient beads is displayed, strung together into a necklace, the label tells us, by Miss Delia Whitaker. The museum’s highlights include terracotta masks and funeral stele, some featuring stylised images of women in triangular skirts. The museum’s greatest treasure, though, is a marble statue, the Youth of Mozia (‘Giovanetto di Mozia’), also known as the Charioteer. This is a Greek work dating to the fifth century BC and is a real masterpiece.

Address: Isola di Mozia (San Pantaleo) – 91025 Marsala (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 0923 712598
e-mail: fondazionegwhitaker@virgilio.it
Web: www.fondazionewhitaker.it

The Regional Museum of Palazzo D’Aumale was born in April 2001 by an agreement stipulated between the Sicily Region and the Municipality of Terrasini which lent Palazzo D’Aumale owner of Palazzo D’Aumale, venue of the Museum.

The Museum has a conspicuous heritage constituted by the ethnographic and naturalistic collections acquired from time, beyond that from marine and terrestrial archaeological finds recovered during the excavations campaigns in the territory. It is therefore a multidisciplinary museum divided into three technical sections: Archaeological, Ethno-anthropological, Naturalistic, the latter comprising a geo-paleontological sector.

The Museum has among its main objectives that of cultural promotion to be implemented through the enhancement, dissemination and use of its goods. To achieve these goals, a series of activities have been started concerning:

– the conservation of the Goods, through a first reorganization of the collections;
– didactic activity, through the realization of the first phase of the “School-Museum” project; intended to foster communication between the school world and the world of culture;
– setting up of the museographic itinerary of the various Technical Sections, through the realization of temporary thematic exhibitions;
– the dissemination, through the production of DVDs (on traditional shipbuilding, on the Sicilian cart, on the symbols of popular art) and publications of informative material on the activities of the Museum (Brochures related to the exhibitions, pertaining to the collections, concerning Palazzo d’Aumale, shipbuilding).

Address: Lungomare Peppino Impastato, 90049 Terrasini (PA)
Tel: +39 091 8810989
e-mail: museo.arte.riso@regione.sicilia.it
web: www.museoartecontemporanea.it/museo_dAumale

The Baglio di Stefano in Gibellina, which houses the Orestiadi Foundation, in the baronial house contains the “Museum of Mediterranean Wefts” which has costumes, jewels, artistic fabrics, ceramics and manufactured articles of the material culture of the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean area: Sicily, Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Morocco, Albania and so forth.

The museum/workshop is the outcome of years of researches, meetings, debates, studies and  seminars promoted by the Orestiadi Foundation, but it is still a guiding idea, a limit idea, whose strength lies in its processual, interdisciplinary, cross-border character.
It seems to us that today the present-day situation, characterized by profound migrations, can present similar characteristics; Sicily and Italy can go back to being a place of meetings, of passage of peoples, of sedimentation of elements coming from different cultures than our own.
Besides, what artistic elements have peoples had, do they have or can they have if, though being bathed by the same sea, they seem culturally to be different? We have sought, through comparisons between art objects realized in these places, the characteristics that unite these people, the common elements more than the differences, at a historical moment in which the west seems to reject contributions from and understanding of Middle East or North African cultures.

Achille Bonito Oliva writes:
The Museum of Mediterranean Wefts in Gibellina represents a correct and open interpretation of Mediterranean history that flows from Spain, France through Italy through the Arabic countries. This museum presents together traces of high culture and others of material culture, somewhere between individual imagination and daily collective living … the space in front of the Di Stefano Houses becomes a container of signs of a cultural anthropology outside all hegemonic logic and logic of supremacy of the west over the east or of the north over the south.

Address: Fondazione – Istituto di Alta Cultura Orestiadi Onlus Baglio Di Stefano, 91024 – Gibellina (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 0924 67844
e-mail: info@orestiadi.it
Web: www.fondazioneorestiadi.it/museo/

Campus Belli is the name given by the Romans to the place where the battle between Segesta and Selinunte took place, in Campana San Nicola district, a name which was then extended to the the town. Expanses of cultivated fields predominantly of olive groves and vines characterise the landscape of Campobello di Mazara. The countryside and agricultural life has always characterised the history and economic vocation of the town. Today, this tradition is remembered by the Museo della vita e del lavoro contadino – Museum of rural life and work which offers the visitor examples of ancient trades and agricultural traditions which are no longer in use. However, it is to the presence of the historical Cusa Quarries that Campobello owes its fame. From this extraordinary place, where fascinating archaeology is united with a beautiful natural landscape, the people of Selinunte extracted the elements used to construct the enormous columns which supported their temples. Here, the extraction work seems to be unfinished, in a suspension of time which makes the site extremely fascinating and suggestive. Thanks to the dozens of column sections that still pepper the quarries (in various stages of completion), the Cusa Quarries provide us with a tangible idea of how the temples at Selinunte (and presumably elsewhere) were built, and how the local craftsmen and engineers set about fashioning their masterpeices.

