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Lentini, Province of Siracusa, Sicily, Italy

The town rises at 70 m a.s.l. south of the Lentini lake, in a territory layely cultivated with vineyauds, olive trees and cereals. 2 km southwest of Lentini is the village of Carlentini, founded and named by Charles V.

A large agricultural center south of the Catania plain, the town rises to the west of the valley of the ancient Lentini lake, once totally drained but today again re-established in the original place.

Info

Population: ca. 31,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 96016 -- Phone Area Code: 095 -- Patron Saint: Sant'Alfio

History

It was one of the first Greek colonies in Sicily, known at the time as Leontinoi. The ancient Leontini was a Calcidian colony of Naxus founded in 729 BC, allied to Athens and conquered by Syracuse in 346 BC. It was later under Gerone II and then became part of the Roman empire. In Roman times it seems to have been of small importance. It was destroyed by the Saracens in 848 AD, and almost totally ruined by the earthquake of 1698.

The ancient city is described by Polybius as lying in a bottom between two hills, and facing north. On the western side of this bottom ran a river with a row of houses on its western bank under the hill. At each end was a gate, the northern leading to the plain, the southern, at the upper end, to Syracuse. There was an acropolis on each side of the valley, which lies between steep hills with flat tops, over which buildings had extended. Destroyed by the Saracens, it was rebuilt in 848 AD, and after dannaged by earthquakes.

What to see

  • The Lentini lake, situated in the lowlands, and in the past marshy and unhealthy, was improvered with a huge dam, which raised the water level. It is presently 3 km wide and 5 long, and is rich of fish, especially eels.
  • The eastern hill still has considerable remains of a strongly fortified medieval castle.
  • Excavations made in 1899 in one of the ravines in a Sicel necropolis of the third period and explorations in the various Greek cemeteries resulted in the discovery of some fine bronzes, now in the Berlin museum.


Province of Siracusa

Events

  • 9-10-11 May, feast of Sant'Alfio - during the celebrations the "Nuri", as followers of the saint are called, barefoot and wearing only short white pants and a red band around the chest and waist, bearing flowers in their hands, run through the village along the procession itinerary shouting "Ghhiamamulu a Sant'Affiu".
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