Ancient Helorus was probably founded by the Syracusans sometime in the 7C BC. It enjoys a splendid situation on a hill overlooking the sea, not far from the mouth of the River Tellaro.



On entering the site, to the east, stands the ruin of a great stoà (portico), which once would have marked the entrance to the sacred precinct where the sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and Kore was located, now buried below vestiges of various Byzantine buildings erected later. Down towards the river lie the remains of a theatre cavea, badly scarred, alas, when a drainage channel was dug under Fascist rule. Westwards, sits the base of a temple thought to have been dedicated to Asclepius (Aesculapius), the son of Apollo and god of medicine and healing. Beyond, northern and western sections of the enclosure walls are still much in evidence, as is the north gate (complete with the

foundations of flanking towers) which marks the beginning of the main street, running on a north to south axis, rutted by cart-wheels. In an area east of the principal thoroughfare, set among rectangular buildings, lies an open space that must surely have been the agorà (market piace).



Villa Romana del Tellaro – 7km west. Beside the River Tellaro, west of the main Noto - Pachino road, the remains of a Roman villa dating from the second half of the 4C AD have been recovered. These fragments found in the 1970s, while excavations were conducted on a nearby rural complex, seem to suggest that its internal decoration must have been at least as sumptuous as the famous Roman Villa del Casale, near Piazza Armerina.


Tour – The residence is planned around a square peristyle: excavations of the north wing have revealed mosaic floors with geometric designs, notably diamonds and spirals. Three rooms in the northern range preserve mosaics with an intensity of colour far in excess of anything found at the Villa del Casale; these, composed of smaller tesserae, feature hunting scenes, erotic scenes and Apollo’s deliverance of the body of Hector to Priam, after avenging the death of his friend Patroclus, a story taken from Homer’s Iliad (alas, these mosaics are preserved elsewhere for the time being).

Before leaving, note on the right, the traces of additional buildings annexed to the main complex – possibly intended as the servants quarters, and the remains of a wall from the Greek period.