Palazzolo Acreide

Palazzolo Acreide
Comune di Palazzolo Acreide

View of the town from the acropolis of ancient Akrai
Palazzolo Acreide

Location of Palazzolo Acreide in Italy

Coordinates: 37°04′N 14°54′E / 37.067°N 14.900°E / 37.067; 14.900
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province / Metropolitan city Syracuse (SR)
  Mayor Carlo Scibetta
  Total 86.34 km2 (33.34 sq mi)
Elevation 670 m (2,200 ft)
Population (31 January 2009[1])
  Total 9,086
  Density 110/km2 (270/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Palazzolesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 96010
Dialing code 0931
Patron saint St. Paul
Saint day June 29
Website Official website

Palazzolo Acreide (Sicilian: Palazzolu Acrèidi, in the local dialect: Palazzuolu) is a town and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily (Italy). It is 43 kilometres (27 mi) from the city of Syracuse in the Hyblean Mountains.


The area around Palazzolo Acreide has been inhabited since ancient times. In the 10th-11th centuries B.C.E, the Siculi lived here in small villages. The town occupies the site of the ancient Akrai (Latin Acrae), founded by Syracuse around 664 BC. The city was important as it controlled the paths of communication between the towns on the southern coast of the island. According to Thucydides, the Syracusans defeated the Athenians here in 413 BC.

In the treaty between the Romans and Hiero II of Syracuse in 263 BC it was assigned to the latter. After the Roman conquest, it became a civitas stipendiaria, and was still prospering in the course of the early Christian age.

The old city was probably destroyed by the Arabs, in the first half of the 9th century. The new city was built around a Norman castle, which no longer exists. An earthquake in 1693 destroyed almost the entire city, which was slowly rebuilt in the following centuries.

Ancient city

Main article: Akrai

The Ancient City lies on the hill above the modern town, the approach to it being defended by quarries, in which tombs of all periods have been discovered. The auditorium of the small theatre is well-preserved, though nothing of the stage remains. Nearby are the ruins of other buildings, which bear, without justification, the names Naumachia, Odeum (perhaps a bath establishment) and Palace of Hiero. The water supply was obtained by subterranean aqueducts. In the cliffs of the Monte Pineta to the south are other burial niches, and curious bas-reliefs called Santoni or Santicelli, carved in the 19th century by a peasant proprietor, which also appear to be related to funeral ceremonies. Also nearby is the necropolis of the Acrocoro della Torre, where many sarcophagi have been found. About 5 miles (8 km) north lies Buscemi, near which a sacred grotto has been discovered; and also a church cut into the rock and surrounded by a cemetery.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, v
Reference 398
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2002 (20th Session)


The economy of Palazzolo Acreide relies mainly on agriculture (cereals) and farming of cattle and sheep. The population in 2009 was approximately 9,000, growing to 15,000 by 2016.

Main sights

People of interest


  1. Data from ISTAT

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.