Just below the top of Mount Castro is Nebrodi , an ancient village overlooks the sea and the Aeolian Islands…
San Marco d’ Alunzio was built under the Greek Domination in the fourth century BC. It is known from ancient times as Alontion. There are twenty-two churches, as well as other cultural centers, in the historical center.
The ruins of the San Marco Castle are located in the upper portion of the village. They were built on top of an existing castle by Roberto il Guiscardo, 1061.
In the lower portion of the village is the Church of St. Marco Evangelista. It was built on an existing structure: the Temple of Hercules. The Temple of Hercules is a Doric-style building that has a rectangular plan. Today, the only part visible is the cell within the church. The Church of San Teodoro is another artistic treasure. It was also known as Badia Piccola. It is connected to the Benedictine monastery and hosts the Byzantine–Norman Museum. We can find out and appreciate the history of this tiny Sicilian village over the centuries. Because of the Byzantine wealth, the Church of St. Teodoro has a truly stunning appearance. It is built on a Greek crossplan with an octagonal area and eight large columns. To protect the nuns from being seen, the entire environment is covered with a paved floor. We will find beautiful frescoes that depict the Madonna with her delicate hands. Unfortunately, the Madonna’s face is missing. In the lower portion of the building, the Four Doctors are depicting the separation of heaven and earth. Basil and St. Athanasius.
Let’s continue our exploration of San Marco d’ Alunzio’s center and find two more treasures. In the charming streets of the village we will find the Church of St. Giuseppe, which dates back to the 16th century, as an example of Baroque architecture. It is also home to the Museum of Sacred Art. You will find there the ecclesiastical heritage of the town, as well as works by local artists.
This village is one of the “most beautiful in Italy”. Every last Friday of February, the touching Feast of the Santissimocrocifisso di Aracoeli, complete with the Procession of the Babbaluti, is celebrated each year. It’s a unique feast that inaugurates all Easter Rituals in Sicily. It’s worth a visit if you are in the vicinity.
Let’s discuss gastronomy after art, tradition, and history. Or, to be more precise, country gastronomy.
The San Marco salame is an example of the high quality pork and traditional processing techniques that were passed down to the Norman settlers. We must not forget the homemade pasta and fried macaroni, as well as Sicilian sweets such pignolata and cannoli, and biscuits with milk & vermout.
You can enjoy delicious cheeses like tuma, pecorino, and ricotta as well as other dishes like latupitte (fritters), cured and seasoned meats, sauces and special dishes using the Nebrodi black porc.
Let’s now burn those calories by hiking on the Nebrodi mountain!