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Tuesday 10
May 2022

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Adrano -

Etna-Nicolosi

(Rifugio Sapienza)

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ADRANO

Overview

Adrano is a Sicilian municipality of the metropolitan city of Catania, located in the southwestern part of the Etna volcano and 560 meters above sea level.

It is said that Adrano was born from the foundations of a small citadel founded by the Sicilians in the Mendolito district, of which today only the walls, some houses and a necropolis remain. However, the origins of the city are traced back to the Hellenistic period, in 400 BC, and can be attributed to Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse, who baptized the city under the name of “Adranon” in honor of the Sicilian god of war Adranos.

Over the years the name of the city changed, starting from the Norman era when the toponym Adernò began to be used, until – in 1929 – the name Adrano was introduced, which evoked the origins of the original Greek polis.

Over the years Adrano came into contact with different populations: Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Angevins and Aragonese, who dominated the city, influencing its customs and habits and leaving behind an evocative cultural, artistic and folkloristic heritage.

The town is known for its sacred buildings, monuments and various public works carried out in the Modern era, during the domination of the Viceroys and the Bourbons, for the improvement of living conditions.

Food

Natural source of goodness and health, Etna’s Prickly Pear DOP is avaiable in three different varieties: the Sulfarina, the Sanguigna and the the Muscaredda. It is full of water and sugars such as glucose and fructose, is high in fiber and vitamins C, A, B, and it is also a valuable source of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Some of its healthy qualities relate to diuresis facilitation, improvement of kidney function, and lowering of cholesterol level, it’s also used for the treatment of diabetes and obesity. In addition, the pulp contains the indicaxantina and betanine, molecules able to counteract the oxidative processes and consequently the cellular aging.

The blood orange strengthens the body’s immune system and helps prevent cardiovascular illness and anemia. It reduces the damaging effects of nicotine from smokers and protects the mucous gastric and blood vases. It is one of the most effective antioxidants and is efficient in the prevention of tumours.

Etna’s Cherry PDO is a true “healthy fruit “able to deliver significant benefits to maintaining the health and welfare of our body. It is rich in beneficial substances such as anthocyanins and flavonoids able to improve the health of the coronary arteries, to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other effects concerns the improvement of microcirculation and an increase of the capillary resistance, that help to prevent various diseases such cystitis, degenerative processes in the brain, and, as recently demonstrated, some of biological processes that determine the formation of tumors. The consumption of these delicious and healthy fruits, is a true gift to the palate and health.

Wines & Beverage

The agricultural land belonging to the company called “Saraceno” is located on the southern slope of the Etna park, at the foot of Monte Turchio at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level.

The vines of the fund are 75% of Nerello Mascalese, followed by white grapes such as: Carricante, Catarratto and Inzolia. All the vines are indigenous to the Etna area of ​​Catania.

The “Saraceno” company believes that to obtain an excellent wine it is necessary to scrupulously follow the harvesting and cellar work respecting the ancient traditions handed down from previous generations, this has allowed producers to obtain an excellent Etna red wine with exceptional gradations, pleasant and fragrant tastes, qualities achieved thanks to the highly fertile volcanic soil rich in minerals.

Among the wines that the company recommends tasting are: the “Saraceno Rosso del Monte Turchio”, the “Saraceno Rosso dell’Etna” and the flavored red wine “Grotta del Santo”.

 

Points of Interest

The various monuments of which it is rich are evidence of past eras, among these the Norman Castle – part of the large defensive system erected in favor of the Simeto valley and Catania – and the Ponte dei Saraceni, one of the most beautiful and historically interesting of the Sicilian Middle Ages.

Among the sacred buildings that preserve the religious character of Adrano there is, first of all, the Monastery of Santa Lucia, built by the will of Countess Adelasia of Adernò on a pre-existing building structure. The Monastery houses various works of great historical and artistic interest; equally majestic is the town Mother Church, built in the Norman period, known for its Baroque style facade and for the elegant interiors rebuilt following a violent earthquake that damaged the structure.

Another important historical and cultural site is the “Saro Franco” Regional Museum, housed inside the Norman Castle, where you can find a library and a historical-artistic archive.

The flagship of this priceless heritage is the Bellini Theater, a structure dedicated to the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini, and which over the years has been the setting for important theatrical and cinematographic performances, including the well-known film with Marcello Mastroianni entitled “Divorzio all’Italiana” of 1961.

