Let’s go to the discovery of the archaeological area of Eraclea Minoa and its beautiful beach
Eraclea Minoa is a town in southwestern Sicily, today a seaside resort in the province of Agrigento, while once an ancient city of Greek origin stood here and then became a Roman possession.
The remains of this ancient place can be visited in the archaeological area of Cattolica Eraclea, in the Capo Bianco area, a promontory that extends towards the sea, within the Mouth of the Platani River Nature Reserve.
The archaeological park was created during the first excavation campaigns around 1950. In that period the imposing theater was brought to light and several houses dating back to the Roman era were identified.
Located in a protected place, the city of Eraclea Minoa was enclosed by mighty walls about three kilometers long. Built in different eras, the first dates back to the period between 320 and 313 BC and were interspersed with towers, doors, and posterns. Later the walls were lengthened and fortified. The eastern wall, on the other hand, was built in a third phase and had two doors: one near the theater and the other further south.
The inhabited area had a terraced urban layout crossed by parallel streets. The houses identified date back to the 1st century BC and were built with stones and bricks. Subsequently, the houses of the III and II century BC were superimposed
The buildings of the first urban phase had a regular plan. They were single-story, with access from the street. They had an open central courtyard surrounded by eight rooms.
The houses built in the second phase were also accessed from the street via a corridor. The houses had six rooms and a seventh used as a shop. Unlike the first phase dwellings, these houses were two-story. The upper one was intended for the owner’s residence, while the lower one included the service rooms and warehouses.
The most valuable piece of this area is certainly the theater of Eraclea Minoa which has its origins in what was the ancient Greek city founded, according to Herodotus, by the Selinuntini, originally called Minoa. The construction dates back to the 5th century BC. Located on top of the hill, it was partly obtained by digging into the tuff rock. It has a diameter of 33 meters with semicircular caves facing the sea. The theater is divided into nine sectors by eight steps and ten rows of seats.
On the hill where the theater stands, the remains of a Hellenistic sanctuary were also discovered and two necropolises, one archaic and the other Hellenistic, both from the end of the 4th century BC.
In the Antiquarium, you can see interesting finds among ceramics, terracotta, archaic statues, funeral objects, which have been recovered between the town and the necropolis. During the excavations, a female head dating back to the 4th century BC was also found. Finally, finds and fragments of Iberian ceramics from the Neo-Eneolithic period from the houses of the archaic and Hellenistic city.
After visiting the archaeological area of Eraclea Minoa there is time to spend a few hours on the splendid beach below. It is not among the best known in the province of Agrigento, but it is certainly among the most suggestive. Formed by light, very fine and golden sand, it is characterized by the presence of wind-forged dunes that separate it from the pine forest, a very long green strip that runs along the sea and is considered a model of Mediterranean forestation, including different types of plants, including stone pine, eucalyptus, and acacias.
How do I get to Eraclea Minoa?
Eraclea Minoa can be reached from Agrigento following the state road 115. After the junction for Montallegro, turn right following the signs.