Francesco LEANZA

PhD Student
PhD in Sciences for Cultural Heritage and Production - XXXIX cycle
Tutor: Lucia ARCIFA

Between 2020 and 2023, she collaborated in the PRIN project The Byzantine Heritage of Southern Italy, conducting a census of archaeological evidence traceable to the Byzantine era in Sicily, with the aim of creating a queryable database in a GIS environment in which data of different nature (archaeological, literary etc.) regarding the period between the 6th and 11th centuries and more generally the Byzantine domination in southern Italy. In 2019 he obtained the Postgraduate Diploma in Late Antique and Medieval Archaeology at the Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici of the University of Catania, with a thesis entitled Per un nuovo approccio allo studio della Sicilia medio-bizantina: indagini topografiche sul sito di c.da Edera di Bronte, in which a punctual topographical analysis of the site and a broader investigation within the context of the Arab-Byzantine frontier in Sicily between the 9th and 10th centuries were conducted. In 2016, he received his master's degree in archaeology (LM-2) from the University of Catania, with a thesis entitled From Troina to Randazzo: a road area between the early and late Middle Ages. In 2013, the achievement of a Bachelor's degree in Classical Literature with a thesis in History of Ancient Christianity. He collaborates with the Chair of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Catania, working in particular on topography and digital management of archaeological data

Byzantine viewshed. Construction and perception of frontier landscapes in Byzantine Sicily (6th-10th centuries): a heritage to be restored.

The research project addresses the issues related to the construction of Arab-Byzantine frontier landscapes in Sicily, their evolution and transformation in the aftermath of the thematic reform at the end of the 7th century, and does so through a multivariate approach that adds the historical and landscape data to the archaeological data, with a view to investigating the perceptual aspects of the landscape that underlie, and trigger, the genesis of settlement dynamics whose impact is visible, and investigable, in the longue durée. The focus of the research is represented by the analysis of the peculiar historical landscapes that are gradually shaped and reshaped by different interests and efforts, in the perspective of a combined work of nature and man that is expressed in the last act, at least among those conscious, of an 'empire that did not want to die'. The middle Platani valley specifically, in ways that are still unclear, is configured as the real watershed of this frontier area as well as the keystone of the contextual territorial reorganization. The investigation of this territory will in fact allow the possibility of a pregnant reading of that Byzantine, and conversely arab-muslim, thalassocracy within which Sicily assumed a position of extreme prominence and centrality between the 6th and 10th centuries. In addition, the outputs of this project include not only the possibility of providing a solid philological basis for tourist offerings such as 'slow walks', or for spatial planning tools such as the PTPR, but also the intent to build, on the relationship between the historical landscape and the contemporary, those heritage communities for which precisely the right to cultural heritage becomes full democratic realization.






- Arcifa L., Leanza F., Longo R., Luca A., Messina M., 2023, Ripensare la frontiera arabo-bizantina in Sicilia. Materiali per un approccio allo studio dei paesaggi tra VIII e X secolo, in F. Marazzi, C. Raimondo, G. Hyeraci (a cura di), La difesa militare bizantina in Italia (secoli VI-XI), Atti del convegno internazionale (15-18 aprile 2021), pp. 397-418.

- Arcifa L., Leanza F., Luca A., Messina M., 2020, Evidenze archeologiche e temi di ricerca per la Sicilia mediobizantina: il sito di contrada Edera di Bronte (CT) nel IX secolo, «Archeologia Medievale», 47/2020, pp. 153-179.


In corso di stampa ---------------------------------------

Arcifa L., Leanza F., Luca A., Marino G., Messina M., Per un’archeologia della frontiera arabo-bizantina nella Sicilia orientale: il caso di Rocca Novara, in R. Panvini (a cura di), Frontiera e confine. Culture a contatto nella Sicilia antica, Convegno di Studi (Catania – Marianopoli 2023), c.d.s.

Leanza F., I paesaggi di frontiera arabo-bizantini in Sicilia: considerazioni preliminari e ipotesi di ricerca a partire dal caso studio di Rocca di Novara, «Galleria», c.d.s.