MircoMannino/ 3 Luglio, 2019/ Giarratana, Province of Ragusa/ 0 comments

Did you know of the existence of a purely Sicilian Pompeii ?? 🙂 Well, in the province of Ragusa there is the site of Terravecchia, the ancient Giarratana, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Let’s go discover it together! 🙂 Town built in the Arab era, it represents the continuation of Casmene, a Syracusan colony built in 644 BC. on Mount Casale, halfway between Buccheri and Giarratana and on the border between the province of Syracuse and the province of Ragusa. This colony, with the Roman invasion and the subsequent Arab invasion, was gradually abandoned in favor of Terravecchia. Walking along this archaeological area, my friends, is a truly unique experience. Do you know why? Because in the aftermath of that catastrophic 11 January 1693, the town of Terravecchia was left as it was.

Road remains

Remains of a Masseria

The excavations, carried out by the province of Ragusa flanked by the Universitè de Picardie, in France, have brought to light the remains scattered here and there of the ancient village. Walking through the archaeological area you can find endless expanses of capitals, column decorations or even the remains of paving.

Rests of pavimentation and column

Base for column

Base for column


Remains of pavimentation and column

Continuing the itinerary, you will come across the various carriage roads that ran along the inhabited area and the hills of Terravecchia, up to the ruins of the castle, an extreme offshoot of the inhabited area, which overlooks an incredible panorama of the Iblean plateau and the hills surrounding Terravecchia.

Carriage road

Castle seen from afar

Ogival window



Going down from the castle, you will also come across two very thick archaeological remains that have survived to this day: the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the Church of San Bartolomeo. The first, better preserved, preserves intact the wall structure and the various arches that compose it, showing itself in all its beauty.

Church of San Giovanni, view from above

Church of San Giovanni, external view

Detail, rest of arch



The second, conspicuously more damaged, at least lets us understand how it was its original structure. Walking on the debris you can see an image of St. Bartholomew resting on a wall, to remember in honor of which saint the church had been built.

Church of San Bartholomew, external wall


Picture of Saint Bartholomew

External walls overlooking the Hyblaean landscape

One thing immediately catches your eye when you walk around Terravecchia: – the innumerable boundary walls that line the whole village; – the materials used for the construction of the buildings: a union of lava stone (given its proximity to Monte Lauro, a volcano no longer active) and limestone. You can see a tombstone set in the ground, descending from the castle on top of the hill, in memory of the 300th anniversary of the Val di Noto earthquake, that earthquake that devastated all of Eastern Sicily. To you To watch the full video, subtitled in English:

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