There really is a lot to discover in Sicily – from idyllic beaches to delicious typical recipes, from strong and ancient religious traditions to beautiful samples of Baroque architecture; new wonders are discovered everyday, and every type of tourist can find its own dimension here. Diving lover will enjoy the waters of Zingaro Nature Reserve, of Pantelleria and Lampedusa; food and wine enthusiast will be happy to visit vineyards and cellars and then taste a delicious typical meal in one of the many agriturismo in the countryside… And archaeology and history lovers will have a huge choice of really interesting and valuable museums all over the island.
We are focusing on history and archaeology here: so if you are more of a modern-art museum kind of person, just wait for more posts to come on the blog – we’ll have plenty of recommendations for you too! Meanwhile, enjoy our top 4 archaeology and history museums in Sicily!
1. Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonio Salinas (Palermo)
The Salinas Museum is the house of one of the richest collections of Punic and Greek art in Italy, as well as of a huge collection of great evidences of the history of Sicily. Its collection is certainly the biggest in Sicily, and is really worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about the influence of the Greek culture in the island, that later reached the whole Italian peninsula and then Europe. The Museum is part of the monumental complex of “Olivella”, which also includes the beautiful St. Ignatius church and oratory, and is located in the very city centre of the capital of the island: a must-go if you are visiting Palermo.
2. Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi (Syracuse)
This is one of the most important archaeological museums in Europe: its collection traces the history of Syracuse and Sicily from the prehistory to the Greek and Roman periods, with evidences both from the city and from other archaeological sites all over Sicily. It would be impossible to summarize all the astonishing and invaluable wonders you’ll see here; we just mention the (probably) most famous piece of this huge collection – the Landolina Venus, a Roman statue dating back to the 1st century b.C.. This beautiful statue inspired even the great poet Guy De Maupassant , who described it with enthusiastic tones after seeing it during its Sicily tour.
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm; Sunday from 9am to 1pm; Monday – closed: if you are staying in one of our Syracuse villas, plan your visit and enjoy.
3. Museo Archeologico Regionale Pietro Griffo (Agrigento)
This archaeological museum is the best to understand the history of the whole area of Agrigento from the prehistory. Its collection includes evidences from the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and even more ancient; the main part of it, anyway, is made of beautiful evidences from the Greek domination of Sicily – a domination that reached its climax right here, in the ancient Akragas, where the monumental world-famous Valley of the Temples lies. The Museum is located on top of the little hill of San Nicola, and it can be reached through the street of the Valley of the Temples (we don’t even need to say that, before or after your visit to the Museum, you absolutely must not miss a tour of the Valley, right?).
4. Museo Archeologico Regionale (Gela)
This Museum lies just beside the acropolis of Gela, a wonderful archaeological site whose evidences are now displayed within the Museum itself. Its collection includes items from the prehistory to the Middle Ages, but it’s the Greek domination of Gela the most represented period: among all the beautiful objects you’ll see, we mention a perfectly-preserved Corinthian helm, a wonderful collection of red and black Greek ceramics, the remains of the load of a Greek ship sunk right in front of the port, and of course pieces and details of the Greek temples of the city.
Have you been to these Museums yet? What is your favorite one? And which one do you think we should add to our list? We are waiting for your comments!