Historical notes on the necropolis of Pantalica
The rock necropolis of Pantalica is one of the Sicilian archaeological sites of Unesco heritage. The area became a town already in the thirteenth century BC. when the people who lived on the coast, in Ortigia, Thapsos and other places, took refuge in these places difficult to reach and natural defense from enemy attacks. The name “Pantalica”, in fact, derives from the Arabic buntarigah, which means “place rich in caves”. The archaeological site of Pantalica includes about 5,000 graves dug in the rocky walls, arranged in layers and overlooking the Anapo Valley.
How to get to Pantalica?
It is possible to reach Pantalica both from the municipality of Ferla and from the municipality of Sortino, both in the province of Syracuse. If you do not have much time to visit the reserve, we recommend access from Ferla, which leads in the direct vicinity of some of the most famous archaeological remains. The access of Sortino, however, involves long walks before reaching the valley and back up the other side to admire monuments such as the Anaktoron, the so-called “palace of the prince”. We suggest going down directly to the Calcinara stream, passing by some artificial cave tombs and being able to admire the spectacular wall with the northern necropolis. Pantalica offers breathtaking natural scenery along the Calcinara stream from both access points.
Directions to the necropolis of Pantalica
If you come by car from Messina, take the A18 motorway to Catania, follow the SS114 for Siracusa towards Palazzolo up to the junction of Montegrosso, then turn right to Ferla to your destination. If you arrive from Palermo, take the A19 Palermo-Catania and the SS114 up to the Sortino-Pantalica junction; continue towards Sortino and then follow the signs for the Pantalica Reserve.
A few kilometers from Ferla you can park your car at the Sella di Filiporto and from there take the path halfway up the coast that allows you to visit the village of San Micidiario, the oratory of San Nicolicchio, the anaktoron and eventually reach the descent to the Calcinara stream. Among the places to visit in Pantalica how not to mention the Cave of the Bats, easily reachable from the side of Sortino. The Cave of the Bats is the largest natural cavity of Pantalica, but lately it has been closed to the public for geological reasons, so it is better to inquire first.
When to go to Pantalica?
Pantalica is surrounded by canyons carved over time by two rivers, the Anapo and the Calcinara. The waterways have eroded the rock thus creating a spectacular natural stronghold. In addition to the ancient archaeological remains, Pantalica is a popular tourist destination for lovers of excursions and trekking in Pantalica because of the unspoiled nature characterized by woods, rivers and torrents with clear water.
The recommended periods to visit Pantalica are Spring and Autumn. Obviously, summer visits are prohibitive due to the high temperatures and the little shade. Never miss the water, it is absolutely forbidden to light out fires or barbecues and civil behaviors are recommended especially for any waste produced.