This city has very ancient
foundations and associates its birth to the myth of the Lestrigoni,
a population who were dedicated to agriculture and stock-raising,
and who later changed its name to Sicily.
Before the arrival of the Greek Calcidesi colonies (8th Century
BC) under the command of Teocle, the territory was also inhabited
by the Siculi who arrived here from the peninsula in the 15th
Century, driving the Sicani towards the west.
The Greek colony quickly saw a period of commercial development,
to the point where it founded other colonies, amongst which
Euboia. It then lost its independence in 494 BC at the hand
of Ippocrate of Gela. In 476 BC, Lerone of Syracuse deported
the inhabitants of Catania and Naxos to Lentini. In order
to assure its protection, Leontinoi tightened its alliance
with Athens, leading to a clash between the aristocrats protected
by Syracuse and the democrats protected by Athens. This situation
led Athens to intervene against Syracuse, protected by Sparta,
and to the complete disbanding of the Athenian army.
Once immersed in the Syracuse atmosphere, Lentini remained
for around two centuries until a clash with the Romans, who
besieged and destroyed it in 214 BC.
Under Rome, Lentini slowly lost its importance and the inhabitants
began to migrate towards the countryside.
Beginning with the Ostrogoth reign in the 6th Century, Lentini
was then conquered by Belisario in 535 and annexed to the
Western Roman Empire, which only took advantage of its resources,
causing its further impoverishment.
It was then conquered by the Arabs in ‘847 and saw a
period of development. It passed hands to Norman power in
the 11th Century, then was destroyed a century later by the
earthquakes of 1140 and 1169. Its reconstruction under the
Swabians and the settlement of various religious orders, gave
breathing space to the town.
During subsequent centuries, as with many other Sicilian cities,
Lentini saw battles for power amongst the most important families
on the island.
The earthquakes during 1542 and especially during 1693, completely
destroyed Lentini, which was rebuilt very slowly over the
subsequent three centuries.
As with the rest of Sicily, it was annexed to the Reign of
Italy during 1860.
A not to missed visit in Lentini is to the Archaeological
Park, where one can admire ancient walls (7th Century BC),
the Necropolis and the pre-historic village of Xouthia.
In the City centre, one can also enjoy a visit to the church
called the Chiesa Madre, dedicated to Saint Alfio from the
18th Century, Saint Luca, the Church of S.S. Trinità
and Saint Marziano, as well as the Archaeological Museum.