After five days in Sicily’s Ragusa, it was time to move on. But not before we checked out a tiny path running through a ravine near the old town. The path itself is not very well used but we found it on OpenStreetMaps. It also is not long and it passes some more caves and former graves. Youth was hanging out there and we had a little chat with some of the kids.
While the path continues further we went up and emerged at the top near the Archeological museum. The museum is worth a visit, but very old fashioned and underfunded. Plus it is very hard to find. The main entrance is hidden off a main street but also accessible with an elevator, located outside a Best Western hotel.
The elevator brings you to street level underneath a gritty bridge. Walk around the building (the front has a car wash, can you believe it) and you’ll find the entrance. The building appears to be built in the early sixties and nothing has changed since. You can spend perhaps an hour there. There are lots of interesting artifacts, but very little explanation. Most items only have a inventory number and of you are lucky, a mention in Italian where iT was found and fron which period. That is too bad as it could be a major attraction if they got the storytelling right. We were basically alone there.
Our second stop Ofour holidays was Castelbuono, in the northern part of Sicily. Halfway our trip we stopped at another World Heritage site, the Villa Romana del Casale, built in the fourth century after Christ and beautifully preserved by a land slide, which covered the gorgeous mosaics. While the walls and roofs are mostly gone, the floors are incredible, giving an insight in the wealth of the home owner, who is actually unknown. No photo does justice to the sheer size of the mosaics, but here are a few.
The building stands in a beautiful setting. There were lot of Brits and a lot of Italian school groups, so be there early.
About a half hour drive to the north east of the villa is the small town of Aidone and just past that is another large abandoned archeological site called Morgantina. We only met one other couple there, Australians in a big BMW SUV, which they didn’t reserve but it was the last car left at the car rental. I wouldn’t want to drive it in Sicily. Neither did they.
Morgantina dates back some 3000 years. Read some of its history here on Wikipedia. In more recent years, the theatre and the forum were unearthed and some shows have been given again. We thought it was very cool to sit in a place where once the locals were sitting in the exact same place, some 2500 years ago.
After the museum and the two treats in central Sicily, we continued our travels towards the Madonie mountains, in the central north of the island, for some hiking. We found a wonderful place called Castelbuono, which is hardly mentioned in the guide books. After a long day of travelling, we decided to go out for dinner.
Watch for the next post by following @HansontheBike or sign up for email alerts on this page. Read the first part of the series here: Ragusa and the south east World Heritage Sites.
Part 1 The southeast UNESCO sites
Part 2 Villa Romana del Casale and Morgantina
Part 3 Castelbuono, Madonie and Cefalú
Part 4 Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples and Siracusa
Part 5 Catania’s Treasures