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Calascibetta is a small, little-known medieval village, but really very nice and with archaeological finds of considerable importance. The name has Arab origins, but it was the Normans who sanctioned the birth of the village around the 11th century. The town is also visible from Enna, from there you have a fantastic view of it and the surrounding hills.

Calascibetta is 6 km from Enna, 39 km from Caltanissetta, 75 km from Catania and 111 km from Agrigento. It is located on the monti Erei, in an internal hilly area; on the watershed between the basins of the Simeto and Southern Imera rivers. It is located at 880 meters above sea level, as can be seen from the map of the I.G.M .. To the north-east, towards Leonforte is Lake Nicoletti, while to the west is Lake Morello.

Calascibetta was born in 1602 by the will of Count Ruggiero d’Altavilla, who built a fortified castle here that could be used as a defensive base thanks to its strategic position, but the origins of this village are very ancient. Calascibetta is in fact one of the main archaeological basins of Sicily because here the geomorphological and environmental conditions of the Xibetan territory have favored life in the caves and often, the succession of different populations, from the first lived three thousand years ago until the arrival of the Byzantines, even the diachronic reading of those who have lived there is difficult. In the territory of Calascibetta there is the Necropolis of Realmese, which has artificial cave tombs covering a period ranging from the ninth to the seventh century BC. The rocky settlement of Vallone Canalotto is also interesting.

The patron saint is San Pietro Apostolo, whose feast is celebrated on the first Sunday and Monday of August in the main Piazza Umberto I. It is a feast very much felt by xibetans (or calascibbittisi) and lasts three days. It is particularly experienced by the religious brotherhoods who, with considerable efforts, organize it together with the municipal administration. During the three days, the town comes alive with the sounds of bands, musical ensembles, various entertainments that enliven the days to culminate on Monday when the solemn procession of the patron saint's fercolo carried on the shoulders by the faithful of the Brotherhood concludes the event.

To see in Calascibetta there Royal Palatine Chapel, that is the Mother Church of Calascibetta, dedicated to Santa Maria Maggiore, built over the ruins of the Marco Castle by the Re Pietro II d’Aragona, completed in 1340 and, immediately after, in 1342 appointed by the same king, Royal Palatine Chapel.

First name
 

The name

Calat-Xibet is the union of two Arabic terms: the prefix qal'at, "castle", followed by xibet, "mountain", then "castle on the summit".

To be seen

Piazza Umberto I - Villa Co, unale and Church of Maria SS del Monte Carmelo

Along Piazza Umberto I, where an imposing marble fountain stands out with bronze statues, one of which is an allegory of the city of Calascibetta. The square adorned with plants, trees and shrubs, partly overlooks the Villa Comunale, where we can admire the Venus of Sicily by the sculptor G. Balderi: it is a stone statue of Comiso commissioned by the Municipality of Calascibetta on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of 'Unity of Italy. Also present is the tombstone of the architect Tabita from 1586, made in bas-relief on the particular local stone Petra di Cutu. The widening between Piazza Umberto I and Via Dante, now named after the Hon. Giuseppe D'Angelo, is dominated by church Maria SS. Of Mount Carmel. Inside, among the various works, theAnnunciation attributed to Antonello Gagini. The current Via Dante, the Town Hall, the parish house, the municipal villa and the church of SS. Trinità were originally part of the Carmelite monastery. The marble group of the "Annunciation" attributed to Antonello Gagini, transferred to the current church in 1771, remains of the ancient church of the fourteenth century. In the following centuries, the Congregation of Maria SS. Del Monte Carmelo, whose main purpose was the veneration of the “Chapel of Maria SS. Of Mount Carmel ". The so-called "chapters" regulated the associative life in every detail. The association engaged in acts of solidarity between the members, when public social protection was non-existent, guaranteeing support to farmers who often found themselves in difficulty. The association also gave birth to the establishment of the "wheat mountains" or "wheat column", resorting to this resource was called "succursu"(Rescue). The order of the Carmelites of Calascibetta was suppressed in 1659 and restored in 1665.On the central square stands the Church of Maria SS. del Carmelo, built in 1771 by the Carmelites, to which the Convent was connected. The church with a single nave preserves the marble group depicting the Annunciation by Gagini on the main altar.

