The Baths of Mezzagnone and Necropoli of Mirio

MircoMannino/ May 8, 2019/ Province of Ragusa, Santa Croce Camerina/ 0 comments

Did you know that in Santa Croce Camerina, in addition to the very tasty Macallé there are respectively an ancient thermal bath and, not far from it, a vast open-air necropolis? No?
Well, then sit back and read this short article dedicated to Santa Croce Camerina, in the province of Ragusa! 🙂

The Baths of Mezzagnone

The Baths

Of particular interest is the history behind the Baths of Mezzagnone. Initially it was considered by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi as a small church of the Byzantine age, dated between the IV and the VI century after Christ. Subsequently, following some excavations, some areas were brought to light, changing the idea about the place.
It is indeed a thermal bath built after the year 852. However, the erroneous initial wording meant that even today the complex is called “Church of Mezzagnone”.

Indoor

Initially the structure was probably a family mausoleum of the Gota or Byzantine era, later adapted to a thermal bath. The building, with a Latin cross plan, is characterized by two large chambers, each one connected to external changing rooms: a tepidarium and a calidarium, rooms in which water, through special pipes, arrived at different temperatures.

Changing rooms and entrance to the Baths

Ciao!!

The first chamber has a particularly octagonal hemispherical dome, the second, slightly smaller, has a round barrel vault.

Necropolis of Mirio

Not far from the Baths of Mezzagnone, near the town, there is a vast Byzantine necropolis dated between the 5th and 6th centuries AD. In the area there are more than one hundred rectangular section tombs of different sizes; this fact means that both adults and children were buried in the area.

Tombs of different sizes

There is also a Tholos tomb belonging to the Bronze Age, which suggests that the area had already been used as a cemetery in earlier times.

Tholos tomb

Tholos, detail

The proximity to the Baths of Mezzagnone and to the maritime city of Kaukana, suggests that these were small satellite neighborhoods, witnesses of the Roman and Byzantine occupation.

Detail

Nowadays on both areas there is still a lot to be discovered and much still to be enhanced, because if on one side you must enter finding a semi- hidden gate without any indication, on the other you necessarily need to enter by climbing over the entrance gate between the undergrowth and the brambles.
However, if they have survived until today since the Byzantine period, there will be another equal amount of time available where people will realize that they have treasures in their homes, witnesses of their past.


… To you

To watche the entire video, subtitled in English:

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