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Discovering Castelbuono

View of Castelbuono

As we promised you in the article on Gangi, here we are to tell you about our trip to Castelbuono.

Someone had already told us about this enchanting village. This time it is one of our former colleagues born in this place.

So, last September, since we were more or less in that area (if you have already read the article on Gangi, you know why we were there 🙂 ), we couldn’t resist the idea of ​​going to Castelbuono.

The road we have traveled is very winding, but the landscape around is worth all those uphill curves.

The fountain of Venus Ciprea

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday, and we had no problems finding parking in one of the characteristic alleys that lead to the city center. Once we reached the main street, crowded with tourists, we found ourselves in front of the suggestive fountain of Venus Ciprea, also known as “i quattru cannola” because of the four tubes from which the water flows. In the upper part, it is possible to admire the statue of Andromeda; in the center, there are Venus and Cupid who dry after swimming, and the legend of Diana and Actaeon is delineated below.

Fountain of Venus Ciprea, also known as "i quattru cannola"
Fountain of Venus Ciprea

The most famous brothers of Castelbuono

Walking through the streets of the historic center, we noticed a crowd in front of a shop. With great amazement, we had arrived at one of the most famous Sicilian pastry shops in the world, that of the Fiasconaro brothers.

Inside this pastry shop, which represents one of the last bastions of the Sicilian confectionery tradition, you can taste every typical delicacy of the place, from cannoli to cassatine, from nougat to jams and much more.

One of the most appreciated products of the Fiasconaro family is the famous panettone. Yes, panettone, a typical Christmas dessert from Northern Italy, more precisely from the city of Milan. The brothers have revisited the traditional recipe enriching it with the flavors and aromas of our land, especially of the Madonie, such as hazelnuts, citrus fruits, honey, etc.

The manna

And so, even if it was the last days of September, we had the chance to taste the famous panettone stuffed with delicious manna cream, the typical product of Castelbuono. It is the sweet liquid that, in the summertime, the growers extract from the bark of the ash trees and which they then let it clot in the sun. While we were at the shop, we have tasted both pure and cream manna. The first one does not have a particular taste, but the cream … Oh, the cream is delicious, so much so that we bought some jars as a souvenir.

Grower harvesting manna from the bark of an ash tree
Harvest of manna from an ash tree. Photo on Vita in Campagna

The Matrice Vecchia of Castelbuono

We kept on walking and reached the church of Maria Santissima Assunta, known as Matrice Vecchia. It has been restored several times over the centuries, which is why different styles mix in it: Roman-Gothic, Catalan Gothic, and composite-Chiaramontan. Inside the church, you can admire works of the Sicilian Renaissance, but also the crypt and its walls. On the walls are painted episodes of the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The Ventimiglia castle and Sant’Anna

One of the must-see destinations is certainly the Ventimiglia castle, the symbol of the city and home to the Civic Museum of Castelbuono.

The history of the Ventimiglia family and the castle is related to the cult for the patron saint of Castelbuono, Sant’Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary. In 1454 the Ventimiglias moved to Castelbuono and brought with them the Sacred Relic of the Skull of Sant’Anna. It is still inside the castle, in the Palatine Chapel decorated with stuccos of rare beauty.

The Palatine Chapel inside the Ventimiglia castle
The Palatine Chapel. Photo by iloveagrigento on Flickr

Another reason to visit the castle is the view that you can enjoy from its windows.

After the tour inside the castle, it was time for lunch, so we went looking for a place to eat. Almost immediately, we came across a very small delicatessen. The variety of sausages is incredible, and, after tasting, it becomes impossible not to buy something. Of course, we went away with less money in our wallet, but with a lot of food in our backpack!

And since we could not consider this a lunch, but an appetizer, we went back to the main street and sat down in one of the many restaurants. Here we filled our bellies with an excellent pasta alla Norma and an exquisite homemade pasta with mushrooms.

Satisfied with our, albeit brief, visit to Castelbuono, we headed to the car, but we want to return to see everything else.


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