Caves of via Carcere

This site is part of the circuit Walking in history. One of the seven itineraries of this path Rock relics on the Calascibetta trazzere invites you to visit some places in Calascibetta: Caves of Via Carcere, Necropolis of Realmese and Byzantine Village. The rock site of the Caves of Via Carcere it is excavated in the limestone and used in the medieval period as a city prison. It has caves at various levels, up to the third floor, clearly visible from the outside. The rock incorporates the magnificent fossil shells of Pliocene oysters. The rocky site of Calascibetta which includes over a thousand caves scattered in the upper part of the city and cleverly hidden by the modern buildings in front, was described by the famous German traveler J.W. Goethe in his “Journey to Italy” which thus reported: “Calascibetta is placed in an extremely panoramic position like an amphitheater on a cliff with holes in caves” and concluded by saying “but who could imagine enjoying this spectacle”.

Church of San Domenico

today the Orthodox Parish of St. John the Baptist adapted to the Orthodox cult has a wooden iconostasis, donated by the faithful. The holy water stoup on the left as you enter is of exquisite workmanship, it bears under the border in Latin a wording on the commission of the artifact by Antonio Lo Vecchio. In 1523, the Dominican friars lived in a convent outside the town, but it was so poor that the friars abandoned it. Recalled later in 1573, they erected another convent on the ruins of the Porta dell’Aquila, of which today the former monastery and the current church of San Domenico remain. The monastery, as it had very few income, was abandoned again in the year 1659. A sundial can still be seen along the facade of the ancient monastery in Via Conte Ruggero.

Piazza S. Pietro (medieval widening)

Next to the Fortress Church of San Pietro, the Norman Tower, built by Count Ruggero d’Altavilla to oppose the Arabs of Castrogiovanni who until 1091 (the year of the conquest of Castrogiovanni by the Normans) professed the Muslim faith.

Mother Church dedicated to St. Peter and Royal Palatine Chapel

The Church built by King Peter II of Aragon in 1340 is undoubtedly the most important monument of the city, the king himself elevated it to the Royal Palatine Chapel. It has a basilica plan with three naves, with particular architectural features and numerous bas-reliefs of Catalan-Aragonese art typical of the great Cathedrals of Sicily. On all the bas-reliefs the figure of Peter II of Aragon shown on the second base on the left and that of a small enigmatic triceps bas-relief, completely original, shown on the fourth right base, all made with cutu stone, stand out. In the left aisle, the chapel of the baptismal font is located, at the top of the old external wall remains surviving, an ancient window of the original facade replaced around 1750, because it was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1693. The priceless treasures of the Royal Palatine Chapel they are exhibited at the Diocesan Museum of Caltanissetta, and occupy a considerable exhibition area.

Convent of the Capuchin Friars

It was built in 1589 by the order of the Franciscan Friars Minor. The date can be admired on a step below the door. The Convent houses the most important canvas by the Florentine painter Filippo Paladini which was painted in 1610 and depicts the Adoration of the Magi. Inside there is an invaluable ancient archive on various manuscripts.

Necropolis of Realmese

It is the second Pantalican necropolis in Sicily dated IX - VI century. B.C.

The Directed Trazzera Calascibetta - Gangi crosses the area of the Realmese necropolis, within which you can still see a stretch of the ancient paving paved with "cutu”(Compact sandstone) and a section dug into the living rock.

The Directed Trazzera Calascibetta - Gangi, passes through the countryside of the Xibetan area, to reach the village of Cacchiamo, near the private chapel of St. Joseph, characterized by 18th century frescoes. and annexed to the villa-masseria which belonged to the baron Bongiorno di Gangi. The ancient artery continued along the current road known as the "Menta" and skirting Bordonaro and the ancient castle of King Giovanni a few kilometers from Cacchiamo it continues to Gangi, subsequently reaching the city of Cefalù on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The necropolis of Realmese from the 9th and 6th centuries B.C. is characterized by 288 cave tombs of the Pantalican type, we are in the protohistoric age (9th century BC), followed by a reuse in the Archaic period (6th century BC).

