Just over an hours drive from Verdura, the capital of Sicily, Palermo is a lively, fascinating city with a history that stretches back 3,000 years. A day trip here will give guests an insight into its considerable artistic and architectural heritage. The sights are too numerous to list in full, but highlights include the exquisite Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace, the Teatro Massimo opera house (which appeared in The Godfather III), the Byzantine mosaics of the Church of St. Maria dell’Ammiraglio, the bustling Il Capo street market and the Piazza Marina district, the city’s old Arabic quarter which contains several palaces, restaurants and squares. The old town is best explored by foot, but it is also enjoyable to travel by horse and carriage.
No more than thirty minutes drive from Verdura, Agrigento was described as "The most beautiful city of mortals" by the Greek poet Pindar in the 5th century BC; indeed, it was one of the most important cities in Greece’s Golden Age. The Valley of the Temples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best preserved ancient Greek buildings outside Greece itself. The most outstanding is a Doric temple built in the 5th century BC and attributed to the goddess Concordia, which is similar in design to the Parthenon. The archaeological museum in modern Agrigento also has several fascinating finds, and the town itself has some attractive medieval piazzas, as well as the beautiful Kolymbetra Garden.
Flanked by golden beaches and just thirty minutes drive away from the Resort, this is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, with the most extraordinary collection of ruins. Founded by Greek colonists in the 6th century BC, Selinunte enjoyed two centuries of prosperity before being sacked by Carthage. It was never rebuilt. Guests today will find columns and stones strewn around the peaceful countryside, just as Victorian travellers found it. Swinburne, the English poet, described it as ‘one of the most gigantic and sublime ruins imaginable’. Only the Temple of Hera still stands. It makes a great place for guests to walk or explore by electric buggy with an expert guide.
Forty-five minutes drive from Verdura, Burgio is a small hill-side town of medieval origins with a rich history. Among the town's monuments, must-sees include the Church of San Vito (dated 1500), and the bonze bells, along with the Norman Castle. Burgio is also the town of ceramics- it boasts an incredible ceramics museum. The museum is located in the beautiful ex-convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and represents the recovery of the historical memory of a long-standing handicraft tradition for the city and a turnaround of the entire ceramics sector.