UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sicily
The Unesco World Heritage Site catalogues, names and conserves sites of outstanding cultural and natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.
Sicily is home to the following sites:
1- Valle dei Templi, Agrigento, listed in 1997
Founded in the 6th Century B.C., the ancient city of Agrigento was one of the greatest Mediterranean centers. The remains of the Doric Temple which dominates the city are well preserved and are one of the most terrific monuments of Greek art and culture.
2- Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, listed in 1997
In the town of Piazza Armerina, central Sicily, is the 4th Century AD Villa Romana del Casale. Built originally as a hunting lodge, this ancient construction is home to some wonderful examples of Roman mosaics. 37,674 sq ft of mosaic flooring was discovered in the mid-18th century, picturing everything from mythological scenes to daily Roman life.
3- Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands), listed in 2000
The 7 Aeolian Islands lying off the north coast of Sicily are all of volcanic origin and are separated from the island of Sicily by a 200 m deep underwater ravine. The study of the islands and the volcanic eruptions that formed them, have proved of great significance in the study of vulcanology.
4- Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto, listed in 2002
Eight towns in south east Sicily – Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli – were rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake in the Baroque style of the day. They represent the peak of Baroque art and architecture
5- Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica, listed in 2005
With its Greek theatre, Roman amphitheatre, archaeological museum and the island of Ortigia, Syracuse holds some of the most intriguing gems of the ancient world. The island of Ortigia is home to many Greek, Roman and Norman remains, including the Temple of Apollo, built in 7th century BC, and a breath-taking cathedral, built on the remains of the ancient Temple of Athena. Furthermore, a deep, limestone ravine carved by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers, 40 Km west of Syracuse, is where you can find the rocky necropolis of Pantalica: it contains roughly 5,000 burial chambers dating back to between the 13th and 7th centuries BC.
6- Mount Etna, listed in 2013
Mount Etna is an iconic site encompassing 19,237 uninhabited hectares, on the eastern coast of Sicily. It is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. The eruptive history of the volcano can be traced back 500,000 years and at least 2,700 years of this activity has been documented. The almost continuous eruptive activity continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth science disciplines. . The diverse and accessible range of volcanic features such as summit craters, cinder cones, lava flows and the Valle del Bove depression have made the site a prime destination for research and education.
7- Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale, listed in 2015
Arab-Norman Palermo, includes a series of nine structures dating from the era of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, the Palazzo Reale with the Cappella Palatina, and Palazzo Zisa; three churches, the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, and the Church of San Cataldo; the Cathedral of Palermo, a bridge, Ponte dell’Ammiraglio, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Together, they are a shining example of cultural co-existence and tolerance that was embraced under the rule of the Hautevilles, particularly Roger II. Muslims, Byzantines, Latins, Jews, Lombards and the French often worked in tandem with the Normans to create the imposing structures of architectural significance. Both Cefalù and Monreale cathedrals, contain some of Sicily's most astonishingly beautiful and precious mosaics which are also some of the best preserved mosaics of their kind in the world.