This is a short guide to discover cultural, archaeological, naruralistic and food & wine itineraries around TORRE ARTALE HOTEL & RESIDENCE in Trabia (PA).
We have selected the Top FIVE Worth-Visiting for you: from the noble villas of Trabia and Bagheria to the archaeological sites of Himera and Solunto from where you can admire the sea headed by Capo Zafferano, and then up to the mountains, to the Madonie Park passing through the town of Gangi, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. But you can also go for a walk under the salt in the Raffo mines at Petralia Soprana to admire the sculptures of salt and then enjoy local products.
If you love good wine, a visit to the Florio and Duke of Salaparuta Winery in Casteldaccia is a must. Every Thursday you can enjoy the relaxed and evocative atmosphere of the FlorioTerrace. Oriental music and sensual rhythms will make a soundtrack to your aperitifs Duca di Salaparuta
For movie enthusiasts, we suggest downloading the “The Roads of Cinema” brochure for an itinerary distributed in the two cities of Termini Imerese and Bagheria, a few kilometers from Hotel Torre Artale & Residence, locations of two recent films: Baaría and L ‘ Ora Legale. Then a visit to the Eolie Islands, with Stromboli and Vulcano, for a reminder of a less recent but significant past: Roberto Rossellini’s neorealism with his film Stromboli, the land of God, introduced the concept of place with a soul as well as triggering the War of the two rival volcanoes: the Stromboli of Ingrid Bergman VS the Volcano of Anna Magnani.
STOP 1 – FROM LANZA CASTLE TO VILLA TRABIA ALLE TERRE ROSSE
The villas of the Sicilian nobility and the events that have involved their noble owners have been sources of inspiration for books, art and film productions. To the noble Lanza family in Trabia, Domenico Modugno, dedicates two of his most famous songs: La Baronessa di Carini which tells the tragic story of Baron Lanza’s daughter and thenVecchio Frac, dedicated to Raimondo, the last of the Lanza noble family, who committed suicide in Rome in 1954. Sixty years after his tragic end, his daughter Raimonda in his tale “I will dance” (Feltrinelli, 2014) digs into the past of this fascinating and scumbaged man who has bitten his thirty-nine years of life.
A visit to Lanza Castle in Trabia (XII – XV cent.) with its characteristic cylindrical tower and the ancient chapel of Santa Petronilla erected by Cesare Lanza in 1579 and used as a parish church until 1643 will make you revive the athmophere, sometimes magical and sometimes bumpy of the times that were.
In 1563 Cesare Lanza became the protagonist of a bloody tragedy, passed to history as “the bitter case of the Baroness of Carini”.
Don Cesare’s daughter, Laura, married to Vincenzo la Grua, baron of Carini, was discovered in flagrant adultery with her young lover Ludovico Vernagallo. Don Cesare himself will tell in the process being celebrated against him that, when he went to Carini Castle to meet his daughter, he was informed by his son in law that he had just discovered his wife in his room together with Vernagallo. Without hesitating Cesare Lanza roared into the room and killed his daughter, while his son in law killed the lover in his turn.
The last descendants of Casa Lanza were the brothers Galvano and Raimondo and it is to follow the events of the last of the Lanza that we move to Villa Trabia alle Terre Rosse in Palermo.
VILLA TRABIA ALLE TERRE ROSSE
Villa Trabia is a true oasis of greenery with over 60,000 square meters of park between the buildings of Via Libertà and Via Salinas, a few steps from via Notarbartolo.
The story of this green area is related to the events of Prince Trabia and Butera and those of their heirs. Built in the 18th century with a geometric garden system, it was transformed into a romantic park a century later. Benches, driveways, statues and fountains testify its historical past.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Villa Trabia’s garden is a real miniature botanical garden, with almost 2800 different species.
Walking along the avenues it will be easy to imagine the atmosphere of the belle epoque that accompanied the life of Don Raimondo, the last owner of the villa, a lover of beautiful women and sports and the inventor of the football market in Italy.
