We all know Sicily. And it doesn’t matter if you have never been there or you grew up on this beautiful island. For sure you heard about the most important cities such as Palermo, Siracusa, Catania, etc. but maybe you never heard about some pretty peculiar spots off the map. Now, thanks to Sicilian Secrets, it’s time to discover some of the oddest places in Sicily. Are you ready to make your itinerary unique?
How many times did you wish to visit some precious and hidden spots? Some special locations are definitely considered off the map. The biggest island of the Mediterranean is full of ‘weird gems’ that are waiting to be uncovered. Let’s explore some of the oddest places in Sicily together. Your journey starts now.
Villa Palagonia aka Villa of the Monsters (Bagheria, Palermo)
Specchiati in quei cristalli e nell’istessa
magnificenza singolar contempla
di fralezza mortal l’immago espressa.
One of the most mysterious and oddest places in Sicily is the so-called Villa of the Monsters. The real name is Villa Palagonia, a beautiful patrician villa located in Bagheria, pretty close to Palermo.
Why is it known by this strange name? Because of a series of grotesque sculptures created from 1749 by Francesco Ferdinando II Gravina, Prince of Palagonia aka the Necromance! These ‘ugly’ statues aroused the curiosity of the travelers of the Grand Tour during the 18th and 19th centuries, even Goethe was fascinated by this alchemical spot and if you watch the movie Baarìa directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, you can clearly distinguish it.
Salt Cathedral (Realmonte, Agrigento)
How many cathedrals did you visit in your life? Definitely a lot. But have you ever visited a Salt Cathedral?
If you want to discover something special, go to Realmonte and plunge into this bizare but enchanting church that was built within the tunnels of a salt mine underground in a halite mountain where statues, bas-reliefs and altars are carved. Every December 4th, for Saint Barbara’s day, miners celebrate their patron saint with a suggestive religious function.
Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses (Linguaglossa, Catania)
One of the oddest places in Sicily is listed in the Guinness World Records. We are talking about a tree, to be more specific, it is the largest and oldest known chestnut tree in the world. You can see it on the eastern slope of Mount Etna…what about the age?
About 2.000 to 4.000 years old! It is massive, the circumference is about 58 meters. This tree is legendary…in every sense! According to the legend, during a strong rainstorm Princess Giovanna of Aragon, who was travelling with a mounted suite of around a hundred retainers and knights, sought shelter under the huge tree and, due to its great size, everyone remained dry – hence the name given to the tree. This is nature’s testament to history.
Are you curious to know many other spots off the map? Follow Sicilians Secrets and stay tuned.