3km (1 3/4 miles) NE of Bagheria, 18km (11 miles) E of Palermo

Set high on the slopes of Monte Catalfano, the ruins of the city of Solunto may not be the most impressive in Sicily, but they are evocative, and the panoramic view of the sea and the beautiful setting amid aromatic wildflowers make the trip appealing. At a location 374m (1,227 ft.) above the bay, Solunto was the Carthaginian town of Solus and was actually founded as early as the 8th century B.C. Along with Palermo and Mozia, it was one of three Phoenician colonies in Sicily.

In 397 B.C., Dionysius of Syracuse destroyed the city. The present ruins are from the small city that existed here in the mid-4th century B.C. In time, Solunto was captured by the Romans, its dwellers fleeing their homes sometime during the 2nd century A.D.

The conquerors would not leave poor Solunto alone, even when it was nearly empty of life. The Saracens, for reasons known only to them, practically destroyed what remained after the Roman destruction.