to a rocky precipice among the lower spurs of the Mount San Calogero,
this lovely town was probably founded by the Phoenicians. The earliest
records, however, dates back to the Norman Age, when it served as
the crucible for the Sicilian Barons revolt against the Emperor
William I The Bad. During the Aragonese rule, it passed to the Spanish
feudal lords; in the 14th century it was assimilated into the dominion
of the Chiaramontes; then, it passed into the hands of various dynasties,
namely the Prades-Cabrera, Amato and, finally, De Spuches families.
– Entrance from Via Taormina. It is one of the best preserved
castles in all Sicily. It sits atop a rocky spur and is arranged
on several levels, the result of spiralling extensions being added
through the 1300s, 1400s and 1600s. The main unit, complete with
the features of a fortress, probably dates back to the 11th century.
The defensive elements were reinforced by the Chiaramontes, while
the Amatos, in the 17th century, converted it into a noble residence
with terraces, one-light and two-light windows.
– Beyond the first gate, a 1600’s ramp leads up to a
second gate. A broad, paved courtyard provides access to the Torre
Mastra, from where extends a magnificent 360 degrees panoramic including
Termini Imerese, Mongerbina, Capo Zafferano, Rocca Busambra and
the Castello di Vicari. A fine 1700’s doorway provides access
to the Sala delle Armi or Salone della Congiura, where the rebellious
barons gathered before confronting William the Bad. The interior
of the castle has been extensively refurbished of recent. The wing
left of the Salone della Congiura (Weapons Hall) gives access to
the Torre Gibellina while, to the right, are the Salotto dei Nobili
with its lovely five-bay window, and other rooms that lead to a
to Corso Umberto I and turn right to Piazza Duomo.
Duomo – The square provides an attractive open space divided
into two levels. Up, on the north side, is the fine 1600’s
Palazzo del Monte Pietà, flanked by the Oratorio del SS.
Sacramento, on the left, and by the Chiesa delle Anime Sante del
Purgatorio, on the right. The enchanting arrangement provides a
sort of theatrical stage that dominates the lower side of the piazza.
The balustrade, that contemporaneously separates and links the two
levels, is surmounted by four statues representing the Blessed Giovanni
Liccio, St. Rosalie, St. Nicasio and St. Teotista.
Madre – Dedicated to St. George, this stands on the western
side of the square. On one side, it clings to the rocky spur which
rises to the castle, while on the other, it is supported by sturdy
arcades and bastions. It contains interesting pieces of art such
as a painting by Mattia Stomer depicting The Miracle of St. Isidoro
Agricola, dated 1641, and, inside the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament,
above an inlaid marble altar, a unusual Gagini-style’s ciborium
ornamented with marble reliefs dating from the 15th century. The
white marble baptismal font beside the main altar (dated 1466) and
the entablature over the sacristy entrance (right transept) with
its delicate low reliefs by Francesco Laurana, are also worth-noting.
Corso Umberto I, to the right, opens Piazza S. Marco, bordered by
the former Franciscan Convent, the Chiesa dell’Annunziata,
with its twin bell-towers, the Chiesa della Badia and what was the
Chiesa di S. Marco, going back to the 1300s, of which the pointed
doorway is still visible).
Benedetto alla Badia – It has a single nave and a splendid
majolica floor, although damaged and covered with carpets, which
is attributed to Nicolo Sarzana from Palermo (18th century). When
possible, it is worth climbing up to the women’s gallery,
once the preserve of nuns of a closed order from the convent which
once stood adjacent to the church. From the gallery there is an
excellent view of the whole church and, in particular, of the finest
wrought-iton railings (18th century) at the far end. Also worthy
of note are the stuccoes in the apse, by Bartolomeo Sanseverino
(18th century); the lunette, above, depicts The Dinner at Emmaus;
the statues on either side of the altar are allegories of Chastity
to Corso Umberto I; just before Piazza Torino turn left uphill
di Santa Maria degli Angeli (or San Domenico) – It is a two
aisled church with a trussed wooden ceiling ornamented with paintings
of Dominican saints (damaged by humidity). In the chapel of Santa
Maria degli Angeli (to the right) is a lovely Madonna col Bambino
by Antonello Gagini (1516) and, on the under-side of the main arch,
a series of small paintings by Vincenzo La Barbera depicting The
Mysteries of the Rosary (17th century).
it is recommended a walk to the far side of town where, turning
right (signposted for centro storico), along a kind of circular
route, there is a wonderful view over the whole town, with the Torre
Pizzarrone, that once formed part of the town’s external defences,
the Torre delle Campane (now the cathedral’s bell-tower) and
the bell-tower flanking the Chiesa dell’Annunziata.
Campofelice Di Fitalia
Campofelice Di Roccella
Castelnuovo Di Sicilia
Castronovo Di Sicilia
Isola Delle Femmine
Piana Degli Albanesi
San Giuseppe Iato
San Mauro Castelverde
Santa Cristina Gela
Ventimiglia Di Sicilia
Bosco Della Ficuzza
San Martino Delle Scale
Scavi Del Monte Jato
Scivoletto e Michelin Italia. Le foto sono di proprietà
dei rispettivi autori. Ogni riproduzione non autorizzata verrà
perseguita a norma di legge.
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Guide of Sicily
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