Sicily, you know, is midpoint of that heterogeneous and vast world called Mediterranean area. A crucible of peoples and cultures that have made the history of humanity. The navel of this enchanting island is Cefalu, an ancient city whose palaces and alleys continue to speak of a remote and fascinating history. At the heart of all this, the LA GIARA hotel with its hospitality and the possibility of living right in the historical center with its alleys and the poetry of souls that speak in the soul.
But Sicily is made of different stories and worlds and all to discover. We will be your starting base for unforgettable trips to note destinations and less known but still amazing. On your return you will find us ready to welcome you with the same heat as ever, a bit like when you come home.
A walk in the historic center of Petralia Sottana
Petralia Sottana has for centuries been one of the major cultural centers of the Madonie. Inside there are numerous testimonies of a rich and intriguing past. Old convents and rich churches, unexpected views and finely crafted fountains. Go into the ancient urban fabric, once inhabited by a people capable of leaving testimony of faith and mysticism as the ancient forms of the SS. Sacrament. Walk through the wide courtyard that represents a real living room in the Madonie. Listen to the voice of ancient organs that continue to pervade and impress.
Finally, do not miss the opportunity to admire the huge Gorgonian polyptych over 10 meters. Let your stone molds tell you the life of Christ and immerse yourself in the contemplation of the Gospel of the Poor. Finally, if you want, ask us for a strange home …
Urban Geological Trail
A simple, easy-to-navigate path, within the city and in the immediate vicinity, looking for scientific (geological, hydrogeological, paleontological, geomorphological) and ethno-environmental aspects (stone culture, legends, ancient tools, sculptures …).
A trip to the discovery of fossils and geological events, in the basolates, in the building stone of monuments, in decorations, in the outcrops, in the caves inside the historic center.
A different way to approach historic architecture, artistic stone processing, geological history of a territory that invites geologists, naturalists as well as simply enthusiasts.
Geological Trail “Stones and Water”
Using the Traci Trace of the Transumanne Petralia-Castelbuono, after about 30 minutes you will reach San Donato’s Roman Donkey Bridge, which would allow you to cross the Mandarini stream.
Once at Pizzo di S. Otiero it is possible to observe the remains of columns; Here, in fact there was the stone quarry “Lumachella” from which the twelve monolithic columns of the Petralia Sottana Mother Church were derived.
The trail continues to reach the source Catarratti, one of the most important in central-northern Sicily and further the hydroelectric power station, still working, a magnificent expression of “industrial archeology” of the early twentieth century.
Pathway “Nature Monuments of Bosco Pomieri”
The path leading to monumental trees is short but very intense. Along the way there are three magnificent specimens: an oak, a maple maple and a mountain maple. It is said of trees that have several hundred years, several meters in diameter and more than twenty meters in height.
“Abies Nebrodensis” Trail
From Polizzi Generosa takes the S.P. 119 in the direction of the splendid “Amphitheater of Quacella”, to a gate located around 8 Km on the right. Passing it on foot you enter a track that leads to the Wallachia Madonna degli Angeli. Emblematic and burdened with meanings, the Wallachia Madonna degli Angeli, the little more than 20 local fir tree plants, unique in the world and considered extinct. After about 1.5 km, on a bend of the track, a path breaks to the right after having traveled for another kilometer you will find the first specimens of Abies, all strictly cataloged and protected, easily recognizable by the bell-bearing of the bell, from the Particular strobes, and the arrangement of the cross springs.
Institutional site Madonie Regional Park
Frequent toponyms of Arab origin are a clear testimony to the Muslim presence in the territory that, after various events, from the XV to the XVIII century. He was Lord of the Counts of Modica under whose dominion he enjoyed great splendor. The Castle of Caccamo is one of the largest and best preserved Castles of Sicily, second only to that of Mussomeli; It has an unusual primacy: it was never expelled.
The first plant is believed to have been a small fortress with a watchtower and a wall-to-wall wall, on which the Mother Tower equipped with underneath cistern would develop.
Certain news about the Castle is in the 1160s, at the time of the Revolt, of the Barons headed by Matteo Bonello, Lord of Caccamo. He, in fact, takes refuge in Caccamo with his soldiers after murdering in Palermo the Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom, Bari May, November 1160.
Only with the clear epoch the Caccamo fortress takes on the shape of a real castle, from which it appears that messages are transmitted through fires on the towers, with the other neighboring chiaramonas castles.