Villa Trabia now has an important role also for the cultural life of the city of Palermo: civil marriages and events of various nature are hold there. It hosts a public multimedia library with free internet access, which is very popular with students, with reading rooms, music and cinema common areas on the ground floor.
STOP 2 – the Villas of Bagheria
The villas of Bagheria, almost all dating back to the eighteenth century, were once the most prestigious summer residences of the Palermo Aristocracy. Rosanna Balestirieri in her book Alchemy and Architecture, a journey between Bagheria and the 18th century villas, argues that the architectural intent behind the construction of some villas, such as Villa Valguernera and Villa Palagonia, has close links to the 18th-century alchemical philosophy: in many sculptures and decorations is represented the god Mercury, who in the alchemical process presided over the transmutation of matter.
Villa Palagonia would represent with its monstrous statues on the city walls, the search for the harmony of matter, while Villa Valguarnera would be the custodian of the secrets for its processing, through four distinct phases: nigredo, albedo, crinitas, rubedo, the four Phases of the alchemical transformation of matter.
The statues on the crowning cornice of the central body of Villa Valguarnera represent Mercury, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, Ganimede, and Hercules, ancient classical heroes who in esoteric rewriting become depositors of alchemical meanings.
Also the plan layout of Villa Palagonia and Villa Valguarnera, considered along with the entrance avenues, would be inspired by the shape of the key of the Alchemical Work. This highly symbolic context was most likely due to the desire to create an arcadian congregation where the aristocratic adepts could devote themselves to liberal arts and alchemical philosophy, far from the Tribune of the Inquisition of Palermo.
You cannot leave Bagheria without visiting Villa Cattolica that houses the Guttuso Museum with a rich collection of works that derives largely from the network of ties entertained by Renato Guttuso with the exponents of the artistic scene that marked the twentieth century. The works are often gifts or exchanges that have taken on a particular value in the existential sphere of the bagherese painter, who decided to donate them to the Museum.
Outside of Villa Cattolica you can visit the tomb of Renato Guttuso by the sculptor Giacomo Manzù.
STOP 3 – HIMERA AND SOLUNTO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
The archaeological site of ancient Imera, well known for the remains of its Temple of Victory, is located on the coast at the mouth of the river Imera, eight kilometers east of Termini Imerese on state road 113 in the Buonfornello area. The history of the ancient Termini Imerese is in fact the story of Himera and although the archaeological remains are not as complete as those of Solunto, the ancient Roman city near Bagheria, deserves your visit if you are a lover of ancient cities and temples of ancient Greece.
Solus for Greeks and Soluntum for Romans, Solunto is located at the foot of the mountain not far from Bagheria. The city was built on the site of a Phoenician village and was known for its expansion with the conquest by the Greeks that made it a satellite city of Himera in 396 B.C. During the First Punic War in 254 B.C. it was conquered by the Romans. Most of the remains that came to light from the 16th century to the present are of Roman origin.
STEP 4 – THE PARK OF MADONIES
If you love the mountain and want to admire the sea only from a certain height, the itinerary to discover the Madonie is the idea.
Three ring routes are recommended from the Palermo-Messina or Palermo-Catania motorways
It is recommended to finish the walk with a visit of Gangi which in 2014 was elected the most beautiful village in Italy.
STOP 5 – WINE AND SALT
In Raffo, hamlet of Petralia Soprana, you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Under Sale, a unicum not only in Sicily.
The museum, within the suggestive mine, is cared for by the SottoSale Association and includes the sculptures of Salgemas from the International Biennial of Salgem sculpture, which came to the fourth edition in 2017, during which internationally renowned artists arrive in Raffo, choose from the local mine the blocks of salt to carve and be displayed along the alleys of Petralia Soprana, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, and then they relocate them back to the belly of the earth.
Raffo is a small hamlet where the slowness of daily rhythms enhances the fascination of an out-of-the-way tour of nature, art and food with local products.
If you love good wine, a visit to the Florio and Duke of Salaparuta Winery in Castedaccia is a must. Every Thursday you can enjoy the relaxed and evocative atmosphere of the “Florio Terrace”. Oriental music and sensual rhythms will make a soundtrack to your Duca di Salaparuta aperitifs.