Museum of Adrano, archaeology and history under the volcanoMuseum of Adrano, archaeology and history under the volcano

The Greek city of Adranon and dionigiane walls

The walls

Established by the will of Dionysius I in 400 BC about, the strategic location in the valley of Simeto in front of the peak on which stands Centuripe, Adrano had maintained this character of fortified center for a long time. The archaeological investigations show that a city was flourishing, although there are few news sources on its historical vicissitudes.
Already in 1781 the ruler of Biscari, in its list of the remains of Greek Adranon at that time visible, had quoted sections of walls in the village Defense and at the church of S. Francesco: Magnificent is the construction of them, being internally formed by large lava stones,  well-squared and connected without lime. The painter Jean Houel depicted in one of his famous painting, a fortified stretch of wall, but only at the beginning of the twentieth century Paolo Orsi undertook the first campaign of excavation of fortified tract of “contrada” of Defense, long about four hundred meters.

Ancient view of the stretch of walls of Contrada Defense
(J. Houel, end of the seventeenth century)

Modern overlappings are vacated, where possible, and they make the first measurements. The walls, accompanied by square towers and posterns, were produced in systems of buildings typical of Greek fortifications: a double hanging of concrete with a lava filling internal that Orsi had defined a internal filling of amorphous wrecks, almost thrown in bulk. Two posterns have been identified and the great tower against the church of S. Francis is insulated , knocking down two little buildings that masked the flanks.

The city of Adrano in relation to the modern center

The houses

Few are the residential elements emerged from the excavations, which also they witnessed to the presence of houses similar to those found in other centers of Greek Sicily. The overlap of the city over the modern, in fact, offers an overview of the situation only partially legible. In the current state of knowledge, there aren't certainly discoveries related to the first half of the fourth century BC. 

Village of Adranon. Remains of a house of the third century BC

The oldest ruins of the town have been dated, on the basis of ceramics found, in the second half of this century, perhaps because only then the little fortified center began to acquire the character of the city. The houses found  mostly have been dated between the second half of the fourth and third century. BC, the period of greatest flowering of the center greek.

Inhabited of Adranon.
Ruins of a house of the third century BC 
(particularly the system of channels of discharge)

The campaigns conducted in recent decades have shown that the city had the facility orthogonal typical of urban Greek cities, whose line has expanded the city in the Hellenistic age.

I resti dell'abitato di Adrano all'interno del centro moderno.
In colore grigio il percorso della strada scoperta nel 1981.


The necropolis of Adrano extended from the west to the east of the city. Unfortunately, the unfairness building has prevented to study whole of the portions of ancient sepulchral areas and the activities of clandestine diggers has caused the loss of many articles in international markets.

The same thing is for the necropolis : they do not date back the early years of life of the city, but they date back to later stages.
Regarding the west necropolis (contrada Sant'Alfio) have been reported several tombs to light, dated on the basis of the funerary at the end of IV and III century. a.C. Beside to burials "a fossa", have found numerous depositions “a cappuccino”. Among the funerary we have to remember those coming from the tomb of a woman who had, among the jars to the toilet, a small pyx containing a sewing needle in bronze.

The eastern necropolis, although it was already under investigation by the lovers of antiques of nineteenth's, are currently less known. Recently we added new data through the excavation of a number of tombs that are located a few hundred meters south of the town hall, dating from the end of IV to II sec.aC. These burials were "a cappuccina" and "a fossa". Among the items we must remember a jar in the shape of a ram, probably container of perfumed ointments, and some red-figure vases of production siceliota.

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