Also noteworthy for their beauty are: the Garden of Victory, considered the “living room” of the Adraniti, whose origins date back to 1800, the Dionysian Walls, the Torre Minà, the Solicchiata Castle, the “Grotta dell’Aspicuddo” , where the patron saint Nicolò Politi retired in penance and the Fontana Dei Mille, from which, it is said, Garibaldi’s troops passed.

The cultural repertoire of the city of Adrano also includes important events and manifestations, including: the Easter rites, whose culminating events are ” I Diavulazzi di Pasqua ” and ” L’Angelicata ”, works taken from the religious drama eighteenth century by the poet Don Anselmo Laudani. The eternal struggle between good and evil, narrated by the two shows, ends with the triumph of life and the moving encounter between the simulacrum of the Risen Christ and the Madonna, in the presence of the Archangel Gabriel. Another very important religious representation is the ” Volata dell’angelo ”, which takes place on August 3, on the occasion of the feast of the patron saint of the city, Nicolò Politi.

ETNA-NICOLOSI (Rif. Sapienza)

Touristic Information

Nicolosi, a town on the slopes of Etna, was built around the twelfth century by those who lived in the areas surrounding the monastery of S. Nicolò La Rena, now the seat of the Etna Park Authority. It has been rebuilt several times. We remember the terrible eruption of 1669, which originated the Monti Rossi, reaching the city of Catania and the sea and the subsequent lava flows of 1776 and 1886. Despite the damage caused by the numerous lava flows and earthquakes, the city was able to be reborn and to offer visitors the extraordinary natural beauties and modern services, hotel facilities, typical restaurants and becoming a source of pride in the Etna area, so much so that it deserves the nickname of “Porta dell’Etna”. The healthy and temperate climate even in summer and the luxuriant pines make your stay enchanting. Nicolosi hosts events and events throughout the year that attract crowds of visitors. A pleasant holiday resort, the town has linked its name to tourism and excursions to Mount Etna. Today it is a town that, thanks to the will and initiative of its administrators and its inhabitants, represents a driving force for tourism in the Etna area.

Gastronomy

Nicolosi stands out in the Etnea area for a typical bread made with rye semolina: the black bread of Immanu which during famines, due to the rustic nature of the species, still managed to feed the population. Probably the first seeds were introduced from Germany by the Benedictine monks themselves who around the fourteenth century had founded the monastery of S. Nicolò. The traditional Nicolosita gastronomy draws its origins from the peasant culture and is based on “poor”, simple and genuine dishes based on local agriculture. Among the first courses, therefore, the pasta with legumes (pasta cch’i cicira, pasta with chickpeas, for the feast of San Giuseppe), with wild fennel, broccoli (vrocculi affucati), cauliflower, asparagus wild. Among the latter we mention the “aggrassato” veal (cooked slowly with onion and wine), ‘u fassumauru (meat rollé), roasted lamb and sweet and sour wild rabbits. Obviously, dishes based on mushrooms found in the woods surrounding the town are prepared. Typical almond and pistachio desserts, nougat and soft nougats, copper (a biscuit with a soft cocoa heart, covered with a dark chocolate glaze, delicately spiced) and skiers (sweet “cca liffia”: a chocolate), the substantial biscuit preferred by hikers departing or returning from Etna. The fried raviole stuffed with ricotta, cassatele, prickly pear mustazzoli, stuffed mustazzoli are linked to the Christmas tradition. Always typical of the Etna villages ù ciciliu or “cuddura” (probably from the ancient Greek κολλύρα (kollura) which means crown and originally emphasized the shape of toasted bread), linked to the Easter festival. In ancient times it was given to children as a sign of the risen Christ. In addition to traditional foods, Nicolosi boasts a huge variety of pizzerias and restaurants where you can enjoy excellent pizzas, and many varieties of fish and meat dishes, sushi, Mexican foods etc. etc. all accompanied by the excellent wines of Etna.

Main sights

Church of the Holy Spirit 

Located in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele in Nicolosi, it is the largest church in the country. Rebuilt on the same site to a design by Vaccarini between 1730 and 1750 after the earthquake of 1693, it has an imposing volume, a vertical momentum and more valuable materials than the previous construction. The bell tower stands next to the church in full architectural autonomy, adorned with two imposing cornices and a double base in lava stone. Inside the building you can see a small section of ancient floor dating back to 1669, a magnificent wooden crucifix and a painting of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Sorrows by unknown authors; to these are added a valuable organ attributed to Cinquemani, a wooden choir of the seventeenth century, an oil painting by Michele Rapisardi depicting Sant’Antonio da Padova, frescoes by the Baron, ceiling and dome paintings by Conti-Consoli, plaster high-reliefs by Tower placed on the altar (the last supper, Sant’Antonio da Padova and the donkey).

