The ancient village of Santa Lucia del Mela rises up on Makkarruna hill, between two rivers, the Mela and the Floripotema.
In the past its strategic position attracted many dominations: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Aragoneses . Later, Bourbons succeeded each other in the town whose actual aspect is the result of their modifications.
Guided tour of Santa Lucia del Mela
The most important monument is the Castle, placed on the top of the hill and built under the Arabs upon probable Byzantine remains.
Nowadays two of the original three towers remain.
King Frederic II of Swabia modified the plan of the Castle in order to transform it into its hunting lodge; then King Frederic II of Aragon modernised it.
In place of the quadrangular tower, in 1674 the Sanctuary of Saint Mary of the Snow was built. The town celebrates her on the fifth of august.
Close to the Castle, in the ancient Piazza Maggiore, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption .It was built in the XVII century, in place of a previous church, dating back to 1094 and dedicated to Saint Lucy by King Roger II of Sicily.
It was the first cathedral to depend directly on the Holy See, thanks to the institution of the “Prelatura Nullius”, wanted by Frederic II of Swabia in 1206.
It is considered as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Sicily, keeping several works of art by eminent artists such as De Baptista, Laurana, Guinaccia, Novelli, Iannelli, Marabitti, Villareale. The Cathedral houses, under the altar of the Holy Crucifix, the unspoiled body of blessed Antonio Franco, prelate since 1617 to 1626 and beatified in the Cathedral of Messina on September the 2nd 2013.
Santa Lucia del Mela, characterized by long lasting handmade traditions, is the site of important religious events. Festivals, competitions and other events during which even the local products – nougat, Maiorchino cheese, Mamertino wine – become protagonists.
Places to visit in Santa Lucia del Mela
- The castle
- The cathedral
- The church of the Capuchin and the catacombs