Guided Tour of Gibellina and Poggioreale


Gibellina and Poggioreale: earthquake ruins, landscape architecture and art 

The earthquake of 1968 devastated the entire Belice region and the towns of Gibellina and Poggioreale in particular. New Gibellina, built after the earthquake, is one of Italy’s most interesting examples of landscape architecture, a veritable museum en plein air with dozens of monumental sculptures spread out around town. 

Unlike Gibellina, Poggioreale was abandoned after the earthquake, and is often referred to as a ghost town. Travelling to Poggioreale means getting in touch with the devastation that an earthquake brings to a town and its inhabitants. In the case of Poggioreale, people preferred not to cancel the traces of the earthquake with new constructions and landscape art. They decided to let nature take the town back.

Read more about Gibellina and Poggioreale in our Guide to Sicily >> 

The tour begins in New Gibellina with a tour of its sculptures and its architecture, including the spherical Chiesa Madre designed by Quaroni, and Pietro Consagra’s Porta del Belice, a fitting symbol of the town's renaissance. New Gibellina’s urban conception is the most fascinating aspect of the town, with its colonnades, its art-filled avenues and its squares. Designed as a utopia the town hangs precariously between the pull of the past and the push of the future, between the intellectual aesthetic of its creators and the everyday requirements of its inhabitants. 

The tour continues with a visit of Gibellina’s Civic Contemporary Art Museum, which has an impressive collection of works, including a series of paintings by Mario Schifano.

Then it's off to visit Alberto Burri’s Cretto, a colossal sculpture superimposed onto the ruins of the Old Gibellina.

The tour ends in Old Poggioreale, a 20-minute drive away. There, you will walk through the ruins of the old town, see the remains of its cathedral, town hall, theatre, and other buildings which, despite their state of degradation, are still recognizable.

When: Tuesday to Saturday
Duration: 6-7 hours

Villas in the west of Sicily >>

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