First settlements date back to XII century B.C. when the Sicanians, immigrated from Iberia, settled here and gave birth to a flourishing civilization. Diodorus tells of a mytical town called Inycon, founded on the seashore by the great King Kokalos, near the present Menfi, town of wine and hospitality.
Another relevant settlement, the one of the Elymians, go back to the later period of the Trojan War (1184 B.C.). According to Tucidides, they left Asia Minor to escape Troy destruction and took refuge on the western Sicilian coasts. There they founded Erice and Segesta near to the coast and Entella in the inland areas, near the present Contessa Entellina.
About the VIII century the area was colonised by the Phoenicians: the ancient village on Mount Adranone, built on an pre-existent religious site founded by the Sicanians.
In the VII and VI centuries, the Greeks consolidated their presence in the area: the colony of Selinunte was one of the most prosperous in the Magna Graecia. Traces of it have lasted till today in the Archaeological Park, the largest and most impressive in Europe.
About 250 B.C. the Terre Sicane were conquered by the Romans. Thereby, they lived a period of peaceful expansion thanks to their agricultural economy, where mainly wine, oil and wheat were cultivated and exported all over the world known at the time. Evidences of it are the oil and wine amphoras, doing back to the Punic Wars, found down in the sea of Porto Palo di Menfi.
After the decline of the Roman Empire, the Saracens settled in the territory of the Terre Sicane. Sambuca di Sicilia, founded by the Emir Zabut The Splendid in the IX A.D., still witnesses it with its courtyards, its alleys climbing up the hill, in the ruins of the Castle and the Medina, in the Fort Mazzallakkar, on the shore of Lake Arancio.
In the XII and XIII centuries, the whole Sicily was conquered by the Normans. Living proof of that time is the fortified Castle Burgiomilluso (in Menfi), built by Frederick II in the 1239, destroyed in the tragic Belìce earthquake in 1968.
At the beginning of XIV century, a popular rebellion chased away the Angevins (Sicilian Vespers and Peace of Caltabellotta in 1302). Thereafter, the Spanish rule started and strengthened along the XV and XVI centuries. Many of the present towns were built and received the licentia populandi under the Aragonese reign.
We still have evidences of that period all over the territory: the wonderful churches in Sambuca, the Cathedral and Palazzo Steripinto in Sciacca, Palazzo Filangeri Cutò in Santa Margherita di Belìce, Santa Maria del Bosco Abbey in Contessa Entellina.
HISTORIC ITINERARIES IN THE TERRE SICANE