In the following centuries, overhanging walls and secret bogies have been built, open underground and perhaps unexplored walkways to unite all guard towers; Raises forks, cells for prisoners are digged, traps are being invented. This explains, for example, the room where the unwanted guests were missing; They were accommodated in a reserved place that concealed a trap. At this time, a trap was opened and the guest rushed for so many meters that Hno could be traversed by sharp knife blades.
The story of Caccamo is thus linked to the events of the Castle which has known over the centuries the restructuring, expansion and reorganization of the Lords who have dominated it, to assume the current architectural form.
To visit: the Norman castle of the eleventh century, the Duomo * founded by the Normans in 1090, expanded in 1477 and transformed it! 1614, it houses works of highest prestige, the Mother Church (1090) with the valuable canvas of IVIatthias Stomer (1641) and other works by Vito D’Anna, Pietro Novelli, Vincenzo La Barbera, French Laurana, Andrea Mancino, Velasquez, Simone de Wòbrek, the Church of SS. Annunziatadove a large canvas of William Borremans (1725) surmounts the altar Major, the Church of St. Benedict at Badia (considered the most beautiful church of Caccamo) with the tiled brick floor with a design by Nicolo Sarzana (XVIII sec. ), The Church of S. Maria degli Angeli with inside a Madonna with Child by Antonello Gagini.
It is set in a valley on the slopes of the “Colle Milocca”, and is inserted into the lush scenery of the “Bosco” of oak, chestnut, cherry, ash, and the reliefs of Pollina, San Mauro, Geraci, Gibilmanna, Isnello.
In this natural beauty, the typical tree of the Ash is distinguished amongst the plant’s appeal, from which, on the bark of the trunk, comes a sweet liquid that, coagulating with the heat of the sun, becomes “Manna”, a product sought after for various varieties Detoxifying properties that it possesses
In the haze of prehistoric times, the men of the “neolithic” stationed in the territory that will then be Castelbuono, as evidenced by the specimens of weapons found: axes, scrapers, arrow knives, both “agate” or “obsidian”.
To the reality of the ancient man follows the tradition of the mythical pastor Dafni, born in the grove of “Lauro” plants sprinkled by the fresh springs of the “Madonie”, the Ninpharum Locus: Dafni comes from Lauro.
Greek-Roman-Christian finds have been found in various locations in the Castelbuono region, and ordered in the Civic Museum.
By the Byzantine domination in Sicily is documented Ypsigro, a farmhouse located in “fresh and medium altitude”, according to etymology. Arab, Norman, Swabian, Angioin domination survives significant ruins: the “Castle” of “Kadi” in the district “San Guglielmo”; The Abbey of Sant’Anastasia; The “Priory” of “Mercy” and the monastery of “Saints Cosmas and Damians”, also “extra moenia”; The churches of “Santa Venera” and “San Nicola” within the locality. The documented history of Castelbuono begins in the Aragonese period, early decades of the 16th century. XIV, when, in continuity of time and place, the country takes over the Ypsigro farmhouse, by the will of Count Francesco I Ventimiglia, to whom the castle is to be built. It is thus integrated into the county, and then in the Marchesato and Principato, always dominated by the Lords Ventimiglia. But in the sec. XVI is awarded the title “Capital of the State of Ventimiglia”, formed by over twenty lands and many “feuds”.
The Ventimiglia, coming from the Ventimiglia Liguria County in the sec. XIII, they prevailed in the history of Sicily, covering important posts: Plenipotentiary Ministers, Viceroys, Presidents of the Kingdom, Admirals, Governors; Were “familiar” to Sovereigns and patrons of poets and scientists such as Torquato Tasso and Francesco Maurolico.
In 1595, by King Philip II of Spain, Castelbuono was elevated to Principality; In 1632 it gained the privilege of being able to enjoy the title of City.
It becomes a center of humanistic culture, which has been handed over for centuries through the Literary Academies, the Theater, Poetry, Science, and Religion, in which branches emerge from the height of Vincenzo Errante sec. XVI, Baldassare Abruzzo sec. XVII, Leonardo Piraino sec. XVIII, Francesco Minà Palumbo, Father Gaetano Tumminello, Francesco Guerrieri Failla and Nicasio Mogavero in the 16th century. XIX. It was the seat of Religious Orders: Conventional Minors, Dominicans, Augustinians, Minor Observant, Benedictine, Capuchin, the only order that came back after the suppression of 1866 and continues to be intense. There are also two female Orders, the “daughters of the Cross” and the “Collegio di Maria”.
