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The Belice Valley. From the earthquake to the urban reconstruction

The Belice Valley, crossed by the homonymous river, is located in Western Sicily among the provinces of Palermo, Trapani, and Agrigento. In the night between the 14th and 15th January 1968, a violent earthquake destroyed this area, damaged 19 towns, and destroyed four entire towns: Gibellina, Poggioreale, Salaparuta, and Montevago. These places were not rebuilt soon after the earthquake but only many years later. Many of these towns were built near the original place in accordance with English urban schemes, thus they were kept far from the Sicilian urban tradition. 

Gibellina, which was rebuilt about 18 km far from the original site, is the only city that shows innovative elements and a good amount of works of art. The artist Alberto Burri created a land art work in the ancient site of Gibellina which​ consists of a white blanket of cement burying the lost city forever. On this private guided tour, we will go through the Belice valley, which is characterized by gentle sloping hills of olive trees and vineyards, where you can still see the signs of the devastating earthquake. The route will lead up to Alberto Burri’s Cretto, where we'll walk along the winding alleys of this amazing work of art to discover the ancient streets of Gibellina.

The road trip will continue through the Sicilian countryside immersed in the silence. We will then join the ruins of Poggioreale. In the 17th century, Poggioreale was such an important town that it earned this high-sounding name. The houses destroyed by the earthquake are still visible on the hill where the city was founded, as if they were waiting for someone to look at them.

Quite the opposite, the new city of Gibellina is much younger. It is characterized by large and desolate spaces filled with works of art such as Ludovico Quaroni, Alberto Samonà, Vittorio Gregotti, Pure Franco, Laura Thermes, Francesco Venezia and many others. Today Gibellina looks like an open air museum with its large squares, magnificent sculptures, and the striking "Museo delle Trame Mediterranee".

Our cultural day tour will continue up to Salemi, which is the old Salam, “place of delights” or Salem “the city of peace”, whose town centre is represented by the majestic castle founded by Frederick II the Swabian. Not far away from here, you can see the ruins of the Mother Church destroyed by the 1968 earthquake. Thanks to its broken columns and missing roof, this monument creates a suspended atmosphere.

  • Also available in Spanish
  • Duration 8 hours
  • Price per group from € 300.00


The above-mentioned price does not include transport to and from the location.
The above-mentioned price does not include the entrance ticket to the monuments and the museums, where required.