Montallegro, Province of Agrigento, Sicily region, Italy
The town, 27 Km. from Agrigento, is situated among the hills at 100 m a.s.l., and is a flourishing agricultural center producing grapes, almonds, and olives, with a lively wood furniture sector.
Altitude: 100 m a.s.l -- Population: about 2,500 inhabitants in 2010 -- Zip/postal code: 92010 -- Phone Area Code: 0922 -- Patron Saint: San Leonardo celebrated on 6 November
What to see
- the 17th century church of Santa Maria delle Catene
- two km outside the town, the ruins of a Roman settlement, probably existing from the 5th century B.C. to the 4th century AD, with a wealth of pottery, tiles, coins, being excavated since the 1980's.
- the ruins of the medieval center on top of the mountain, that can be reached through a long passage made of steps excavated in the rock.
- the archeological site of Heraclea Minoa, among the most spectacular in Sicily, originally an ancient town on the coast, at the mouth of the river Halycus. It was at first an outpost of Selinus, then overthrown by Carthage, later a border town of Agrigentum. It passed into Carthaginian hands by the treaty of 405 B.C., was won back by Dionysius in his first Punic war, but recovered by Carthage in 383. From this date onwards coins bearing its Semitic name, Ras Melkart, become common, and it was obviously an important border fortress. It was here that Dion landed in 357 B.C., when he attacked Syracuse. The Agrigentines won it back in 309, but it soon fell under the power of Agathocles.
Originally called Angiò, the town was built on the Monte Suso, for better defense, but in the 16th century because of water shortage, the population started to move in valley below. It was renamed Monteallegro from feudal lord Nicolò Montaperto. The lordship passed then to the Castiglione princes and in 1663 to the Petrulla princes. The last feudal lords were the Gioieni dukes, who ruled until the feudalism was abolished in 1806.
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