Sperlinga: the castle and the rocky hamlet
Perched at 700 meters above sea level, around its castle, a little hamlet with an ancient history, that’s Sperlinga.
The name derives from the Greek, but the Latin word spelunca got to us, meaning cave, in fact the word symbolizes this little Sicilian village.
Therefore, the site on which Sperlinga rises, as all the surrounding territory, is characterized by numerous artificial caves dug in the limestone. Grottoes are its peculiarity and make it a small Matera in Sicily.
Sicans might be the first ones to choose this strategic position. However the first documents date back to the Normans. Concerning it, first Edrisi, the geographer of the Roger court, described a fortification in this site.
During the period of the Sicilian Vespers, Sperlinga was the only fortress of the island, that didn’t fight against the Angevins. At the end of the 16th century, in memory of this decision, on the entrance arch of the castle, a sentence was inscribed: QUOD SICULIS PLACUIT SOLA SPERLINGA NEGAVIT which means that Sperlinga denied what the Sicilians liked.
The castle of Sperlinga
A guided tour of the castle of Sperlinga will leave the visitors speechless, because it is a rare example of a rocky castle in Sicily. It is partially dug in the gigantic limestone bulk and built in the same rock. Walking along the several rooms we can see both the intelligence and creativity of the human being and the beauty of nature. In fact, the rooms were used as stables, kitchen, forge for the metals or as silo to store and distribute the grain. Nonetheless these rooms were also used as cisterns for the water and, in addition, as prisons.
A small Sicilian Matera
Few metres from the castle, on its lower part, there are some caves in the rock. There are about fifty grottoes and they are connected each other by streets and steps also dug in the rock. Even today, some of these caves are used as homes and in some of them the municipality of Sperlinga has recreated the tipycal rooms of ancient times with original furniture.
With full rights, some years ago, Sperlinga was inscribed in the list of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy.
In conclusion, the tourist guides of our Association advise you not to miss a visit of this little magical village.