SAMBUCA DI SICILIA
Sambuca di Sicilia, standing at an altitude of 350m a.s.l., is in the province of Agrigento. Until 1921, its name was Sambuca Zabot. It was founded by the Arabs in 827, but settlements on the area are recorded since the coming of the prehistoric Elymian and Sican peoples, as show the archaeologic area of the Adranone Mount. From the 13th century onwards, it saw a remarkable urban development.
It has numerous tourist attractions such as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Church of the Carmine and the 1600’s Mother Church, nearby the Castle of Zabut. The first of these is dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Udienza and contains works of great importance, such as a marble statue of the Virgin attributed to Antonello Gagini, and a 1600’s wooden Crucifix.
Among the secular buildings, renowned are the 1800’s Town Theatre, the 1700’s Palazzo Navarro, the Palazzo Panitteri, the 1600’s Palazzo Fiore and the remnants of the Castle. The last of these was built by Emir Zabuth and later used as a prison; few remains of its original structure consist of a ruined tower.
The urban design of Sambuca di Sicilia is quite interesting, much due to the presence of the lovely Saracen quarter, recently restored, with its short streets, low houses and courtyards.
The Adranone Mount, in the city vicinity, is a site of high archaeological interest. Here was a Greek settlement going back to the 6th century BC grown on a former indigenous one. The site has a dominant position with a splendid landscape. The settlement was identified as Adranon, reported by historian Diodorus Siculus, likely ravaged in 250 BC during the First Punic War.
Tour – Outside the city-walls was the necropolis, with subterranean tombs among which outstanding is the Tomba della Regina, made of tufa (a sand material). Nearby is the Porta Sud (the southern gate) bordered by towers and adjacent to a building that was identified as a farmstead. Up to the acropolis, is a large building with a rectangular plan – supposed to be for public use – and, a little further on, a complex comprised of storehouses, shops and houses. The acropolis lies in a dominant position with a panoramic view of the entire valley where are the city of Sambuca and the Arancio lake. The major attraction is the Punic Temple, flanked, on the right, by a large cistern.
The city is home to sites naturalistic interest like the southern slopes of the Genuardo Mount, recently reafforested, and the area of the Arancio Lake, recently designated as a Nature Reserve.