SORTINO

Municipality of the Aretusean province, over 400 m asl, on the eastern slopes of the Iblei Mountains, it is a showcase of art and history: in addition to its remarkable archaeological and architectural heritage, it owes its fame to the traditional production of honey for which it is known since ancient times. Baroque churches, eighteenth-century palaces, Pantalica and Valle dell'Anapo are the varied and wonderful image that the country offers visitors. The human settlement dates back to the 13th century. B.C. with the presence of the Necropolis of Pantalica, flourishing kingdom until the 7th century B.C. The domination of the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, and Angevins followed. Below the latter, the name of Sortino is mentioned for the first time. It became a fief, it was a possession of the Modica-Eredia families and was subsequently acquired in 1477 by the Gaetani family for over three centuries. The earthquake of 1693 totally destroyed it and the town was rebuilt on another site, on top of the Cugno del Rizzo, with the generous contribution of the Gaetani family. Ancient Sortino still preserves glimpses of incredible beauty: the ruins of cave dwellings, the ruins of the ancient mills, the mills and tanneries, the lime quarries, the karstic caves, the breathtaking views, the Guccione river, make the place a magnificent interweaving of nature, history and fable. Today's Sortino, considered the Mediterranean capital of honey, with its picturesque streets, alleys, courtyards, chapels, monasteries, cloisters, noble palaces, is a reality full of cultural ferments and potential to enhance and increase. The most beautiful feature of the place is hospitality. The sortinesi do not fail to offer the opportunity for tourists to appreciate the gastronomy, folklore and traditions.

PANTALICA 

A few kilometers from Sortino it is possible to visit Pantalica (XIII-VII century BC) the largest necropolis in Europe, one of the most important Sicilian protohistoric sites awarded, together with the historical center of Syracuse, the title of Unesco Heritage.
City inhabited since the Bronze Age, destroyed before 664 BC and then returned to be populated by the Byzantines and later by the Arabs, looking down on the lush valleys crossed by the Calcinara and Anapo rivers.
It is in the vast plateau of Pantalica that the archaeologist Paolo Orsi, at the beginning of 1900, started the excavations from which the magnificent site that we can admire, including the remains of an Anaktoron, the Castle of the Prince, and countless quantities of Tombs (about 5,000 "holes" that experts call artificial grotto tombs).
The end of the civilization of Pantalica came after the Arab invasion (9th century AD), although, presumably, the site was inhabited until the twelfth century.
Of remarkable natural beauty are the characteristic caves in which the nature of the land, water and time have embroidered stalactites and stalagmites that offer tourists a wonderful sight.

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