Here’s a brief description of the process:

– a circle of a specified diameter was traced on top of the stone mass.
– the quarriers began chiselling downwards around the circumference until they reached a depth of up to around 2.5m (the height of the columns sections varied). The result was a perfect cylinder surrounded by a gap in the stone of about 45-60cm wide.
– using metal tools, the base of the cylinder was chipped away at until it could be levered from the mother stone underneath.
– so the column section was ready to be taken to the construction site (pulled by oxen) where it would be refined, adjusted, embellished and hoisted into position.
The result was one of Magna Graecia’s most impressive collection of temples.

Address: Via Ugo Bassi, 37 – 91021 Campobello di Mazara (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 0924 46277
e-mail: parco.archeo.selinunte@regione.sicilia.it
Web: http://selinunte.gov.it/

Selinunte – Selinus – actually wasn’t a huge city. It was a reasonable-sized town, but the scale of its temples indicate Selinunte had ideas high above its station. Founded in the seventh century BC by Greeks from Megara Hyblaea, itself a colony of Megara in Greece, Selinus was spread over a couple of low hills on the seashore. The town probably reached its peak in the sixth and fifth centuries BC, the era when its grand temples were constructed. In 409 BC Selinus was attacked, defeated and destroyed by the Carthaginians. There were later attempts to re-fortify the citadel, but the town’s greatest days were over.

After earthquakes shook the remaining buildings to bits in the Middle Ages, the site of Selinus was forgotten until its rediscovery in the sixteenth century. In the early nineteenth century English archaeologists began the work of excavation, which still goes on today.
On entering the archaeological park, the first sight you see is the grandest. The large Doric temple known as Temple E was re-erected in the 1950s and stands proudly on a rise. It is an impressive evocation of Sicily’s Greek past, and, unusually, visitors can climb into the temple itself to get a real sense of the scale and history of the building.
Behind Temple E are two more temples – this low hill would have been a sacred site outside the town centre. These temples are much more ruinous. The furthest from the entrance, Temple G, was a massively ambitious project that may never have been finished. It would have been one of the biggest temples of the ancient world, and the mound of masonry is still impressive today. Clambering among the sections of column is a memorable experience – it is interesting to get an idea of Greek construction techniques from the blocks of carved stone, to marvel at the scale and ambition of the building, and at the force of its ultimate destruction, at the hands of the Carthaginian conquerors and of later earthquakes.
From this eastern part of the site, visitors cross a shallow valley where Selinunte’s port once stood, and climb up to the heart of town on another low hill. The acropolis and more temples (one partially re-erected) were in this part of the city; the earliest part of Selinunte to be built and also the last to be inhabited by the survivors of the Carthaginian siege. At its heyday the town’s main residential areas covered the level ground inland from this hilltop; parts of the street layout have been excavated, though the ruins aren’t as striking as those in the main hilltop cluster.

On the western hill is a small museum which exhibits finds from the site and helps give an idea of how the temples – brightly painted and decorated – would have looked. Unfortunately, the best portable remains, including the metopes – sculpture panels from the temple frieze – are now in the archaeological museum in Palermo, which is likely to be closed for restoration until at least 2012.
Some of the extant ruins at Selinunte are very poignant. After the big defeat in 409 BC, defensive walls built of existing masonry were thrown up in a desperate attempt to defend the nucleus of the city. A row of twelve narrow openings in the fortifications were supposedly designed for lines of men to run out in the town’s defence in the event of a military assault; not an enviable job.

By a stream you will find the remains of a very early sacred site, the Malophorus sanctuary. There is a simple temple here, sacrificial altars and a carefully constructed water course. This was evidently an important site used over a long period. Archaeologists found thousands of votive offerings, mostly terracotta figurines, here, and much of the Selinunte material exhibited in the Palermo archaeological museum is from this part of the site.

Address: Piazzale Iole Bovio Marconi, 1 – Fraz. Marinella di Selinunte, 91022 Castelvetrano (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 338 7853892
e-mail: parco.archeo.selinunte@regione.sicilia.it
Web: http://selinunte.gov.it/

The Grifeo family commissioned the castle in the fourteenth century. It belonged to them until 1890, the year in which it was sold to the Adragna family of Trapani. Although various transformations have altered the original appearance, the solemn aspect of an ancient embattled fortress remains with three large wings arranged around a spacious courtyard. The courtyard’s interior central portal gives access to the reception hall, also known as the “Sala delle Armi” (Hall of Weapons) or “Sala del Trono” (Throne room). Today the ancient furnishings are mostly no longer present and the space is now the Civic Museum of Prehistory of Lower Belìce.

