Licata - Sicily, Italy

Licata lies on the southern coast of Sicily at the mouth of the Salso River. Licata is a seaport, seaside resort, and commercial and industrial centre. It was founded in the early 3rd Century BC as a refuge for the inhabitants of Gela after that city's destruction and was called Phintias after the tyrant of Acragas. Places to visit in Licata include the Chiesa and the Convento del Carmine, art work of the architect G. B. Amico (1684-1754), and the Chiesa di S. Angelo, containing silver artefacts and the silver urn containing the relics of the town's Patron Saint. There are numerous grand buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries in the town and some Liberty-style villas located in the Monserrato area. From here you can visit the Villa Romana dei Casale. Hidden under mud for 700 years, a Roman villa has been excavated to reveal unique mosaic floors of magnificent quality depicting hunting, circus and athletic scenes. The villa that dates from the early 4th century BC was used for hundreds of years as a hunting lodge and summer home. The name Licata derives from the Greek Alukates, meaning "salty" from the Salso river. Historically, the town is identified with the original Finziade, founded in 280 B.C. by Finzia, Tyrant of Agrigento. During the Roman period, the Greeks and Phoenicians transformed it into one of the most important commercial trade centres of the whole island. From 1553, the town declined under Turkish rule but the town saw an industry driven recovery during the 18th and 19th centuries century.