Motta Sant’Anastasia and its Neck

MircoMannino/ 20 Luglio, 2019/ Motta Sant'Anastasia, Province of Catania/ 0 comments

My friends of In Viaggio con Te, today I show you a small town in the province of Catania, located on the southern slope of Etna 🙂
I speak about Motta Sant’Anastasia, a town of 12 thousand inhabitants whose characteristic is unique in all of Italy. It stands on a lava Neck. What is a lava Neck? Summarizing, the fortress on which the municipality of Motta Sant’Anastasia rises, was originally an eruptive cone produced by Etna in the Ice Age, around 500 thousand years ago. The magmatic material contained in the chimney solidified over time, preventing it from escaping from the cone. Parallel to this, the atmospheric agents gave rise to a progressive process of erosion of the external eruptive cone, thus causing the solidified magmatic material contained within to emerge over the millennia. The Neck, in fact, 65 meters high and made up of prismatic columnar basalts with a pentagonal or hexagonal section.

Detail of columnar basalts

Here is the characteristic that makes Motta Sant’Anastasia unique: the only city in Italy to rise on a lava Neck! 🙂

Neck, detail

Neck, detail

The only other example of Neck lava in Italy is given by the islet of Strombolicchio, not very far from Stromboli, in the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands (but in the world there are several).

Neck, profile

Houses on the Neck

There are no clear ideas about the origin of the name Motta Sant’Anastasia. The word “Motta” is associated with an elevated place from which control the surrounding area well. In fact, with the Norman occupation, Ruggero D’Altavilla decided to build a tower on this cliff to better control his possessions and the area of ​​the plain of Catania. The same fate was for the nearby cities of Paternò and Adrano, where there are two castles, built under the Norman invasion.

Motta Sant’Anastasia, view on the Neck and on the city

The word “Anastasia”, on the other hand, has Byzantine origins and is to be associated with the patron saint of the city: Sant’Anastasia. We will note that in Sicily there are several “Motta”, such as Motta d’Affermo or Motta Camastra 🙂 Interesting curiosity is that in 1300 this castle passed into the ownership of Enrico Rosso di Aidone, the same person who attributed his surname to the city of Monterosso Almo, changing its name 🙂 So dear readers, now that you have discovered this pretty town, go there if you can, because it really deserves to be seen if you are passing through here! 🙂



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