Ever wonder what it’s like living in a small town in Sicily? Well, I can give you a glimpse of San Giuseppe Jato, a small town in the middle of the valley of Mazara between Corleone and Calatafimi!
View overlooking San Giuseppe Jato
I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up near the mountains, which means beautiful hikes are at my backdoor. One hike, which overlooks the valley, is probably the best view of the town all the way to the sea!
View of the town until the sea
My friends alway join me on this hike
Although technically part of the Palermo region, the little village is actually approximately an hour's drive from the city. I can now tell you everything there is to know about Sicily's history, including how the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, the Greeks and the Romans, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Greeks, the Aghlabid, Fatimid, and Kalbid, the Norman, Aragonese, and the Spanish all tried to conquer us. I can also tell you about how our geography is mostly mountainous and how seismic and volcanic activity is quite intense, but that’s a post for another day. What I want to show you is the beautiful hike overlooking the valley of the river Iato and home to an ancient ruin of my town.
View facing toward Dammusi
The hike to the viewpoint actually follows a route to an archeological site called Area Archeologica del Monte Jato - not so original, I know. But this site dates back to the beginning of the 1st millennium and later Hellenized during the 6th century BC. Why is this important? Well, this site gave name to the town and later the town below, my town. Cultural Herritage explains best, “The Greek name of the city found on tiles and coins found during excavations is Iatoy. The Latin name is instead Ietas which, transformed over the centuries, in the Middle Ages becomes Giato.”
When you get to the archeological site, there are signs and a pathway to follow which will explain each site. You’ll see ruins of old houses, a theatre made to replicate Dionysus in Athens, the temple of Aphrodite, and the pieces the town was able to preserve are displayed in the Antiquarium of San Cipirello.
Greek Theatre of Monte Jato
My town has done a lot to preserve our historic sites and even holds small concerts in the theatre in the summer. The hike is pretty long, it can take around 3 hours, but much longer if you’re willing to stick around and explore a bit more!
Overall, the town is full of places to explore, people to meet, and food - lots and lots of good food! Before I forget, when you’re in town, don’t forget to step into Crema & Cioccolato for some nice gelato and tell them The Temini’s sent you! We don’t get too many visitors and we love to see them so be sure to add San Giuseppe Jato to your Sicily tour!
Directions to the site: By car onlyFollow SP 264 Palermo-Sciacca to the junction of San Cipirello, then take provincial road 102.
General Hours: From Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.