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Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Sicily  /  Province of Trapani  /  Calatafimi-Segesta

Calatafimi-Segesta

3.5
Ruins · Specialty Museums · Spas
Calatafimi-Segesta is a small town, more popularly known simply as Calatafimi, in the Province of Trapani, in Sicily, southern Italy.The full name of the municipality was created in 1997 and is meant to highlight the presence within its territory of the 5th century B.C. Doric temple of Segesta, widely regarded as one of the most intact of its type. Adjoining the temple, on a nearby hilltop, there is a 2nd-century Roman amphitheater.HistoryThe town developed during the age of the Muslim emirate of Sicily, when it was known as Qal`at(a)fīmī ( قلعة فيمي ), referring to the defensive castle overlooking the town, now partially restored from ruins. One hypothesis for the castle's name derives it from "Castrum Phimes" - a stronghold protecting the territory of a Roman period nobleman mentioned by Cicero, Diocles Phimes. Another hypothesis derives it from "Castle of Euphemius", possibly referring to the 5th century Byzantine patriarch by that name or, more likely, to the 9th century Euphemius of Sicily, a legendary figure who probably brought Muslim mercenaries to Sicily in 827 to help defend his throne, only to have them conquer the island for themselves.Calatafimi's part of Sicily was one of the first to be occupied by the Aghlabids from Ifriqiya in their conquest of the island, and was one of the last centres of Islamic culture after the end of the Norman rule. The excavations near Segesta have revealed a 12th-century Islamic necropolis and mosque. There are also references to an Islamic-period town called Calathamet (Qal`at al-Hammah - قلعة الحمّة), on the border of the territories of Calatafimi and Castellammare del Golfo, possibly equating the modern Terme Segestane.
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