Si Trova: nel territorio tra Lentini e Carlentini
Lat: 37° 16' 22.15778" N - Long: 15° 0' 19.10591" E
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Leontinoi has been one of the more ancient Greek colonies in Sicily.
It was founded in 729 BC by settlers from Calcide led by Teocle.
The town has soon reached importance.
It was in the San Mauro hill and, a little later, the Metapiccola hill with the San Mauro valley also.
Both hills had previously been inhabited since the Copper Age by the Sicans and Sicilians, as evidenced by archaeological findings, including a prehistoric village on the Metapiccola hill.
In 650 BC, Leontinoi also founded a colony: Euboia.
The proximity of the powerful Syracuse weighed so much that, in 427 BC, Leontinoi called the Athenians to help through one of his more famous citizens: the sophist Gorgia; despite the peace of Gela, however, Leontinoi did not win.
In 214 BC, during the Second Punic War, it was attacked by the powerful army of the consul Marcello and definitively was part of Rome; later its population moved to the surrounding countryside and disappeared as a town.
Today the fortifications of the Porta Siracusana, the Hellenistic necropolis and the walls around the southern head of the San Mauro hill have been brought to light.
While on the top of the hills there were the sacred areas, the town, with houses of rock and semi-rocky type, was located on the slopes of the two hills and in the valley bottom, which also hosted the agora.
The finds from the Leontinoi excavations are kept in the archaeological museum of Lentini, in the "Paolo Orsi" museum in Syracuse and in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
In addition to the remains of the ancient town, the archaeological area also includes the north and south necropolises, the prehistoric village of Metapiccola, some pyramidal tombs and interesting rock settlements belonging to different eras: houses and places of worship.
Noteworthy is the cave with the Church of the Crucifix, which preserves the richest cycle of Byzantine frescoes in Sicily.
Great importance has also the "Castrum Vetus", a Frederick fortress of which a large barrage wall remains, the remains of a tower and the hypogeum hall.
The archaeological area is open on the weekday mornings: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm; last access at 13:00.
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