Castiglione di Sicilia, The City of Wine

 

Sitting on a hill overlooking the southern shore of the Alcantara river, with houses set on a steep slope, it is a typical hilltop town. Both the town hall and the cathedrals are the highest points of the hill. The town’s name translates to mean "great castle”. It is a territory that represents the perfect harmony of the four elements: coutryside, the water of the Alcantara river, fire of the Etna volcano, and the fresh air from the mountains.

The medieval heart of the village is hidden between the snow of the Etna mixed with lava’s rivers and the gurgle of the Alcantara water into its cleft. The steep lanes leading to the Byzantine and Norman forts, the walls of the old town centre on which it seems fallen a veil of the volcano’s lava, Sant’Antonio quarter, as well as the religious buildings, are images of a melting ancient Sicily.

Must-see

San Pietro’s Church – According to tradition, it was built at the will of the Norman Count Ruggero d´Altavilla in 1105. The only parts left from the original building are the apse and the tower blocks made of lava sandstone.

Sant’Antonio’s Church – Construction began in 1601; it has a beautiful baroque façade from 1796 and a bulb-shaped dome.

Basilica of Madonna della Catena – It is the most important church in Castiglione di Sicilia. Its construction begun in 1655. The church is characterized by a beautiful staircase and features a monumental Baroque façade.

Castle of Ruggero di Lauria – Of Norman-Swabia origin, it dates back to the twelfth century and stands on a sandstone cliff.

Cannizzu – Outside the village, on Via San Vincenzo there is a cylindrical tower called Cannizzu (twelfth century), which is the symbol of the town of Castiglione.

Cuba of Santa Domenica – It is one of the most interesting examples of Byzantine architecture in Sicily. Cubas are Byzantine chapels built by monks between the VII and IX centuries.

 

Must-try

Wine – Castiglione, City of wine, produces DOC Etna wine, a black, strong and warm wine.

Maccu broad beans – This velvety, flavorful puree  is a traditional, rustic Sicilian dish. 

Macaroni with pork meat sauce and ricotta cheese

Sciauni – Friedcakes made with fresh ricotta cheese

 

Must-attend

Festival of Madonna della Catena – It takes place on the first Sunday of May