The Greek Akragas first, and then the Roman Agrigentum, for centuries constituted a power known throughout the Mediterranean basin, signalled to navigators by the Doric temples that still embrace the southern part of the city.
Thanks to its favourable position at the centre of the trade routes, the whole of Sicily has seen the development of personalities and dynasties that treasured this particular connotation of the island, exploiting it for the growth of personal power and drawing wealth from it for the construction of sumptuous houses.
In Palermo, outside the walls of the ancient city, it is still possible to visit the Zisa Palace, devised as a summer residence of the Norman King William I in the 11th century, a grandiose combination of Norman architecture and Arab engineering.
In Ragusa, on the other hand, there is the Donnafugata Castle, whose first construction dates back to the Counts of Modica in the 14th century, but transformed into a Neo-Gothic castle during the 19th century at the behest of Baron Corrado Arezzo.
Even more than the sumptuous interiors, the garden is astonishing, an 8-hectare park that even houses a labyrinth built with dry stone walls that were covered with rose plants.
Finally, back to times closer to those of our Agrigentum, the Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina.
Probably belonging to a member of the Roman senatorial aristocracy or, according to some scholars, built and extended on a direct imperial commission, it can be considered one of the most significant examples of a residence of reception, compared to other contemporaries of the Roman West.
The high profile of its commissioner is celebrated eloquently in the mosaic ornaments that pass through public and private rooms.