Things to do in Randazzo Sicily, medieval village at the slope of Etna.
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Things to do in Randazzo Sicily
u paisi di centu chiesi
The medieval village of Randazzo, located on the slopes of Etna, has ancient origins: the first human settlements date back to the 6th century BC. The city was for a long time, thanks to its location, gateway to Sicily. The village was also known as "the city of the 100 churches" many of which still exist. Moreover, the town stands in the middle of three protected areas: the Etna Park, a Unesco heritage; the Nebrodi Park, the largest protected area in Sicily and the Alcantara River Park, and it's 35 minutes away from the sea and the splendid city of Taormina. (Cover photo by Gaetano Scarpignato)
1th. The three Basiliche
i tri chiesi
If you are in Randazzo you can not miss the historic churches of the town. They represent the ancient districts of the city inhabited by Greeks, Latins and Lombards.
The Church of Santa Maria (Latin district) is the main Basilica. Dating back to the first half of the 1200s, it consists of lava and sandstone blocks. Legend tells that the origin of its foundation is the discovery of a lit flame and an image of the Madonna where the first altar was built.
The Church of San Martino (Lombard disctrict) is the church with the most beautiful bell tower in Sicily, 41 meters high, probably dates back to the year 1000.
The Church of San Nicolò (Greek district) dates back to the 13th century. In the homonymous square is located the statue representing the union of the three districts: "Rannazzu Vecchiu", it's a giant called Piracmone, that incorporates the symbols of the three districts: the lion, symbol of the Greeks, the snake, symbol of the Lombards, the eagle, symbol of the Latins. (Photo by Elia Priolo)
2th. The suggestive Via degli Archi
a via ri l'archi
Near the square of San Nicolò it is possible to walk in one of the most evocative streets of the town: Via degli Archi. Thanks to its cobbled of lava basalt, the pointed arches and the mullioned windows, it wins the first place among the most beautiful streets of the historical center.
Nearby you will find buildings such as Palazzo Russo and Palazzo Clarentano, minor churches, other pretty streets such as Via dei Lanza (near the Church of Santa Maria), the Castle "Carcere" (near the Church of San Martino) today an archaeological museum, and some of the doors of the ancient city walls. (Photo by Elia Priolo)
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The 6 best things to do in Randazzo
3th. The Cloister
The municipal building, once a convent of friars, became such after 1866. Particular attention deserves the internal cloister with a cistern in the center of the court and series of arches around it. In front of the entrance of the Palace you can admire a bronze statue that figure Peace, Love and Liberty, made by a sculptor born in Randazzo.
4th. Mount Etna Tours
imuninni a muntagna
Etna is known throughout the world for its countless eruptions, which represent a unique natural spectacle, but what makes this mountain a UNESCO heritage is its great biodiversity, and the great variety of landscapes. Woods, lava deserts, craters, caves make it one of the most visited parks in the world and where a lot of different activities are carried out like trekking, winter sports, quad bikes tour, mountain biking, horseback riding and much more. If you want some advice on what activities to do on Etna check out our suggestions about "The 6 Activities to do in Randazzo".
5th. Visit the Gurrida lake and Sciarone park
na camminata o lagu a gurrira e o sciaruni
If you love nature, Randazzo offers nice places for you too! You can decide to walk near the Gurrida lake situated near the village or in the green park of Sciarone.
Lake Gurrida is a fundamental stopping area for migratory birds. It is fed by the Flascio stream whose course was blocked by an eruption that formed this basin where Etna is mirrored.
You can see the volcano majestic Etna also along the paths of the Sciarone Park, the city's lung. It is located 1 km away from the town and extends between lava rocks, birch, chestnut and oaks trees. Inside you will find an area equipped with kitchenettes, seats, toilets, fountains and paths.
6th. The Easter celebrations
During the holy week you can not miss the solemn and heartfelt celebration that take place in the town. The most important for tradition and devotion is holy Friday procession when two simulacra, the crucified Christ and pained Maria , installed above two illuminated "varette", are carried on the shoulders by many devotees who wear a white habit and followed by the people. During the procession Christ and Mary are praised with dialectal formulas. The procession leaves around 8pm from the church of San Pietro to return after midnight.
7th. Participate at the "Vara" celebration on August 15th
o chinnici r'agustu
If you are in Randazzo in August, it would be good to partecipate at the folkloristic celebration of the "Vara". The "Vara" is a triumphal chariot about twenty meters high, made of iron and decorated wood. It represents the Assumption of Mary to heaven in the presence of angels and saints. You will be amazed by the fact that all the characters are impersonated by 30 children wearing characteristic garments, tied to supports that allow them to remain standing over the chariot. Attending the exit of the Vara is a unique spectacle. It is dragged with long ropes by the faithful throughout the historic center and accompanied by folk songs intoned by the children; as they pass, candy and sweets are thrown from the balconies. (Photo by Gaetano Scarpignato)
8th. Taste the delicious pistachio and Pirandello ice cream
i durci ro paisi
If you are greedy of ice cream, here you will find the best of Sicily! The Musumeci pastry ice cream is great. It is a must to try Pirandello ice cream, whose recipe sees the almond triumph (almond, lemon peel and almond crunchy), elected the best ice-cream according to the Sherbeth jury, the artisan ice-cream festival in Cefalù, in 2011.
Pistachio ice-cream is also worthy of note: when the pistachio from Bronte reaches the laboratories of this ice-cream parlor, a spectacular ice-cream is born!
9th. Taste the typical cuisine of Etna
mangiari e biviri
San Giorgio e il Drago Restaurant
St. George’s monastery contains a past rich of historical events. His fame depend by the character of Count Ruggero who, directed towards Taormina to conquer it, found hospitality in the monastery. The welcome was appreciated by him and, for this reason, he decided to leave in custody at the nuns a picture of the saint he was devoted to: St. George. When he back, Count Roger went to take it back, but no one could detached it from the wall. For this reason the Count decided that the picture remain in the monastery, and since them it tooks the name of San Giorgio. Unfortunately, today it is not possible to visit it inside, but you can eat in front of its beautiful view in a typical restaurant called "San Giorgio e il Drago" where you can taste the excellent local cuisine.
Etna Quota Mille Agritourism
Unlike with the first restaurant reccomanded, located in the historic center of Randazzo, this rural tourism is situated along the famous Mareneve state road at 5 minutes far from the town. It is an old farmhouse, the center of the peasant life on nineteenth century, immersed in a typical "Sciara" (an old lava flow) of Etna. From its terraces you can enjoy amazing panoramic views of Mount Etna and the Nebrodi park. Here the cuisine is typical too, but with a touch of modernity. You will find a rich menù with many culinary proposals that use products of the area. Beautiful the room restaurant, inside an ancient "Palmento" (old place where squeezed the grapes) restored masterfully.
10th. Etna Wine Tour
u vinu ri l'Etna
Randazzo is also called the city of wine. There are many wineries that you can find in the neighboring areas of the town, and many wine shops along the main course (Corso Umberto), where you can taste excellent wines and Etna wine.
The Etna wine was the first Sicilian wine to obtain, in 1968, the recognition of the Denomination of Controlled Origin and is the fruit of one of the oldest winemaking tradition in the world. Randazzo is also part of the Etna wine roads circuit and is part of the Etna Wine Train, a route on the circumetnea railroad tracks that will take you to discover the most famous wineries in the area.
Where is Randazzo
Randazzo is a town of 10k citizens, located between three protected areas