The reception hall leads to the ancient castle stables from which it is possible to visit the garden, the wine cellars and the basements entirely carved into the rock.

Address: Castello Grifeo, Piazza Graffeo – 91028 Partanna (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 0924 923571
Web: www.regione.sicilia.it/beniculturali/soprinTP

The Archaeological Museum Panitteri Palace, is located in the charming eighteenth-century palace that takes its name from the noble family sambucese Panitteri. Today it is owned by the Municipality and includes a visit itinerary divided into two sectors relative to the archaeological site of Monte Adranone. The tour begins with the visit of “First Room”, where you can admire the topographic classification and historical and archaeological site, and then in the following rooms in the museum showcases there are finds from the various sectors of the site of Monte Adranone: on a hill a short distance from Sambuca di Sicilia, remain the impressive ruins of a Center, who lived between the 8th and 3rd century BC in an area between the area of influence and sicana elimo-Punic. From these various cultures descended the complex pattern of this site, due to its prominent position played also an important strategic significance both in more archaic stage in relation to the location of Selinuntia odòs, the road connecting Selinunte with Akragas, allowed selinuntina penetration both in Hellenistic period, when it became, arguably, the cornerstone of that system of strongholds built by Carthage in defense of its own borders eparchy in Sicily. It is proposed to identify the site with the Adranon mentioned by Diodorus in relation to the first Punic War, the Romans tried in vain to conquer: the attendance still stop to 3rd century. BC The wide archaeological area extends on the terraces of the hill from the southern slopes where was the necropolis, with different typologies: burial chamber tombs hypogean, including the so-called tomb of Queen, referring to the VI-V century. BC and chest, covered with marl blocks dating from the 4th century. BC in defense of the town was built starting from the 6th sec. BC a mighty wall, which underwent several stages of history building Center: are the remains of the monumental South Gate and North Gate, flanked by turrets. At the foot of the Acropolis was a sacred area with a rectangular building, bipartite: the presence of two betile reveals religious punic membership. The same connotation has tripartite Temple erected on top of the Acropolis, with the central compartment open layout, whose plant undergoes changes during the long life of the site, also in relation to the establishment of the worship of Baal-Hammon and Tanit Carthaginian influence zones. South suburban area around the middle of the fourth century. BC built the grandiose complex intended to workshops, crafts and agriculture. In non-urban area at the South Gate structures remain a small Hellenistic sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and Kore.

Address: Via Panitteri, 1, 92017 Sambuca di Sicilia (AG) – Italy
Tel: +39 0925 940239 – +39 0922 552516
e-mail: comune@comunesambucadisicilia.ag.it – urpsopriag@regione.sicilia.it
Web: www.museoarcheologicopalazzopanitteri.it

The archaeological area of Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples, is on the southern coast of Sicily and covers the vast territory of the ancient polis, from the Rupe Atenea to the acropolis of the original ancient city, as well as to the sacred hill on which stand the main Doric temples and up to the extramural necropolis.

Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BCE, Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean region. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today’s fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas reveal the late Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

Agrigento has a special place among classical sites in the history of the ancient world because of the way in which its original site, typical of Greek colonial settlements, has been preserved, as well as the substantial remains of a group of buildings from an early period that were not overlain by later structures or converted to suit later tastes and cults.

The city of Akragas, defined as the “most beautiful city of those inhabited by man” by the Greek poet Pindar, was founded by colonists from Gela and Rhodes in 580 BC. The settlement sits atop a plateau not far from the coast, sheltered to the north by the hills of Rupe Atenea and Colle di Girgenti, to the south by the so-called Collina dei Templi – hill of the temples, and surrounded by the rivers Akragas and Hypsas. Its port (empórion) is located at the mouth of the two rivers where the fishing village of San Leone is found.
Between the middle of the sixth century and the end of the fifth century BC, the city was the site of feverish construction; indeed, the majority of the remains visible today and the imposing 12-kilometre wall with its nine gateways date to this period. From the tyrannies of Phalaris and Theron through to the arrival of democracy expounded by the philosopher Empedocles, Akragas grew from a small settlement to a large city state with a population of over 200,000 inhabitants.
Destroyed in 406 BC by the Carthaginians, prosperity did not return to the city until the rise of Timoleon in the late third century BC. During the Punic Wars, the Carthaginians defended the settlement against the Romans, who seized control of the city in 210 BC.
During the Roman era, the city – renamed Agrigentum – underwent a period of monumental urban redevelopment as new public buildings – including at least two temples, the theatre and the bouleuterion – were built, with the new constructions centred around the hill of Saint Nicolas, where the town’s Museum of Archaeology now stands. The most opulent villas in the nearby Hellenistic-Roman quarter also date to this period. The wealth of Agrigentum’s residents most likely relied on the mining, refining and trade of sulphur, as documented by various inscriptions.