Characterized by 288 cave tombs of the Pantalican type, during the excavation campaign of this archaeological site, carried out in the years 1949-1950 under the guidance of Luigi Bernabò Brea, finds were found in terracotta and copper and from ceramics, flame knives, digital rings, earrings and fibulae, as well as miniaturized kits exhibited, together with a black and white blow-up of the site during the excavation work, in the Paolo Orsi Regional Museum in Syracuse.

Traces of the use of the site in the Byzantine era have been identified inside a chamber tomb from the Late Bronze Age. This burial has a quadrangular plan with a flat internal roof. Inside, on the right wall, there is a large niche, while on the left a bench has been carved into the rock, so it is believed that in the Byzantine age the tomb was used as a dwelling.

Byzantine Village - Canalotto

It is a rock settlement from the late Roman - Byzantine era. In the year 535, the Byzantine occupation began in Sicily with general Belisarius; his conquests also extended to the center of the island, thus changing the habits and customs of the local population. The Byzantine conquerors brought their formal and iconographic heritage of primitive Christianity to the island. During the Byzantine domination, the population of the current Calascibetta lived in small villages, in the countryside only a few kilometers away from the current town. Following the Arab conquest, the populations of the countryside gradually moved to the highest part of Calascibetta where we find the first Arab nucleus characterized by narrow and winding streets, such as the Vie Balata and S. Agata, occupying the cave dwellings of the first troglodyte inhabitants.

The Directed Trazzera Calascibetta - Alimena constitutes the natural continuation in a northerly direction of the Directed Trazzera Calascibetta - Palagonia, while the entire route was called Syracuse Thermai, the ancient artery passing through Calascibetta that led precisely to today's Termini Imerese.

Once again this very ancient accusation reveals a historical past rich in testimonies linked to the first centuries of Christianity. About half a kilometer from this important artery in the Canalotto district and just five minutes by car from the town of Calascibetta we find an entire rupestrian village that developed in the Byzantine era. The community could count on rock environments for civil and religious uses. The inhabitants had organized themselves to live with a certain autonomy; they had found a way to collect the water washed out on the rocks through incisions that sometimes become small gullies which convey the rainwater into containers dug into the rock, which in turn were divided into small basins for practical use.

The site probably dating back to the 6th century BC, is located on an aquifer and is the most complete site, it includes two two-storey rock churches and thirty caves also on different floors, used as dwellings, both later and recently, used as a shelter for animals. Above the door of one of these caves there is clearly a cross engraved on the rock as a testimony of their Christian faith. On the walls you can see the small showcases carved into the rock, which were used for the deposition of urns and cinerary vessels, since the cult of the dead still followed the ritual of the Roman Empire: the dead were cremated and the ashes collected in vases.

The village could also count on the water support of the stream that flows at the base, which flows into the Morello river that flows about seven kilometers away. In ancient civilizations, communities very often settled in places with water resources.

The inhabitants had found a way to collect the water washed out on the rocks through incisions that sometimes become small gullies which conveyed the rainwater into containers dug into the rock which in turn were divided into small basins for practical use. During the Byzantine domination, the population of the current Calascibetta lived in small villages, in the countryside only a few kilometers away from the current town. Following the Arab conquest, the populations of the countryside gradually moved to the highest part of Calascibetta, where we find the first Arab nucleus in caves dug into the rock and characterized by narrow and winding streets, such as the Vie Balata and S. Agata.

 

Local products

Sgrinfiati

Typical dessert of Calascibetta whose main ingredient are almonds. You have to toast the almonds and then cook them with water, sugar, orange peel, blending everything with a dry liqueur; the mixture is then combined with the already sifted flour. This is how the typical rhomboid biscuits are obtained.

Piacentinu Ennese DOP

Matured cheese with a compact pressed paste, obtained with whole raw sheep's milk with natural fermentation acidity, produced by the native Sicilian sheep breeds Comisana, Pinzirita, Valle del Belice and their mestizos. The milk from a maximum of two milks brought to a temperature of 38 ° within 24 hours, placed in wooden containers and enriched with saffron and coagulated with lamb rennet. The curd is drained of the whey in rush baskets and rummaged with traditional techniques. Stewing in sheets and dry salting. Seasoning in ventilated rooms for a minimum of 60 days from production.

 

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