The story of Castelbuono
Not far from Palermo,set at 400 metres a.s.l. in the Madonie Mountains, Castelbuono was originally known as Ypsigro by Byzantine times. It has a really interesting and rich history. In early fourteenth century, it became the seat of the Ventimiglia dynasty. They had moved from Geraci Siculo, where they used to live, to St. Pietro hill because of the mild and healthy climate. There a new and imposive castle was built, thus becoming the symbol of the town. In short time, Castelbuono was elected as the real capital of the Ventimiglia domain so that in the following centuries several other civil and religious buildings were added.
Guided tour of Montalbano
The Castle is the typical medieval building, a regular and bulky mansion surrounded by square towers. Inside there’s the famous Cappella di Sant’Anna (Saint’ Anna being Castelbuono’s patron), richly decorated with Serpotta’s 17th century stuccoes. In a niche above the altar is a silver urn containing the relics of the Saint.
The town’s central square, Piazza Margherita, is overlooked by the church known as the Matrice Vecchia, consecrated in 1494 and dedicated to the Assunta, with a graceful loggia and a Romanic bell tower. Nearby you can also find a 16th century fountain dedicated to the Cyprian Venus, and the Matrice Nuova church, completed only in 1830, ten years after a devastating earthquake.
Because of the amazing setting and the favourable climate, Castelbuono is one of the most popular places for the Palermitani’s holidays. Ash trees whose main product, manna, is traditionally used both in pastry and in cosmetics also surround the area.
Castelbuono is today famous for the production of the panettone, a tipycal Christmas cake eported all over the world by the Fiasconaro family.
Let’s stroll in the medieval streets of Castelbuono tasting one of its delicious ice-cream.
What to visit in Castelbuono
- Old main church
- The castle
- New main church
- Saint Francis’s church