Morgantina is one of the ancient cities in central Sicily, part of the territory of the Sicels. The town has many Greek features introduced by the Greek colonization of Sicily, but the population was a mix of Greeks and Sicels (siculi).
Morgantina is the name of the ancient town in the heart of the Sicilian island, in the province of Enna near Aidone. This area was once inhabited by the Sicels, one of the three peoples mentioned in ancient roman and greek sources, the other peoples being the sicans and the elymians. The first settlement of Morgantina on the hill of the Citadel dates back to the tenth century BC and lasted until the fifth century BC. The settlement would coincide with the arrival of the sicels from southern Italy. In the sixth century this community came in contact with the Greek colonies on the coast, evidence of Greek pottery in indigenous tombs supports this. At the end of the sixth century BC Morgantina got involved in the struggle between the Greek poleis which probably caused the decline of the first settlement and the founding of a new town with a hippodamic pattern. Of this second foundation of Morgantina the remains can still be seen. Interesting is the absence of monumental temples, an important indication that the town remained predominantly influenced by sicel culture. More than a Greek town Morgantina has all the aspects of a hellenized indigenous settlement. In the second Punic War the town chose the side of Carthage, after the conquest of the Romans of the entire island the town was punished for it's allegiance. A period of decay set in and finally the town was completely abandoned.
The first excavations were performed in 1955 by a team of American archaeologists. The finds have been transferred to the museum of Aidone and are there on display. The archaeological site itself consists mainly of the remains of the buildings around the agorà, the ancient town centre. The only building excavated on the acropolis, the higher part of the town, is a bathing complex (Terme nord) dating back to the third century BC. A particularity of the building is the cupola built with ceramic pipes. The acropolis is connected to the agorà by the main road, usually called plateia in Greek town.
The higher agorà was surrounded on three sides by the stoa, a portico with columns. On the eastside the remains of a monumental fountain have been found, on the northside the remains of a gymnasium, and next to the agorà on the westside the remains of the bouleuterion, where the assembly of the elders in hellenistic towns took place.
The macellum, the covered marketplace is situated in the middle of the higher agorà. On the southside lies the ekklesiasterion where the assembly of the people took place and it forms a staircase to the lower agorà. The Greek theatre borders on the lower agorà and there is a sanctuary dedicated to Kore and Demetra. On the eastside of the lower agorà there is an oven (forno), the grainstorage and the prytaneion, the seat of the governors (Pritani) of the town.
The living quarters
Only part of the living quarters has been excavated and can be visited. On the eastside of the agorà there are two houses with mosaics, one of these is called the house of Ganymedes. On the westside of the agor`s there are five other houses excavated. Each house has been given a name based on specific finds like columns, cisterns or mosaics.
Address: Contrada Morgantina, Aidone;
Opening hours: 14:00 - 19:00 (closed on monday); The first sunday of the month open 09:00 - 19:00
Prices: Euro 6,00 (Site and museum at Aidone) Euro 3,00 reduced
The information has been updated for 2016 but prices and opening hours may vary.