The Park of Madonie has a small medieval village with a charming, well-preserved old town. It is located near a Byzantine hamlet, Ypsigro. It’s like walking through a fairytale world. You see beautiful women in intricate hairstyles and brocade clothing, and knights marching down the narrow streets. It’s not by accident that the historic parades take place at the Infiorata di Castelbuono, which takes place in the summertime.

Our journey begins at the charming Old Madrice. The church was built on the remains of a pagan temple in the 14th century. It is preceded in 16th-century by a Renaissance portico and enhanced by a portal in Catalan design. Originally, there were three naves in the interior. It was expanded to four by the end of 15th century. The main altar is dominated by a magnificent polyptych. It depicts Christ in majesty and saints. Some scholars attribute it to Antonello de Saba while others credit Peter Ruzzolone.

Other wonders to see include the Antonello Gagini marble statue of Our Lady of Angels and the fresco portraying the Marriage of Virgin, both dating back to the 15th century. The columns that divide the aisles are decorated with frescoes depicting saints. One of these frescoes is the one featuring St. Catherine of Alexandria. It stands out because of its elegance and delicateness. The entire crypt is frescoed (XVII sec. Featuring episodes about the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

Castelbuono, then, is a little enchanted jewel. There must also be a castle, just like in any fairy tale.

It was built upon an existing 12th-century watchtower by Francesco I Ventimiglia, the powerful Count Francesco I Ventimiglia. It was home to the Vicere, one of the most powerful families in Sicilian history.

These powerful counts rebelled against the Sicilian rulers and had their Palatine Chapel. It is still a valuable casket with beautiful stucco on its bottom made of pure gold leaves, decorated by the brothers Giuseppe (1684-87); behind it is the skull St. Anne, the patron saint in the village, which is kept in a fine silver reliquary bust from 1521.

The Civic Museum of Castelbuono is located today at the Castle of Ventimiglia. It has several sections including archeology, urbanism, Sacred Art, Modern Art, and Contemporary Art. It is a landmark for research, meetings, and experiments because of its rich collection of cultural activities and exhibitions.

Dott. Francesco Mina Palumbo

The Natural History Museum Francesco Mina Palumbo was created from the passion and dedication of a botany doctor who lived 800 and collected the botanical species of Madonie. He also recorded and classified them.

Another little wonder is the Church of St. Francis. It dates back to the fourth century and houses the annexed Ventimiglias Masoleum. This late medieval, octagonal building can be accessed through a Renaissance-style marble portal in lauranesco design.

You can find the oldest pipe organ in Italy along the nave towards the exit. It dates back to 1547 and still has all its original components. Hearing its sounds is like stepping into the past.

The New Madrice, a seventeenth-century church, houses a valuable cross with thistle leaves and was painted on the bottom in pure gold. It also contains the beautiful Lamentation of the dead Christby Joseph Velasco, and two stunning baroque altars featuring twisted columns by Giuseppe Serpotta.

The Fountain of Venus Ciprea, a fountain built in 1614, is located along the main street. It features Andromeda, Venus, and Cupid above. There are also four bas-reliefs that depict mythological scenes related the theme of love.

Let’s see if we can get in, just like in any kingdom. We climb a flight of stairs to reach the clock tower, where we can hear and see the time ticking through the device. It has been in operation since 1885 and its gears are constantly turning.

Castelbuono is also famous for its Manna, a whitish, sweet stalactite that hangs from the ashes. The sap of the trees is derived from incisions on the stems and branches. Once dried, the sap can be used for sweetening, laxatives, depuratives, cosmetical, and medicinal purposes. The important properties of manna are that it can be used to treat many diseases. A new group of young producers has begun to revive the culture.

The panettone is also very tasty. These christams cakes and the Easter Dove cake are now exported around the globe.

It would be wonderful to visit this place early in the morning to see the street cleaner donkeys. They are responsible for collecting the bags and cleaning up the country, even on the narrowest streets where cars cannot drive. The donkeys also carry culture, as they sometimes become press agents for advertising the Civic Museum events.

Castelbuono centro storico Ph. Turi Sicilia

Let’s finally relax in the sun, and take a seat at one of the cafes on the main square. It is a peaceful atmosphere that is alive with life, but it is also surrounded by a relaxed atmosphere.

Castelbuono is alive in the summer during the feast of Saint. Anne. The Key handing ceremony ends and the court of Ventimiglia continues to parade through the streets, particularly in August when, at the occasion of the Ypsigrock festival, is filled with young people who are excited about new sounds.

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