Museum of ceramic coated lava stone

The first information on the ceramicization of lava stone dates back to the first half of the nineteenth century by Filippo Severati. The technique was taken up and developed by the master Barbaro Messina, a multifaceted artist, from the second half of the 1960s. With his research, Messina has revolutionized the world of majolica lava stone using it, not only for vases, plates, small tools; but also as a support for design objects and works of art. The extraordinary qualities of this material, namely durability, indestructibility and resistance to thermal shocks, offer various possibilities of use; in addition, following the ceramization process, this type of stone does not stain, does not retain grease, repels limestone and is easy to maintain. The creativity of the master Messina and the ability to translate the image of the Etna area into shapes determine the success of his artisanal and artistic production and the recognition as a living human treasure by Unesco. At the end of the nineties, thanks to the bond created between the master Messina and the Municipality of Nicolosi, which has always been a privileged place for the extraction and processing of lava stone, the School Museum of Ceramics on Etna Lava Stone was inaugurated in the artisan area of the Municipality.

House-Museum of peasant civilization

Located in via Garibaldi is an ancient millstone where there is a museum dedicated to the arts, aids and customs of the inhabitants belonging to the local peasant civilization. In this place it is possible to admire some artifacts relating to the pressing of grapes such as a tank, a press and some vats. Continuing on the ground floor there is a stable with food and barn where a “cart” and other objects relating to work in the fields are exhibited. The other rooms make up the “ispenza”, or pantry, where you can admire containers of wine, oil, wheat and some furnishings. The kitchen corner has storage rooms for wood and coal and an oven equipped with bread-making tools. The reception is located on the same floor, enriched by several display cases containing small finds relating to the peasant and pastoral civilization and tools of the artisan workshops of the time. Upstairs there is a small room for toilets and two bedrooms in which, in addition to the furnishings, a wooden weaving loom, a sewing machine, an ancient cradle and various religious and popular objects are also exhibited.

The Palmento Montesanto

Where the tools and objects typical of the rural life of the inhabitants of the foothills are exhibited, is accessible from inside the “Giuseppe Anselmi” Municipal Park and was donated to the Municipality of Nicolosi by the Montesanto family. Il Palmento, in the “Greek” style, dates back to 1881 and has recently been structured. On the occasion of the Summer of San Martino, the preparation of the must is revived in the millstone, carried out by the “pistaturi” who, with the costumes of the time, retrace the ancient tradition of grape pressing.

Offices of the Etna Park: 

The Etna Park, headquartered in Nicolosi, was established on March 17, 1987 and is the first naturalistic body in Sicily. With its 59,000 hectares, it has the primary task of protecting a unique natural environment and the extraordinary landscape that surrounds the highest active volcano in Europe. The territory has been divided into four areas which correspond to different levels of protection as established by the legislator. In the “Integral Reserve” area (zone A) nature is preserved in its entirety by limiting human intervention to a minimum; the “General Reserve” area (zone B) is characterized by plots of land where there are peasant houses that recall the old rural architecture. Finally, the “Protection and controlled development” area (zones C and D) is significantly man-made in respect of the landscape and the environment. At the center of the ecosystem of the Park is Mount Etna, a World Heritage Site, with its lithological border of 250 km, the height of about 3,350 m a.s.l. and an area of approximately 1,260 km². The Park includes 20 municipalities in the province of Catania: Adrano, Belpasso, Biancavilla, Bronte, Castiglione di Sicilia, Giarre, Linguaglossa, Maletto, Mascali, Milo, Nicolosi, Pedara, Piedimonte Etneo, Ragalna, Randazzo, Santa Maria di Licodia, Sant ‘Alfio, Trecastagni, Viagrande, Zafferana Etnea; all of these municipalities have a population of about two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants.

Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza

Located at an altitude of 1,910 meters above sea level on the southern slope of Etna, in the territory of the municipality of Nicolosi (CT). It is in fact the base of the Etna Sud ski resort, located at the end of the road that goes up the south-east side of Etna from Catania with the ski lifts that branch off alongside it with the Etna cableway.

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