Set on the Southern coast of Sicily, Gela was founded by Rhodian and Cretan colonists at the end of the VII century b.C.; in 580 b.C. Gela founded Agrigento, whose importance throughout the years surpassed that of Gela. The city gradually lost its political importance although it still played a major cultural role. Indeed, Aeschylus, the great Greek playwright, decided to spend here his last years.
Destroyed and rebuilt many times, Gela was ultimately reconstructed by Frederick II in 1230, who called it Terranova. In 1927 the city regained its original ancient name.
In addition to many important archaeological remains fonde in the area and preserved at the Regional Archaeological Museum, Gela is rich in architectural treasures, such as the Castelluccio di Gela (Small Castle), a XII century castle set on a rocky cliff, the early-Christian Catacombs, the Mother Church, rebuilt in 1766 over the remains of the pre existent Chiesa della Madonna della Platea, the church of S. Francesco d'Assisi, XVII century, the church of S. Giuseppe, XV century, the church of the Madonna delle Grazie or of the Cappuccini, XVI° century, and many noble residences in liberty style.