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Visit Gela

Gela is probably the oldest town in Sicily after Syracuse. Located on the southern coast of Sicily by the Mediterranean, roughly forty miles west of Syracuse, Gela was an important center of Ancient Greek civilization. The foundation of Gela was followed by that of Agrigento, which emerged as an iconic symbol of the Greek superiority in the region at the time.

Explore Gela

Sicily Visitor comment: There is not much left of the ancient city of Gela and unless you are a serious history enthusiast you are more likely to want to visit the superb Greek ruins at nearby Agrigunto or Selinunte.

In the town there are a number of archaeological ruins. Gela has its own Acropolis, the Capo Soprano, Greek fortifications around the beach, public baths, the medieval Castelluccio on the outskirts of the town, and the Torre di Manfria, forming a part of the sand landscape of the beach.

There are two main centres of historic interest in the town. The Capo Soprano at the Gela Archaeological Park to the west of the town and the Acropolis Archaeological Park and Archaeological museum to the east.

Greek vase at Gela

In order to explore and understand the history of Gela a visit to the Archaeological Museum can be useful. The museum contains one of the largest collections of ancient Greek vases in the world.

Next to the museum is the Acropolis Archaeological Park. Among the archaeological ruins in Gela, the Acropolis is the largest, and its ruins constitute a part of a city of the Ancient Greeks.

Dating back to the late fifth century BC, the acropolis contains ruins of houses and markets in addition to the ruins of temples and sacred buildings. Most of the remains are parts of the stone walls that once formed the buildings and there is also one column which remains standing. This is a doric column about 8 meters high.

At the Capo Soprano you can see some Greek military fortifications dating from the 4th century BC. The fortifications are unusual in that they are built using 'raw bricks', bricks that were baked in the sun. Close to the park are the remains of ancient baths from the 4th century BC. These Hellenistic baths have 36 tanks and underground drainage systems. These are one of the oldest baths in Italy.

Walking around the Capo Soprano Archaeological Park offers pretty views over the sea and the coast.

The town of Gela is quite large and industrial but has an interesting old centre with several churches including an 11th century Byzantine church, the Church of San Biago. Another church, the church of Our Lady of Grace has a gothic facade and a notable wooden altarpiece. The cathedral is a neoclassical building built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Gela is on the coast and so a day at the beach is also a possibility. In the area around Gela and especially towards the Marina di Ragusa and Sampieri are some of the best sandy beaches on the island. The beaches near Gela include Bianco Grande, Bianco Piccolo, Cammarana, Lanterna, Baia del Sole, Baia Dorica and Passo Marinaro.

Where to visit nearby?

As well as the beaches Gela is fairly close to the beautiful baroque towns of south-east Sicily. Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and Noto are all full of fabulous baroque buildings and together are part of a UNESCO World Heritage listing as the late baroque towns of the Val di Noto.

You can find more local travel ideas in the South-West Sicily guide and the guide.

See also:

Map of Gela and places to visit

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