Solunto is a great little jewel of Sicilian archaeology, an ancient Greco-Roman city located in a magnificent position at the top of Mount Catalfano, a few kilometers from Bagheria. The city was initially a Phoenician settlement, which was then taken in the 4th century B.C. by the Carthaginians, subsequently it was taken by Greek rule until it was finally conquered by the Romans after the first Punic war. Solunto is worth a visit both for its treasures and for the view it offers visitors.
After passing through the museum, you climb the hill to the archaeological site, rambling through ancient roads in the middle of wild Mediterranean scrubland. Walking among the ruins and remains helps you understand the genius and charm of the Greek cities and of their deep love for beauty and scenery. Indeed, an unforgettable view over the gulf of Santa Flavia awaits those who reach the summit.
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After leaving the archaeological site and descending towards the sea, there is a beautiful, scenic drive along the coastal road from Santa Flavia to Palermo. You pass through two small villages: Porticello and Aspra.
Porticello is a small hamlet trapped between the rocks and to enter some of the houses you have to clamber up stone stairs or use the beach as a corridor before heading up the rocks. In Porticello everything is salty, and the smell of freshly caught fish being cooked hangs in the air.
The small square Largo Trizzanò beside the little port is the life and soul of the village. Called u scaru by the fishermen, this square is the site of the fish market. It is beautiful to be there at sunrise and get lost between the octopus and an unbelievable amount of fish, the likes of which has never been seen before.
What is more beautiful, if you love to dive and own an open diving license, than to reach the Secca della Formica (shallow of the ant), full of many different species of fish swimming around the remains of sunken boats.
Passing Cape Zafferano, you reach Aspra. Aspra is also a small fishing village that smells of fish and salt. A stretch of sea, houses and mountains. It is a space stolen from the sea and pushed away by the mountain above it.
Here, Ignazio Buttitta loved to walk and Renato Guttuso painted the church on the seafront. Excellent ice-cream parlours, canned fish, salted anchovies and oil conserves.