Today we want to talk to you about Gangi, a town in the province of Palermo. It is not, however, a simple village in the mountains. No. Gangi was awarded as Borgo dei borghi 2014 (that is the most beautiful village) and named Jewel of Italy.
We visited this medieval village last September. We were in those areas, because a few days earlier we had the joy of seeing our dear friends, Emanuela and Luigi, getting married in Polizzi Generosa. So we thought it was a good idea to visit the surroundings, including Cefalù and Castelbuono, of which we will talk about soon.
Gangi, a fantastic discovery
Gangi was on the way home. We already knew it from the stories of a couple of family friends. They live in Syracuse, but they originate from Gangi and have invited us to pass by it so many times..! Why not?!
They welcomed us upon our arrival. Fresh air, mountain scent, boundless, green hills beyond which we could also admire the majestic Etna, ancient walls, suggestive alleys… It is practically impossible not falling in love with Gangi, especially if your guides were born in this village.
Among other things, that day Vivere in Assisi was in progress, but we did not know it. We found ourselves in the right place at the right time 🙂
Vivere in Assisi
It is a medieval itinerant event, considered one of the most beautiful historical events in Sicily. Vivere in Assisi is held every two years in the last days of September and retraces the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Art, music, cobbled lanes, and you find yourself catapulted into the thirteenth century. We have experienced moments of intense emotion.
It is just one of the many events organized in Gangi. Here are a few: the Carnival, the feast of San Giuseppe and the Spiga Festival.
The Chiesa Madre in Gangi
Keeping on walking through the narrow streets, we arrived at the town square, where the Chiesa Madre dedicated to San Nicolò di Bari stands. We went in.
You can admire various works of art, such as the well-known canvas depicting the Last Judgment of Giuseppe Salerno, known as the Gangi lame. However, what completely catches the eye is the crypt of the dead priests, nicknamed ‘a fossa di parrini.
The crypt of the dead priests
Not a place for those who are remarkably impressionable… We temporized before deciding to start the tour…
The mummies are covered with priestly vestments and are inside niches. Above each of them, there is a plaque showing the name, the date of death, and a sonnet. The sonnet summarizes the work of the priest while he was alive.
For further information, we invite you to read the article published in the Mysteries section.
The nativity scene of the village
Once back on the surface, our exceptional guides led us to the Torre dei Ventimiglia, a construction dating back to 1337. It was a feudal tower, but since 1560 it is the bell tower of the Chiesa Madre. The bell tower has got three levels; on the first level, you always find a nativity scene. It was inaugurated on December 26, 2017, and was realized by the artists Jaemy Callari and Roberta Fontana, who used 24 cm tall figures, as required by the ancient Sicilian tradition.
The nativity scene represents streets, squares, monuments, and well-known people of Gangi, but you also see a scribe, a carpenter, a boyfriend who sings the serenade to his girlfriend, an aged man who sleeps in his room (you can hear him breathe!) and much more.
Our trip to Gangi ends here. We look forward to reading about your experience in this astonishing village.
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