Santa Flavia is a small village near Palermo, as well as a seaside town facing one of the most beautiful gulfs of all Sicily. There is a special connection between Santa Flavia and the sea, which persists since the moment of its foundation as a Phoenician colony.
In this article, you will find some information about Santa Flavia, its history, the places of interest, and the beaches nearby.
The history of Santa Flavia
The first information about a settlement in the territory of Santa Flavia was transmitted by the Greek historian Thucydides. According to the historian, at the time of the Greek colonization of Southern Italy, that area was already inhabited by Phoenicians. In fact, the name of that village was Kafara, 2 km far from Santa Flavia. The city’s name was then changed to Solus by the Greeks, from the ancient Greek solos, which means “iron rock”.
During the Greek period, some areas of the city were built again, as they had been destroyed due to the war with Carthage.
During the first Punic war, the city became Roman and it took the Latin name of Soluntum. Cicero writes about it, as we know that Soluntum was one of the civitates decumanae, meaning one of those cities who had to pay taxes starting from the tenth part of their product.
Later, historians think that the city of Soluntum was abandoned during the I century a.D., as the relics show that it was already semi-desert.
The Archaeological Site of Solunto
Near Santa Flavia, there is the Archaeological Site of Solunto, whose excavations started in 1825, when the statue of Zeus was found. The old arrangement of the village on Monte Catalfano has been kept and it is visitable nowadays. There are the antiquarium, tabernae, as well as the gymnasium and the house of Leda, which still keeps the mosaics and the majolicas.
The antiquarium is very interesting to visit because there are many artifacts, statues, column capitals, but also money and tools. As a result, you can understand the fascination of this population and the improvements made by Romans.
Here some information about opening hours and tickets.
Monuments and sightseeing places
Santa Flavia is close to Palermo, so it is the perfect spot to visit the area surrounding it. Furthermore, not only is it close to Palermo, but Santa Flavia also is a town that deserves to be visited.
Probably built in the XVII century, Villa Filangieri in Santa Flavia was the summer residence of Prince Pietro Filangieri. Its rooms are very fascinating so that even the movie The Leopard could have been filmed in this magnificent villa. It is in Baroque style, with two stairs leading to the entrance door.
Filangieri has been an important noble family in Sicily since the Middle Ages, who were usually living in Palermo, which is the reason why they chose Santa Flavia as a summer residence.
There is also a big garden enriched with fountains, statues, and palms. Furthermore, in a period of the Filangieri history, the garden even hosted a lion and monkeys to emphasize the importance of the family.
Nowadays, the villa and the garden represent an important site for the town, as they are also the headquarters of the city administration offices.
Basilica Soluntina di Sant’Anna
Basilica Soluntina di Sant’Anna is the cathedral of Santa Flavia, built on a preexisting chapel under the will of Pietro Filangieri. Built in Sicilian Baroque style, the basilica has two bell towers, one with a mechanical clock and the other with a sundial.
However, the peculiarity of this Basilica is in its crypt: the church is linked to the garden of Villa Filangieri by a secret passage. It was used by the family to avoid entering from the main door with the commoners.
The church is very bright and decorated with many stained glass windows and frescoes, which make it very scenic.
The statue of Neptune and the sea
On the way to the sea, you will come across the statue of Neptune. One of the most magical spots of the city is made even more awesome by the presence of this statue, which watches the sea. An identical statue can be found in Bari, as the sculptor was originally from a small town in Apulia, Giovinazzo. In addition to the sea, next to the statue there is also a park, which was connected to the waiting room of the railway station.
The puppet theater
The handmade puppets, which become the characters of the representation of the adventures of Charles the Great, are one of the maximum expressions of Sicilian culture. Some decades ago, this kind of representation was made on the streets on a pushcart peddler which was brought around the city.
Since 2008, the puppet theater (l’Opera dei Pupi) has become a UNESCO Heritage. In Santa Flavia, there are many occasions to watch these theater shows, which often tell the stories of famous literary works, such as L’Orlando Furioso.
Beaches near Santa Flavia
Obviously, in a town that has a strong connection with the sea, there are also wonderful beaches.
Here you can find a list:
March 8th, 2021