In late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, the Valley of the Temples was occupied by a sprawling Christian burial ground that extended both underground and in the open air.
During the Muslim conquests of the Arabs, Berbers, Spanish, Egyptians, Syrians and Persians between 829 and 840 AD, it is believed that the settlers withdrew to Colle di Girgenti (derived from Arabic word Gergent or Kerkent), where the medieval and modern city was later developed.
During this period, the Valley of the Temples was inhabited in a sporadic manner and became the site of agricultural production and craftsmanship, with various ceramic workshops documented by the presence of several kilns. Over the centuries, the old monuments of the ancient city were steadily deprived of their brickwork for use in the construction of the buildings around Girgenti and the ancient harbour of Porto Empedocle.

Address: Casa Sanfilippo – Via Panoramica dei Templi, 92100 – Agrigento (AG) – Italy
Tel: +39 0922 1839996 – +39 0922621611
e-mail: parcodeitempli@regione.sicilia.it
Web: www.parcovalledeitempli.it

The island has an archaeological heritage of inestimable value. The discovery of important sites dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century when, under the direction of the Service for the archaeological heritage of the Superintendency for Cultural and Environmental Heritage of Trapani, several Italian and European universities have started a systemic and continuous study of Pantelleria archaeological heritage.

There are four main archaeological areas:
– the prehistoric village of Mursia
– the acropolis of San Marco
– the Punic-Roman sanctuary of the Venere lake
– the late Roman settlement of Scauri.

Beyond the extent of such a heritage, it is worth noting its peculiarity: the geographical position of the island makes Pantelleria a focal point in the trade routes and in the war events of the ancient Mediterranean civilizations; moreover, it is difficult to find another place in the world where everyone could walk peacefully among the remains of prehistoric cities still perfectly preserved.

Leaving aside the Acropolis of Cossyra, located in the northern part of the island and therefore outside the Park area, we will focus on the other areas, which bring to mind much more distant eras, as in the case of the village of Mursía (1900-1700 BC), located in the North-Western coast. Its exceptional state of preservation makes it possible to understand how the village was built: facing the sea, it was bordered by a mighty wall and inside by archaic dwellings, similar to huts; adjacent to the fortified village there is the necropolis, the city of the dead, with more than fifty sési, tombs built in stone in the shape of a dome. The ancient inhabitants lived on agriculture and pastoralism, they had many cultural affinities with the neighbouring people of North Africa, due to their intense commercial exchanges: the population based its development on the export of obsidian and ceramics imported from the Aegean and objects of Egyptian and south-eastern Mediterranean origin were found.

The archaeological site of Venere Lake, in the northern part of the island, includes a large sanctuary dating back to Roman times. The temple is in Ionic style, but its architectural structure presents Punic elements, given that it is based on a previous construction. It consists of a rectangular plan cell, where once there was a statue of the deity; of an area in front of the cell, where the sacrificial rites were performed and of a large staircase leading to the part in front of the temple. From the comparison with other sanctuaries of the time in the Mediterranean Sea, it is assumed that the sanctuary is dedicated to fertility and water, then to the Punic goddess Tanit and later to the Latin goddess Venus. The last major archaeological site is the late Roman settlement of Scauri: this place was inhabited as early as the third century AD, but only in the fifth century it became one of the maximum productive and commercial centres of the Mediterranean Sea. In the seabed of the harbour a shipwreck was found with numerous ceramic objects, testifying to the strong productive and commercial activity of the ceramic, while on the coast an entire fishing village was brought to light, made of houses and roads clinging to the terrace of the place.

Other interesting archaeological sites are scattered around the island and represent tombs carved into the rock, irregularly or anthropoid shaped. They are associated with the Byzantine occupation of the island and could all be dated to a period from the 6th to the 9th century AD.
The largest of these burial grounds is in Contrada Zighidí and served the underlying village of Contrada Monastero. But the most striking are the tombs of Ghibbiúna, in the Serraglia area above Ghirlanda. The tombs are carved from the stones of a small promontory enclosed in a holm oak forest. A silent place, almost magical, in which to take a break discovering the scents carried by the wind.

Address: Piazzale Iole Bovio Marconi, 1 – Fraz. Marinella di Selinunte, 91022 Castelvetrano (TP) – Italy
Tel: +39 338 7853892
e-mail: parco.archeo.selinunte@regione.sicilia.it
Web: http://selinunte.gov.it/