Castelbuono is present in the history of the Risorgimento and of Unification of Italy, after having repeatedly rebelled against Baroness surprise. To “One thousand” are aggregated young castelbuonesi; On April 14, 1860, the “Tricolore” was hoisted on the bell tower of Sant’Anonio Abate, and on May 12, 1860 on the bell tower of Saint Anthony Martyr. It adheres to the social uprising of the “Fasci Siciliani” of 1893. XX records everywhere the intervention of Castelbuono, who is honored to have, in particular, given heroes for the patronage of the country and political men of honor in the national and Sicilian Parliament.
The Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, dedicated to SS. Virgin, is the most famous among the Marian Shrines of Sicily and has always been the point of religious and social gravitation of the Madonie. It is located in the territory of Cefalù, which is just over 14 km. It rises on the western side of Pizzo S. Angelo, at 850 m above sea level, and is immersed in a wooded area, between chestnut and oak trees.
The foundation date is still uncertain, but tradition requires that Gibilmanna be one of the six monasteries built in Sicily at his own expense by Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) before being elected a pontiff (590 AD). It was at the beginning a monastery of Benedictines, which promised the worship of Our Lady. Abandoned by the Benedictines, probably in the 9th century during the invasion of the Saracens, the monastery fell into ruins, except for the Church that remained in discrete conditions thanks to the devotion of devotees and continued to be a place of devotion.
In the twelfth century, the Saracens were expelled by Count Ruggero the Norman and the monastic institutions resumed. From the beginning of the Benedictines until the arrival of the Friars Minor Cappuccini, the Church was guarded by various hermits, the last one of which, Giuliano da Placia da Misilmeri, came into the nascent order of the Capuchins. On the Easter day of 1534, during a sea storm, a boat carrying a statue depicting a Madonna with the Child found shelter in the medieval hamlet of Roccella Castle. It seems that the Madonna, dreaming of a Capuchin friar living in Gibilmanna, invited him to go to take one of the statues he had approached, namely that wrapped in a woolen blanket, to take her to their Church. The statue was loaded on a horse-drawn chariot, which was released, after days of travel, definitively stopped in the promontory overlooking Cefalù, where the present Sanctuary of Mary SS will rise. Of Gibilmanna. In the two places where the oxen made a momentary stop, there were edicts of votive burials representing the wagon stop. In 1535 Padre Sebastiano Di Majo from Gratteri, already the Minor Observant, settled in Gibilmanna, thus obtaining the faculty to re-establish the Church and the convent. A first convent building was built next to the old Benedictine chapel, with only six small, roughly constructed cells. In 1576 Fr. Sebastian during the celebration of the Holy Mass, in the ancient Church, had the appearance of Jesus Ecce Homo, who invited him to paint him as he saw it. Fr. Sebastian, painting the colors of the planted plants in the territory, painted a beautiful picture, currently exposed in the Shrine. Father Sebastiano Di Majo, was the founder of the Capuchin community of the Franciscan Order of the Shrine of Gibbilmanna.
The name “Gibilmanna”, which appears to be of Arab origin, derives from the expressions “Gebel-El-Man” and “Gibel-El-Mann”, in which the term “gebel / gibel” means “mount”, while the second term is Was interpreted as “ban” or “manna”. Thus the “Mount of Prohibition” could refer to the dense vegetation that prevented the passage or forbiddance of pilgrimages to the Christian sanctuary by Arab conquerors, “Mount of Manna” refers instead to the presence of producers of a viscous substance called “manna” , And hence “Mount of grace” or “of divine gift”, referring precisely to the presence of the sanctuary. Finally, a final interpretation indicates the meaning of “Mount of Faith”.
Founded in 649 BC Was one of the most flourishing Greek cities in Sicily and was, with Selinunte, the most advanced Greek center to the west. Today, fragments of columns and the lower part of the Vittoria temple cell can be recognized as well as the remains of some neighborhoods.
For some years, the Institute of Archeology at the University of Palermo has been excavating excavations, with the intention of creating a field research effort, alongside the teaching of ex-archaeology. In the antiquarium are collected and exposed the archaeological finds of the area.