Legend has it that the area in which Alcamo sits was inhabited by people who had escaped the destruction of the city of Troy. The city of Alcamo itself was founded in 828 by a Muslim commander named Al-Kamuk — hence the name.Among the evidence of the town’s Arabic heritage is the old Arabic fountain, which is still functioning today.A flying eagle is the symbol of the coat of arms of Alcamo.While we were visiting Erice, the town was celebrating the release of a film that had been shot there. Now, we saw posters advertising the film in Alcamo.The Church of St. Thomas dates from the beginning of the 15th century.The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is the city’s main church, or Duomo. Knowing that the ancient site of Segesta was nearby, we hopped into the car, and tried to find it.Segesta was one of the major cities of its time. While founded by people indigenous to Sicily, it quickly became Hellenized and, before long, was a classic Greek city. There are two areas to the archaeological park — one is the temple and the other, the remains of the city with the Greek Theatre. Both require serious uphill walking! There is also a shuttle bus, which will transport you back and forth between the two, but of course, we chose to walk.The Temple was built in 420 B.C. It is one of the best preserved temples in the entire world!From the Temple, it is about a twenty-minute uphill walk to the remains of the city.The Theatre is still used each summer for productions of Greek dramas.We made our way back to the car, and began the drive towards Alcamo.Being the curious people that we are, we could not miss the opportunity to make a little detour and check out the ruins of the Funtanazza, on Mount Bonifato. This was the area’s water reservoir. We then proceeded further up the mountain.The fact that we started seeing Stations of the Cross led us to believe that there was a church further up the mountain. So, of course, we continued to climb!Directly behind the church was the ruins of the Castello dei Ventimiglia, which dated back to the 11th century.The view from the mountaintop was amazing!
Next up: more of Alcamo, including a visit to Il Castello dei Conti di Modica!
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.