Things to do in Montalbano Elicona Sicily, a beautiful mountain village.
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Things to do in Montalbano Elicona Sicily
u paisi nde muntagni
Montalbano Elicona was defined by the Latins "Mons albus" or white mount. The village since 2015 in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is surmounted by a mount where stands the ancient castle, icon of the town. Driving along the Nebrodi mountains, you will enchanted by the fairytale images of pastures, woods and plateaus, all immersed in a medieval atmosphere that still permeates every single corner of the village.
1th. The mysterious megaliths of the Argimusco
u chianu ri pietri
The Argimusco plateau is one of the most magic and mysterious places of Sicily. The area is dominated by huge natural rocks that has taken on anthropomorphic and zoomorphic shapes. According to ancient stories, thousands years ago this place was chosen as a point to perform sacred rites and contemplate the vastness of the sky. From this point men discovered the alternation of the seasons, constellations and put the base to build a calendar. This place was an astronomic observatory through wich ancient men studying the sky.
2th. The Castle
The castle stands on a hill in the center of the village. It was built, as we see it today, around 1.300 at 900 meters of height, with defensive-military purposes, it was a project of Federico II to give at Sicily points of defense. The castle of Montalbano, in fact, dominated the entire valley. In over eight centuries of history, the castle has been home to Norman, Aragonese and Spanish rulers.
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3th. Walking along the village
na passiata nda chiazza
Montalbano Elicona is a medieval mountain town. Its streets and lanes have been built in a such way to adapt it at the shape of the rocky promontory on which it's located. A string of small sandstone houses piled one on the other, offers a scenario that captivates and seduces; all the houses and streets are built on an uphill that leads straight to the castle, at the base of which the entire village comes to life. In short, it is really impossible not to fall in love with it!
4th. Visit the Cathedral of Montalbano
It is the mother church of the village, dedicated to the patron of the town: San Nicola. Dating back to the 12th century, it was used for religious reasons only by Frederick II, the bell tower builded only later, in 1645. In the 1990s it was consecrated in honor of the Virgin of the Assumption (the current name of the church) and elevated to the title of minor Basilica by Pope Giovanni Paolo II. Inside be worth to take a look of the painting The Last Supper.
5th. Visit the "Tholos"
i casitti ri picurara
Driving through the countryside near to the village, you will see some small and simple buildings similar to igloos and characterized by the presence of dry stone walls, domes and niches. These circular buildings, once used by the shepherds, take the name of "tholos" (from the Greek "dome"), made up of an unique room with a dome. They have very ancient origin, probably they used as a funereal constructions.
6th. Take part at the “Insabbiata”
i festi ru paisi
One of the most recommended moments to visit this small and welcoming village, is during the religious event of the "Corpus Domini", that takes place every year on June. During this time is organized an event that has leading actor the sand. The floor of the streets, are set up with many decorations like paintings, made up without using colors ... just colored sand ... that's something very colorful!
7th. Trek into the reserve of Malabotta forest
na passiata ndo boscu
The Malabotta forest is a protected area located between the Nebrodi mountains near Montalbano, and includes the Argimusco megalithic site. The reserve is characterized by subtropical vegetation and the presence along the paths of ancient oaks called "The Patriarchs of the Forest". Crossing the reserve you will find many panoramic spots from which you will sight wide valleys that lead your gaze to the majesty of Etna. Perfect place for who love nature and outdoor activities, like hiking, birdwatching, trail running; its fauna and flora are a sample of Sicilian biodiversity that here reigns undisturbed.
8th. A touch of Romanticism at the Belvedere Portello
taliamuni u mari
Not just history and tradition; visiting Montalbano also means letting swept away by romanticism. The most fascinating point from which admire the village is the well-known Belvedere Portello; from here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the town and the sea (Tyrrhenian coast), with the Aeolian islands as a background.
9th. Taste typical products
mangiari e biviri
Among the many local products of the Messina area, it is recommended to taste the salami of the Nebrodi black pork, native of Sicily, or the excellent local cheese such as the Majorcan and the Provola dei Nebrodi, a caciocavallo produced with raw cow's milk and lamb rennet or kid. This is the sole chees to undergo the seasoning process and also famous for its dimensions that can reach five kilograms of weight. Furthermore, the Provola is often produced with animal figures and in this case is called "Cavalluzzo di Tumma".
Finally, directly from the source, it will be possible to quench your thirst with Fontalba water, a spring water of the Nebrodi mountains.
10th. Visit the Museum of music instruments and medieval weapons
Inside the Castle of Montalbano there are two halls used as a museum: one for weapons and the other for music. The reproduction of weapons and armor is very faithful and the collection of ancient musical instruments is very interesting. This is a moment to understand and learn the history of men lived in that place, between grace and gentleness, harshness and cruelty. Another point of interest in the town is the photographic museum. The Eugenio Belfiore Historical and Photographic Museum will allow you to discover and learn about the history of the village and the people living there; no source is more direct and eloquent than the photographic one, in recounting the uses and daily life of Montalbano. The images will show you panoramic views, customs, festivals and country fairs. In short, the life of Montalbano is entirely enclosed in these shots.