Lexicon of Sicily, from Caltanissetta to Cefalú

Sicilian encyclopedia for travel and knowledge

Caltanissetta - Province of Caltanissetta is a city located on the western interior of Sicily, capital of the province of Caltanissetta. It lies in an area of rolling hills with small villages and towns, crossed by the river Salso. Caltanissetta is the hub of public transport in the area. Road map from Caltanissetta

Calascibetta - Provincia di Enna. The town rises on a plateau in the Monti Erei, 7 km from Enna, in the heart of Sicily and still preserves its medieval layout of alleys and courtyards, dominated by the ancient church of San Pietro and Santa Maria Assunta.

Caltabellotta - Provincia di Agrigento is a hilltop village, reached by bus from Sciacca which is itself a bus ride from Agrigento. If you have to wait in Sciacca, it's pleasant to walk up to the top of the unspoilt town. The ride to Caltabellotta is delightful, taking you by a winding road further and further up. The village itself only reveals its real delights when you reach the top. Early in the year, if you go through the road tunnel to the other side of the mountain, it is like going to a place with a different climate - colder and far more windy. Do it though or you will miss a terrific view.

Caltagirone - Province of Catania is a city in the province of Catania, Sicily, built on two eminences about 2000 feet above sea-level, connected by a bridge. It is supposed by some to be the ancient Hybla Minor, by others the ancient Gela. In the Middle Ages it became a Saracen stronghold. The first two syllables of its name are of Arabic origin (kalaat, castle). The Genoese tried unsuccessfully to expel the Arabs from Caltagirone, which later, however, with the rest of Sicily fell into the hands of the Normans. It belonged at one time to the Diocese of Syracuse, but when the latter was made the seat of a metropolitan, Caltagirone was erected into a suffragan See. The first bishop was Gaetano Maria Trigona, afterwards transferred to Palermo. The diocese contains a population of 115,500 with 25 parishes, 112 churches and chapels, 199 secular and 48 regular priests, 5 religious houses for men, and 5 for women.

Camarina is an ancient city of Sicily, situated on the south coast, about 17 miles South East of Gela (Terranova). It was founded by Syracuse in 599 B.C., but destroyed by the mother city in 552. The Geloans, however, founded it anew in 461 B.C. It seems to have been in general hostile to Syracuse, but, though an ally of Athens in 427, it gave some slight help to Syracuse in 415-413 B.C. It was destroyed by the Carthaginians in 405 B.C., restored by Timoleon in 339 B.C. after its abandonment by Dionysiuss order, but in 258 B.C. fell into the hands of the Romans. Its complete destruction dates from A.D. 853. The site of the ancient city is among rapidly shifting sandhills, and the lack of stone in the neighborhood has led to its buildings being used as a quarry even by the inhabitants of Terranova, so that nothing is now visible above ground but a small part of the wall of the temple of Athena and a few foundations of houses; portions of the city wall have been traced by excavation, and the necropolis has been carefully explored.

Canicattì - Provincia di Agrigento in the Italian region Sicily, located about 90 km southeast of Palermo and about 25 km east of Agrigento. The archaeological remains in the city and in the neighbourhood testify the presence of a settlement before the Roman age. The name of Canicattì is of Arabic origin, stemming from Handaq-attin, meaning "clay ditch". During the conqest of Sicily by the Normans, the local Muslim lord was besieged and defeated by baron Salvatore Palmeri (1087), a follower of Roger I of Sicily: the latter, as reward, offered him a sword and the lordship over the fief. Under the Palmieri rule the Arab fortress was enlarged, becoming a true castle with a tower.

Capo d’Orlando - Provincia di Messina, a charming little seaside resort, Capo d’Orlando sits on a promontory of the same name surrounded by sea. Its history is intertwined with the legend of its foundation at the time of the Trojan War by Agathyrsus, the son of Aeolus. The legend also relates how the ancient settlement of Agathyrnis came to be renamed Capo d’Orlando by Charlemagne, who passing through these lands on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, decided to call it after his heroic paladin. The coastal road continues beyond the cape, following the contours of the land and providing beautiful views of the beach and the deep blue sea, its surface broken here and there by rocks.

Carretto Siciliano. The Sicilian cart (or Carretto Siciliano in Italian and Carrettu Sicilianu in Sicilian) is an ornate, colorful style of donkey-drawn cart native to the island of Sicily, in Italy. The cart has two wheels and is primarily handmade out of wood. Carts are used for hauling light loads, such as produce, and also for festive occasions such as weddings and parades. The carts were introduced to the island by the ancient Greeks. Carts reached the height of their popularity in the 1920s, when many thousand were on the island. Miniature carts, or Carrettino Siciliano, are often sold in Sicily (or in Italian shops and restaurants in other countries) as souvenirs. The Museo del Carretto Siciliano, in Terrasini, in the province of Palermo, is a museum dedicated to the carts. The craft of making the carts is handed down from generation to generation, through the training of apprentices. Carts are known for being covered in carvings and brightly painted scenes from Sicilian history and folklore as well as intricate geometrical designs. These scenes also served the purpose of conveying historical information to those who were illiterate. The colors of Palermo's flag, yellow and red, feature prominently on the carts, along with details in bright blues and greens. The animals pulling the carts are often elaborately adorned as well. In modern-day Sicily, the tradition continues in small, three-wheeled motorized vehicles (called lapa). They are often painted in the traditional way.

