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Last Updated on 31 May 2024


In this article you will find out what to see in Palazzolo Acreide. The town has a population of less than 10,000 and yet it really has a lot to offer from a cultural point of view. It was the Greeks who formed the first urban center in 664 B.C., which they called Akrai and which is located in close proximity to the modern town. The real Palazzolo Acreide dates back to the Norman period, when a first nucleus developed around the castle. Later it was destroyed like many other towns in the area by the earthquake of 1693 and like the other centers, it was rebuilt in the beautiful Sicilian Baroque style .

Palazzolo Acreide
Clemensfranz , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Palazzolo Acreide
Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Palazzolo Acreide
Line-clock district of Palazzolo Acreide – Lorenzo macauda , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The name of the town derives from Akrai, which in Greek means top, while palazzolo derives from the name that the Normans gave it, Palatiolum, due to the presence of an imperial palace .

Palazzolo Acreide is not as well known as perhaps the nearby Noto , but it is truly a small pearl of the Syracusan area . In general also, everything is really well cared for and maintained: museums, archaeological areas, villas, really an example that other Sicilian countries should take as a model.

What to see in Palazzolo Acreide

People’s Square

At Piazza Acre you can park your car and walk towards the beautiful Piazza del Popolo, passing through Corso Vittorio Emanuele and its elegant buildings.

As soon as we arrive in the square, a magnificent view of the baroque church of San Sebastiano opens up before our eyes. The beautiful staircase in front of the entrance gives it majesty and elegance, characteristics of which the church has regained itself thanks to the recent restorations. It stands majestically also thanks to the stairways that characterize it with the classic white / soft yellow color of the recently restored Sicilian Baroque. On the left there is the Municipal Palace built in 1908 in Art Nouveau style.

Piazza del Popolo, Palazzolo Acreide
Elyparker , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Piazza del Popolo, Palazzolo Acreide
Elyparker , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Antonino Uccello House Museum

Antonino Uccello House Museum, Palazzolo Acreide

Museum of Travelers in Sicily

Entrance to the Museum of Travelers in Sicily, Palazzolo Acreide
Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is also located in a palace, the seventeenth-century Palazzo Vaccaro. It is a collection of maps, books, geographical maps of the past, between 1600 and 1800. An excellent opportunity to see Sicily through the eyes of past travelers from various countries.

Gabriele Judica Archaeological Museum

Gabriele Judica Archaeological Museum, Palazzolo Acreide

The museum was recently inaugurated, exactly in 2014 and was set up in the splendid Palazzo Cappellani. It is a fantastic exhibition of over 2000 artifacts found by Baron Gabriele Judica in the 19th century. Artifacts discovered in the ancient Greek city of Akrai, not far from the town of Palazzolo Acreide. In addition to this there are also historical testimonies coming from the territory of Lentinoi , an ancient Greek city near the modern Lentini.

Moro Square and surroundings

The square was once the center of the medieval city, only to be completely destroyed by the earthquake. On the square there are the Mother Church and the Church of S. Paolo, built in the first half of the 18th century . Along the street of the same name is the small church of the Annunziata, from the 14th century with the characteristic incomplete and original facade.

Church of the Annunziata - Palazzolo Acreide
Church of the Annunciation – Lorenzo macauda , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Church of San Paolo, Palazzolo Acreide
Church of San Paolo – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Akrai Archaeological Park

Not far from the center of Palazzolo Acreide in an elevated position with respect to the rest of the town, there is the beautiful archaeological area of Akrai , whose main road preserves a stretch of the magnificent lava stone pavement. As soon as you enter there is the Greek theater , dating back to the third century BC and then modified by the Romans, like the Greek theater of Taormina . Next to the small theater is the bouleuterion which was used for ancient Greek political meetings.

Akrai Archaeological Park, Palazzolo Acreide, bouleuterion
Bouleterion – Codas2 , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Akrai Archaeological Park, Palazzolo Acreide, Greek Theater
The Greek theater – Clemensfranz , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Behind the Greek theater, the complex of the quarries of the Intagliata and the Intagliatella is very fascinating. In the past these were stone quarries also used by the Greeks themselves for construction. Here they were then transformed over time into Greek necropolises, Roman tombs, early Christian tombs, and even as dwellings by the Byzantines (On this subject read the article on the Byzantine village). Very beautiful is the bas-relief of the first century BC engraved on the rock at the entrance to the necropolis of the Intagliata , which represents a warrior between a sacrificial scene and a banquet of heroes. The purpose of these reliefs was to celebrate the dead as deified heroes.

Akrai Archaeological Park, Palazzolo Acreide, Bas-relief
Necropolis of the Intagliatella, bas-relief- Aangelo , CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Necropolis of the Intagliatella, Akrai Archaeological Park, Palazzolo Acreide
Necropolis of the Intagliatella, Akrai Archaeological Park, Palazzolo Acreide
Aangelo, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Santoni and Feral Temples of Palazzolo Acreide

In the vicinity of the archaeological area, there are the Santoni and the feral Temples. The Santoni are a complex of 12 large rock sculptures from the IV-III century BC carved into the rock, dedicated to the Greek divinity Cybele. It is a really noteworthy place, very particular. Unfortunately the sculptures are in a bad state of conservation, but restoration operations should start shortly.

The site has recently been reopened to the public after years of oblivion, but visits are not possible every day. It is therefore advisable to ask for information about it at the ticket office of the archaeological area .

Before the Santoni are the Ferali Temples, quarries whose walls are covered with votive tablets (pinakes) dedicated to the cult of the heroicized dead. It is not possible to enter, but can be observed from the street.

Santone, Palazzolo Acreide
Santone- MarinaPNN , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Medieval Quarter and Castle

Palazzolo Acreide does not miss anything, here in fact, near the Basilica of San Paolo you enter the beautiful medieval district, very characteristic . Entering the uphill streets you arrive at the ruins of the Norman Castle, from where you will have a beautiful view over the town .

Palazzolo Acreide Castle
Panorama from the castle – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Palazzolo Acreide Castle

Villa of Palazzolo Acreide

Really very beautiful and well-kept with green lawns even in summer, it almost seems not to be in Sicily . It is the ideal place to relax after perhaps a very active day around Palazzolo Acreide. The villa was commissioned by the baron Vincenzo Messina of Bible writer and also mayor of the town at the end of the nineteenth century.

Villa of Palazzolo Acreide
Entrance of the villa – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Top Secret Council: Senabardo Cave

The Grotta di Senebardo is a little known place, recently freed from scrub and open to the public. It is a Byzantine cave from the 6th century AD with a central cistern and some valuable canopied tombs . It is said that it was the Byzantine prince Senebardo who had these catacombs excavated for himself and for the nobility close to him. Writings dating back to that period are still visible.

Where and what to eat in Palazzolo Acreide

There is certainly no shortage of good restaurants in Palazzolo Acreide. The Trattoria del Gallo and the Quel Che C’e restaurant, however, are characterized by a very refined and original environment . Of course, the food is also of quality and you can try many specialties of the area.

As for the desserts you can go to the Caprice pastry shop , where you will find many local specialties.

Caprice pastry shop, Palazzolo Acreide
Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Palazzolo Acreide is part of the province of Syracuse. If you want to discover the typical dishes of the area, here you can find an article on what to eat in Syracuse and surroundings .

Here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes and products in general.

Interactive map of Palazzolo Acreide – Points of interest in purple

To locate yourself once in the area, click on the enlarge symbol at the top right of the map.