The village of Castiglione di Sicilia
Hello to all friends of In Journey with You! I want to talk to you in this article about the pretty village of Castiglione di Sicilia, located in the province of Catania, north of Etna, but practically on the border with the province of Messina and the municipality of Francavilla di Sicilia 🙂 Because of its incredible beauty it is has been included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy!
The village has very ancient origins, it is thought that this area had been inhabited by the Sicilians or Sicans. Subsequently it was invaded by the Greeks, after the foundation of Naxos of 734 BC. The village thus follows the history of the whole of Sicily: it was dominated by the Romans, the Arabs and the Normans, until it was part of the kingdom of Aragon. It was under the Aragonese domination that the village changed its name from Castel Leone to Castiglione di Sicilia.
Of particular interest is the Norman castle, which together with the Castelluccio were built to protect the city from an eventual incursion raid. They dominate the entire Valley of Alcantara.
As for the Castle, called the Great Castle to differentiate it from Castelluccio, it is thought to have already existed in the Byzantine era, then later it was subject to various modifications, until it was enlarged by the Normans around the year 1000, when the Arabs were expelled from Sicily.
Another point of considerable interest in Castiglione is U Cannizzu, a lookout tower located on the outskirts of the town in the Cittadella district, to defend the city together with the Castle and Castelluccio. A curious detail is that it is said that lightning split this tower in half, leaving an indelible mark on its structure. There are those who think that this is a legend, but whoever is the truth, the fact remains that the tower still has this gash that makes it characteristic.
Not too far from the village there is also the Byzantine Cuba, also called Church of Santa Domenica, a rigorously geometric structure, made of lava stone around the Roman and Arabic periods. Probably the largest Cuba in Sicily, its shape is curious, characterized by the union of different cubic forms except for the dome and the apse. From 1909 it was consecrated as a national monument.
Castiglione di Sicilia looks like a village of exquisite workmanship, which over the years has more or less maintained the original medieval structure. It is a pleasure to walk and get lost in the narrow streets of this village, especially around the sunset time, when the buildings take on a characteristic brick color in front of the setting sun.
As soon as you arrive in the town, Castiglione welcomes the traveler by showing a valuable view of the entire Valley of Alcantara, crossed by the river of the same name that gives life in these territories to the Gurne and, a little further on, to the respective Gorges.
The origin of the name Alcantara is also curious: Al – Qantarah is an Arabic word that means arched bridge, evidently designating a bridge that crossed the river, which was later associated with this word.
… To you
Video, subtitled in English: