Rock-cut architecture in Sicily
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, the Necropolis of Pantalica is an extraordinary example of rock-cut funerary architecture in Sicily. It is located in a gorge carved over millennia by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers.
Combining culture, nature and trekking, there are 5,000 cave tombs cut into the gorge walls to explore. The oldest date to the 12th century BC and the most recent to the 9th-8th century BC.
The most interesting necropolis is that of San Martino, with prehistoric tholos tombs and Byzantine catacombs, including the Grotta di Sant’Anna and the Hypogeum of Dionysus, featuring frescoes and inscriptions. At the highest point are the remains of the Anaktoron or Prince’s Palace.
In Byzantine times, several villages were carved here into the rock. We recommend visiting San Micidiario, with 150 houses, a small church and the remains of a moat, not forgetting the frescoed oratory of San Nicolicchio. The Grotta del Crocifisso contains a fresco of Saint Nicholas and artwork of the crucifixion.
Along the valley in the early 20th century, the Siracusa-Vizzini railway was built, of which some tunnels remain. Today, it is a walking or cycling path accessible from Sortino or Ferla.