The little town which today seems rather off the beaten track, was at one time in the dark and distant past a strategic outpost on the main link-line between the plain of Catania and the mountains inland. This explains why, particularly in the Roman age, Centuripe enjoyed a great economic prosperity (in 70 BC Cicero described it as one of the most prosperous town in Sicily).
Many of the town’s attractive monuments dates back to that time. The Tempio degli Augustali, dating from between the 1st and the 2nd century AD is a rectangular building raised above a colonnaded street onto which it faced (alongside the new archaeological museum). The two monumental tombs with towers are known as “la Dogana” (with only the upper floor visible) and the Castle of Conradin. Down a stone-cobbled side street on the far north-western side of the town, in the contrada of Bagni, sit the ruins of what must once have been a spectacular nymphaeum hanging above the ravine of the river, with fountains designed to delight visitors approaching the town. A brick wall containing five niches, the remains of a cistern in which water was collected and parts of the aqueduct are still visible.
Finally, the vast majority of artefacts recovered from the 8th century BC to the Middle Ages and destined to be displayed in the modern building that will accomodate the Museo Archeologico, are, for the time being, “in storage” somewhere in the Town Hall, a limited selection is however open to the public. Of particular interest are the statues from the Tempio degli Augustali representing various emperors and members of their families; a fine head of the Emperor Hadrian which, given its size, must have belonged to a statue of at least 4m; two splendid funerary urns belonging to the Scribonii family (almost certainly imported from Rome); locally produced pottery (3rd –1st century BC) and an impressive collection of theatrical masks.