Suspended between the Sicilian sea and the Nebrodi mountains, almost 1000 meters above sea level, here it is Montalbano Elicona, a village of the past.
Here life flows slowly between the sun and the benches.
Montalbano is a medieval village, and from its narrow streets you enter the past.
On the balconies of the houses around the square hang ancient noble family coats of arms that remember the resounding past of this place.
Right at the entrance to the historic centre there is a house with a ceramic picture depicting a chivalrous scene.
A man inside the house stare at us.
We proceed among stone mazes and splendid portals that have survived over the centuries.
Peace, calm and cats!
The magnificent castle on the rock dominates the ancient village that was founded in the times of the Normans, towards the 11th century, and once populated by ambiguous and mysterious characters.
Most of the houses we see today once were the humble residences of the commoners who once lived on the slopes of the castle.
In exchange for work in the fields, grazing the cattle and other services to the noble of the moment, the people sought protection under the wings of the manor.
Inside the castle rests Arnaldo da Villanova, a cross between doctor and sorcerer who went against the church having prophesied that in 1376 the antichrist would come to make a clean sweep of everything and everyone.
Inside the village we find a small church, that of Santa Caterina, inside which a precious marble statue is preserved, sculpted in 1500 by the talented Sicilian artist Gagini.
A paradise of alleys, glimpses of the woods that appear between the low stone houses, smoking chimneys, narrow streets in stone, flowers hanging from the railings and an infinite peace.
All around the Bosco di Malabotta where monoliths with strange shapes
they still do not find an answer among scholars.
We continue to walk through the alleys and here is an open door, we look out, a couple of gentlemen awaits their son for lunch.
While we wait, Pina offers us a taste of homemade chillies, Franco invites us to drink a glass of wine entertaining us with a cheerful melody played on his accordion.
The famous hospitality of Sicilians …
We go to lunch with the La Bella family, in a small house overlooking the Aeolian Islands.
Mamma Rosa cooked the tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms collected in the woods by her husband Antonio. He proudly shows us his cherry tree on which she climbs the vine with its bunches of grapes. The daughter Giusy toasts the bread in the fireplace and season it with the renowned Montalbano Elicona cheese.
And here is the story of Rosa and Nino.
Rosa’s brother, very jealous, forced them to make fuitina. With the complicity of a friend they went to Messina and then to Switzerland in search of fortune.
But the call of Sicily is strong, so after a while they return.
It’s time to go. We return to the stone streets. A lady invites us to enter the house offering us a coffee.
Suddenly we arrive at a lookout with a breathtaking view of the Aeolian Islands.
It’s time to leave and we move to the main square.
The benches are filled with people chatting. And we too want to sit next to them!
What a splendid Sicilian day in Montalbano Elicona!