The archaeological park of Akrai is close to the town of Palazzolo-Acreide in the south of Sicily. It is home to many Greek monuments and is the remains of a Greek colony founded in 663.
Akrai was one of the early colonies established by the Corinthian invadors. Because of its strategic site on the top of a hill the ancient town flourished. When the Romans invaded Akrai became a Roman colony and continued to thrive. It was eventually destroyed by the Arabs in the early 9th century and the site abandoned.
The main sight to see at Akrai is the remains of the Greek theatre which is quite well preserved. The accoustics are still very good if you feel the urge to burst into song!
Nearby are the remains of the Bouleuterion where the Greek Assembly met. There are also two stone quarries to see with hewn out graves cut into them as they were later used as catacombs. There are various carvings and even a bas-relief from the first century BC which shows a Roman feast with a Roman warrior making a sacrifice.
At the top of the site are the stones which formed the base of a Greek temple dedicated to Aphrodite. From here you have some great views over the surrounding countryside.
Admission to the Akrai archaeological park is 4 euros.
There are also some statues at Akrai , "I Santoni" but these are only accessible in the summer and only with a guide. The statues have been quite smashed up but are interesting to see if you get the chance.
Places to Visit Nearby
The archeological park of Akrai is near to the town of Palazzolo Acreide. Like many towns in the area Palazzolo-Acreide was largely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. This led to major rebuilding in the Baroque style which was fashionable at the time. The beauty and number of the Baroque buildings in Palazzolo-Acreide has led to this being listed as on of the Baroque towns of the Val-di-Noto as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whilst not part of the UNESCO listing the neighbouring town of Giarratana also suffered much destruction in the 1693 earthquake and was rebuilt with many fine Baroque buildings. Amongst them are the churches of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Anthony Abbot and the Mother church. You can see ruins of the old castle at the top of the town.