Let’s start with a small introduction and then find out what to see in Sambuca di Sicilia. The town is located in the Sicilian hinterland in the province of Agrigento. It is a small village of Arab origin (830 AD), in fact still today it is possible to walk through the ancient streets and breathe an oriental air .
In the past the village was called Sambuca Zabut, in honor of Zabut the Arab emir who had a castle built here. The origin of the name Sambuca, on the other hand, is uncertain, there are so many theories that it will probably never be possible to know the truth.
The village outgrew the Arab period, and as the centuries passed, new churches and palaces were built, especially between the 16th and 17th centuries, especially along the new street, Corso Umberto I.
Tip from Topsecretsicily: If you wish, you can book a visit to a local winery, with tasting of local organic wines, cheeses and olive oil.
1. The Arab quarter
The Arab quarter is very fascinating and it mixes with baroque and nineteenth-century buildings . It is located in the north of the country, after passing the town hall. Here the first thing to do is to get lost in the various alleys to fully immerse yourself in this oriental environment. In this regard, there are seven alleys to explore, “Vicolo Saraceno I” up to “Vicolo Saraceno VII”. Also very fascinating is the “Via Fantasma” so called in 1882 for alleged ghosts of Arab warriors . Do not miss the two churches, the church of San Michele founded in 1200 and the Mother Church of 1400, built on a part of the ancient Zabut castle.
2. Belvedere terrace
The terrace was built in the mid-nineteenth century after having demolished the ruins of the ancient castle, to celebrate the Good Friday Crucifixion. Today it has become a beautiful vantage point , where you can admire the surrounding hills, even if it is really a pity that the castle is no longer there.
3. Corso Umberto I
Corso Umberto I is the main street of the town, very pretty and overlooked by beautiful buildings, the municipal theater built in the mid-nineteenth century, the Church of the Carmine from 1500 and the Town Hall.
4. Palazzo Panitteri Archaeological Museum
Palazzo Panitteri, named after the noble family who lived there, is one of the main monuments of Sambuca . It dates back to 1600 and was initially a small fort leaning against the walls surrounding Sambuca, only later was it used as a residence. Today the palace houses various historical artifacts, coming from the nearby Mount Adranone, which was inhabited over the centuries by Sicans, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans . The ticket costs 3 Euros and includes a visit to the archaeological area of Monte Adranone. Price 3 Euro; Hours 9:00 / 13:00 – 16:00 / 20:00. Rates and times may change.
5. Orange Lake
Photos from Google Maps:
This artificial lake is truly fascinating, here you can take a short drive along it, admiring vineyards, olive groves and the migratory birds that stop here. Possibly you will also meet some horses or some cows grazing free in the surrounding countryside.
You can drive the route indicated in the photo above (the one in dark blue), which connects two wineries, skirting the lake and passing through beautiful vineyards . In the Cantina di Prima and Planeta Ulmo wineries, you can try and buy the wine produced here . Nearby is also the Arab fortress Mazzallakkar , which is visible only in the summer, when the waters of the lake make it re-emerge.
6. Monte Adranone – Archaeological area
Monte Adranone is certainly one of the things to see in Sambuca. Here you can still see the ruins of the ancient city, which was first under the control of the Sicans and then passed into the hands of the Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans. The view from here is also incomparable, even more beautiful than the Belvedere square in Sambuca. The road to access the archaeological area is small and steep, but don’t be discouraged, proceeding carefully will lead you to your destination. At least you can leave your car in the parking lot and proceed on foot. The ticket must be purchased in the archaeological museum of Palazzo Panitteri, which is also valid for the museum itself. Price 3 Euro; Hours 9:00 / 13:00 – 16:00 / 20:00. Rates and times may change.
These are the main things to see in Sambuca, now let’s focus on the food!
Where to eat in Sambuca di Sicilia
A good restaurant with a nice location, not exaggerated prices and with traditional food is Pane e Radici . Outside the village there is also the Massaria Ruvettu, a beautiful restaurant in the middle of nature , with many courtyard animals, such as donkeys, chickens, ducks, peacocks and many others. Not far away is the Contadino di Galluzzo farm, an artisanal brewery , which produces an excellent beer with a citrus scent and from it is obtained and also produces jelly. To try some good desserts instead, you can go to the Gullotta pastry shop, at the beginning of the town .
Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general
Interactive map of Sambuca di Sicilia – Points of interest in purple
To locate yourself once in the area, click on the enlarge symbol at the top right of the map.
Typical products of Sambuca di Sicilia
Typical products are wines and olive oil of the highest quality that are produced in the surrounding countryside. Also not to be missed is the vastedda, a delicious stretched curd sheep cheese .
As for the desserts, you have to taste the “minni di virgini” or “the virgin’s breast” a sweet made of shortcrust pastry, milk cream, pumpkin, chocolate drops, cinnamon and colored sugar balls. Just think that the recipe dates back to 1725 and was invented by the nun Virginia Casale of Rocca Menna , on the occasion of the marriage of the Marquis Don Pietro Beccadelli with Donna Marianna Gravina.
What to see around Sambuca di Sicilia
Sambuca di Sicilia is part of the province of Agrigento, here you will find listed the places to visit ad Agrigento and surroundings .