Climate. It is decidedly Mediterranean, with hot summers and short and mild winters. The hours of the sunshine on average are 2500, againts the 2000 of mainland Italy - and the 1800 of northern France. The not very abundant precipitations are concentrated in winter months from October to March. The highest temperatures are in July and August - average 26 degrees Celsius - and the lowest from December to February - average 10-14 degrees Celsius. The water temperature varies from about 16 degrees Celsius in winter to 27 in summer. For a trip to Sicily, which is not limited to bathing purposes, we reccommend the spring and autumn months, in particular the periods from the middle of April to the middle of June and September-October. See also: The Weather in Sicily

Castelmola - Provincia di Messina in Sicily, Italy is a beautiful village perched almost precariously above Taormina. The lovely hamlet is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Castelmola, this village occupying a strategic position up behind Taormina, centres around the picturesque little Piazzetta del Duomo. In one of the bars in the main square we will have the chance to taste the famous “almond wine”.Warm friendly people and spectacular panoramas characterize the village. Castelmola offers a balcony over Taormina and the bay of Giardini Naxos and is framed by the mysterious and beautiful active volcano, Mount Etna. Its narrow winding streets and Olde world charm make Castelmola a destination for anyone wishing to experience the enchanting beauty of Sicily from one of its most spectacular villages.

Castellammare del Golfo - Provincia di Trapani is a town in the Trapani Province of Sicily. The name is roughly translated “Sea Fortress of the Gulf.” It is so named because of the medieval fortress in the harbor. The body of water it sits upon also takes its name from the fortress, Golfo di Castellammare. In the last fifteen years Castellammare becames a very well visited and nice touristic destination, appreceated by sportif people who likes watersports and boating, because of it's beautyful coastline. Charming restaurants and a creative night life makes the rest. In ancient times, Castellammare del Golfo had been the harbor of Segesta, one of the main towns of the Elymian people.
Fishing has been important in Castellammare del Golfo dating back to ancient times. Today the town’s economy continues to be based on fishing with the addition of tourism. The town is noted, however, for having been the birthplace of many American Mafia figures, including Salvatore Maranzano, Joseph Ristuccia, Michael Monte and Joseph Bonanno. Also Sylvester Stallone’s father Frank Stallone Sr. was originally from Castellammare del Golfo. From this name comes also the Castellamarese war, fought by Joe Masseria clan against Salvatore Maranzano clan for the leadership of the Italian Mafia in New York city.

Road map of Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily and hotel suggestions.

Catania - Provincia di Catania is the second largest city of Sicily and is the capital of the province which bears its name. With some 350,000 inhabitants (750,000 in the metropolitan area) it has the second highest population density on the island. The city's patron saint is Saint Agatha. Catania is located on the east coast of the island, half way between Messina and Siracusa and is at the foot of the active volcano Mount Etna. It was founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonizers from Chalcis in Euboea led by Euarchos. Initially called ??t?? (Aítne or Ætna), after the volcano, the city was later known as ?at??? (Katáne—see also List of traditional Greek place names). It was extensively destroyed by earthquakes in 1169 and 1693 and by lava flows which ran over and around it into the sea. The first Sicilian university was founded there in 1434.

Cefalù - Provincia di Palermo is an ancient city in the province of Palermo, located on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea about 75 km east from the provincial capital and 185 km west of Messina. The town is one of the major tourist attractions in the region. It has Roman baths, an ancient cathedral, marvellous beaches in the zone and is home to the sculptor Tommaso Geraci. Cefalù does not appear in history before 396 BC, and seems to have owed its importance mainly to its naturally strong position. The only ancient remains on the mountain are those of a small building in good polygonal work (a style of construction very rare in Sicily), consisting of a passage on each side of which a chamber opens. The doorways are of finely-cut stone, and of Greek type, and the date, though uncertain, cannot, from the careful jointing of the blocks, be very early. On the summit of the promontory are extensive remains of a Saracenic castle. The town's fortifications formerly extended to the shore, on the side where the modern town now is, in the form of two long walls protecting the port. There are remains of a wall of massive rectangular blocks of stone at the modern Porta Garibaldi on the south. The new town was founded at the foot of the mountain, by the shore, by Roger II of Sicily in 1131, and the cathedral was begun in the same year.