Menfi is a seaside town. The pleasant climate and the nearby rivers Belice and Carboj make the area particularly suitable for the cultivation of vineyards and there are numerous important canteens which produce excellent DOC wines. Towards the end of June or in early July one of the most important sicilian wine festivals, Inycon, is organized here: wine tasting, gastronomy and music enliven the streets and piazzas of the centre of Menfi for several days. The town of Menfi grew around the Castle built by Federico II, not far form the ruins of the legendary Sican town Inycon, already renowned in the bronze age for its fine wines. In 1968 the historic center of Menfi was hit by a terrible earthquake that destroyed buildings throughout the area and compromised numerous churches and monuments. However, thanks to a careful activity of consolidation, restoration and cultural heritage promotion, the ancient heart of the city has returned to life and to offer visitors different treasure chest of beauty able to telling the history of the city.
One of these is the Federico II Institution, founded in 1996 with the aim of promoting and disseminating the history and culture of the territory of Menfi through various activities, initiatives and permanent exhibitions. In addition to the Civic Library and the Historical Archive, the headquarters of the institution houses an interesting Antiquarium with finds accidentally found in the territory and in the sea of Memphis: amphorae, statuettes, coins and other artifacts ranging from the lower Paleolithic to the Punic Wars.
A few steps from the headquarters of the Federico II Institution, right on the area occupied in the 13th century by the Castle of Frederick II of Swabia, stands Palazzo Pignatelli: a majestic baronial palace from 1638 which has now become an important museum and a multipurpose cultural center thanks to the great joint work of the Superintendency of the BB .CC.AA. of Agrigento, the Municipal Administration of Menfi and the Federico II Institution. The seventeenth-century building is a real “treasure chest” on two floors: on the ground floor, just below the pavement, a necropolis dating back to 330-400 AD was unearthed. C. and in the same area various fragments of medieval pottery (13th century) have also been found.
On the second floor, or the noble floor of the building, the various archaeological finds found in the territory and in the sea of Menfi are exhibited, which tell of the presence of man in this area since the dawn of time. A room in Palazzo Pignatelli houses a small exhibition of works of art from churches destroyed by the 1968 earthquake, which allows visitors to admire masterpieces of art recovered from the rubble, waiting to be restored to their former glory. In the same building there is another attraction not to be missed: a rich and unique collection of malacology donated by Mrs. Vanna Rotolo, who in over twenty years has collected more than 5,000 shells from all over the world with painstaking passion.
And just the sea is another great attraction of this city. Menfi’s beaches are amongst the best of the island: in 1998 the beach of Porto Palo, a small seashore hamlet at the foot of a 15th century watchtower, was awarded the blue flag by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) for its uncontaminated sea.
Menfi: distance from Agrigento approx. 52 km
Contacts of organizations and associations which offer tourist information and other useful services:
Municipality of Menfi: telephone reception
Istituzione Federico II
Menfi: the coordinates indicate Porto Palo
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N 37° 34' 28.35''
E 12° 54' 17.14''
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