Sambuca di Sicilia is a small town with less than 6000 inhabitants in the Sicilian province of Agrigento. Founded by the Arabs who once ruled over the island, Sambuca di Sicilia was very likely founded in the early Middle Ages by the Arab Emir Al-Chabut, who had his own castle built on the hill where the village lays today. This latter building was badly damaged during one of Italy’s most tragic earthquakes, the ‘terremoto del Belice’ of 1968, but has been set for restoration.
There is beautiful and amazingly well preserved ‘quartiere saraceno’ (the arab quarter), characterized by its Kasba-like narrow alleys and hidden yards, and complete with recently discovered ‘purrere’, tufa quarries connected by underground passages that still run underneath the surface of Sambuca’s modern streets. The ‘purrere’ turned into jails and cemeteries during the Middle Ages, only to be forgotten and neglected for centuries, until recent years when an historical interest developed around it. Nowadays, the ‘purrere’ can be visited.
The village is known also for its many churches – at least twenty – some of which have been transformed in museums. Its archaeological museum, located in Palazzo Panitteri and its beautiful 19th century theatre, the Teatro L’Idea are also worth a visit. There are also ruins of a Roman aqueduct can be found in the small town of Sambuca di Sicilia.
Even the surroundings of the village are of great interest for art and nature lovers. The area of Monte Adranone, just north of Sambuca, is one of Sicily’s most relevant archaeological sites, home to the 5th century BC punic-greek city of Adranon. Its necropolis is one of the best preserved parts of the archaeological area, known especially for the Tomb of the Queen.
Sambuca di Sicilia’s surroundings are rich in natural beauty, too. Moreover, its hills are known for their vineyards and for the quality of the wine here produced. Local cuisine offers typical dishes of the Sicilian culinary tradition, but is especially known for the ‘minni di virgini’, a cake made of a shortbread crust filled with cream, candied pumpkin, chocolate chips and cinnamon.
Sights: Planeta, Museo Archeologico Palazzo Panitteri, Chiesa di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria
Hotels: Don Giovanni Hotel, La Regina Di Adrano, Bed & Breakfast IL SARACEN