A few kilometers from the city of Aidone is the archaeological site of Morgantina, among the most important of Sicily albeit little known to many. Ancient strategic center, which has become of considerable importance during the Greek period, it was unearthed in 1955 thanks to a series of excavations carried out by the University of Princeton U.S.
In Aidone, about 5 km from Morgantina, is the Regional Archaeological Museum, which houses the beautiful Venus of Morgantina, sculpture of the classical period often exhibited in the most important museums in the world.
The Archaeological Site of Morgantina
The Regional Archaeological Museum of Aidone
The Regional Archaeological Museum of Aidone hosts the most important archaeological finds unearthed from the ruins of Morgantina. The Museum was organized in the halls of a former Capuchin monastery, the wide Trupia Torres.
The visit includes the remains of the city dating from the archaic period on the ground floor. On the first floor we find the archaeological materials from the Greek era. Here is the famous Venus of Morgantina, statue returned to Sicily after a long dispute with the American Museum that housed it before. Greek work, made of marble and limestone by the author of the school of Phidias (one of the greatest Greek sculptors), was stolen in the 50’s and bought by the J. Paul Getty Museum at the end of the 80’s. Standing 2.24 meter the statue should represent the goddess Demeter. From May 17 of 2011 it is again on display in the Regional Archaeological Museum of Aidone.
Historical Background of Morgantina
Historical artifacts make up the foundation of Morgantina in a very early period (II millennium BC) by indigenous peoples, the Sicilians, and Italic strains that probably found here the ideal conditions to cooperate and prosper.
The very name of Morgantina should come from Morgeti, a population coming from the Italian peninsula.
The city increased its prestige during the Greek period, becoming one of the most important commercial centers in the hinterland. Placed under the influence of Syracuse, it reached its height in the third century BC, which date back to the period of the most important constructions brought to light.
The city, however, experienced a rapid decline during the Roman period: during the Second Punic War, Morgantina supported Carthage rather than Rome, and soon was made spoils of war by the victors. The city was later destroyed by Octavian, who decided to raze Morgantina, guilty of having supported the rebel slaves hostile to the Emperor.