A statio of Roman Imperial date at the center of the large
estate by the same name in the S central part of the
island, on the inland route from Catania to Agrigento.
The statio by this name mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary
has been identified in the fertile green dell of
Sofiana, between Piazza Armerina and Mazzarino, a few
kilometers from the famous Imperial Villa of Casale, to
which it was connected by a road visible in aerial photographs. Excavations have ascertained the area of the
ancient town and uncovered a large structure with bath
installations and cubiculi, dating to the first half of the
4th c. A.D. Under this building earlier structures were
found, going back to the Augustan period. The late
Roman building was in turn altered around the end of
the 4th c. when a small Early Christian basilica with two
apses was located within the calidarium of the baths.
Further transformations occurred in Byzantine times, and
the building, which was probably meant for travelers,
continued in use until the Norman period, as shown by
pottery and coins. Not far from this building an Early
Christian basilica has been excavated; it has three naves,
central apse, prothyron, and funerary crypt with two
cellas in the S aisle. The basilica was surrounded by a
cemetery with adult and infant graves. Roman and Christian cemeteries around the city area have been largely
explored. The Roman cemeteries yielded vases of terra
sigillata and sigillata chiara, glass vessels, and necklaces.
Christian tombs contained the usual unpainted striated
ware, lamps with Christian symbols, gold rings and earrings. A remarkable gravestone engraved with the seven-branched Jewish candlestick carried the name of the presbyteros Attinis. All the archaeological material from
the excavations is preserved in the Gela National Museum.
D. Adamesteanu, RendLinc
199ff, 569ff; id., BdA (1956) 158ff; (1963) 259ff; L.
40 (1964) 169ff.