Montalbano Elicona

Before I get into Montalbano Elicona , (Messina), let me explain its name. Two possible explanations are available. The first explanation is that the name derives from mountain “Albanus”,. This means white, possibly because the village is more than 900m above sea level. The second school of thought says that the name is “albana”, meaning “excellent place” in Arabic. Montalbano Elicona really is an exceptional place. It starts at the castle which is located on top of the village. The castle can be reached through the narrow streets of the old city.

Let’s begin at the Castle. This fortress overlooks the city centre was built during the Swabian-Aragonese period. It underwent many changes throughout the centuries until Frederick II, Aragon made the residence a true royal residence. The property is full of treasures and outdoor decorations. The Royal Chapel dates back to the Byzantine Period. There are two museums: one devoted to white weapons and the other displaying musical instruments from Middle Ages. You can feel the atmosphere of ancient courts. It is worth stopping at the Church St. Catherine along the medieval streets that lead to the castle. The unique mix of styles in the church, which includes elements from Catalan architecture and decorative ones in Renaissance style, contrasts its Romanesque façade. We should pay particular attention to the marble statue St. Catherine that is attributed to Gagini.

The Cathedral is a majestic building that overlooks the square via a spectacular staircase.

We can see inside the marble statue St. Nicholas by Giacomo Gani with its embossed base, which shows the life and times of the Saint.

, a wooden crucifix from the 15th century, and a representation the Last Supper by Guido Reni are also among the most important works. Although the original structure of the cathedral dates back at least to the ninth century, the church has seen many changes in its design and construction. For example, the bell tower is from a later time. Also, the division of the church into sections is not an original part of the original structure. Let’s concentrate on the stunning rooftrusses and rose windows as well as the friezes which create a dynamic façade.

Let’s now try the village specialties, such as the fave U Maccu and maconi, fresh mozzarella, salt and “fired”, milk cheese, and the cavalluzzi DI tumma. Let’s try some simple dishes like wild fennel, curcilla, pasta, and pork rind.

Ricotta-based desserts are delicious. Let’s also try homemade desserts with hazelnuts. The cookies cu cminuare made with aniseed and have a strong and distinctive taste that is related to Easter celebrations.

Pasta ‘ncasciata is the August Bank Holiday’s most popular dish. It’s a pressed pasta made with veal, mutton, breadcrumbs, meatballs, eggs, and eggplants. Another popular dish is lempi (thunder-and-lightning), which is made with seasoned beans, grass, corn, and lentils. Traditional Frittui are also delicious: Pork boiled with pork liver, tripe, lung and heart of the same pork.

The Megaliths at Argimusco

The Argimuscoplateau, located near Montalbano and surrounded by the Bosco Malabotta, is a mysterious and magical place. With their unusual and suggestive shapes, the large, quartz-sandstone rocks are more than a thousand metres above sea level. Many believe this site is associated with the Stonehenge or ancient rituals related to astronomy. Some people believe that these megaliths are natural in their origins. Their curious, symbolic, and human forms could be due to wind erosion or other weather events. It doesn’t matter what, it is worth taking a stroll in this beautiful natural setting.

Learn more about Montalbano Elcona: A trip back in history to one of Italy’s most beautiful villages from Izi.TRAVEL Audiotour

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