History

An ancient story

 

storiaThe Agrò Valley was colonized in the time of the Phoenicians, who in Sicily set up numerous commercial bases and true towns. It is likely that there were Neolithic settlements in the valley, but the first proper settlement was Phoenician. It was Tamaritio, a commercial station that is identified with present-day Santa Teresa di Riva. However, in the 5th century it was the Greeks that took over: in that epoch they dominated the coasts of the whole of eastern Sicily. After that the history of the valley followed that of the rest of Sicily, with the Roman, Byzantine and Arab invasions.


There are the remains of a Roman villa at Scifì, a hamlet of Forza d’Agrò. The Arabs left more numerous traces, as we see from the Saracen Gate at Castelmola, the Baglio, Catalmo, Avarna and Varata towersat Santa Teresa di Riva, the Forza d’Agrò lookout tower and the Pentefur Castle at Savoca, all dating back to the period from the7th to the 9th centuries.Casalvecchio
At Casalvecchio there is the most important monument in the whole Valley: the church of SS Pietro and Paolo d’Agro (560 AD), a destination of cultural and religious tourism.


There are even more numerous vestiges of the subsequent dominations during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, especially monastic buildings and castles.
Among the many possible examples, there is the splendid fifteenth-century San Michele church at Savoca, the castle with two big keeps at Sant’Alessio Siculo and the Santissima Trinità church (you get to it up a splendid flight of steps) from the end of the sixteenth century. There is also no lack of testimonies to the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century in Sicily, like Palazzo Trimarchi, also immortalized by the famous film “The Godfather”.

 

 

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