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What to See in Savoca

Seven faces and seven views and one myth

THE NAME The place name appears to derive from the elderberry plant (savucu in dialect) that once proliferated wild in the area. An elderberry twig is depicted in the town’s medieval coat of arms.

Walking on blocks of lava stone, to understand the mystery of this place just look up at what remains of the castle of the Pentefur, the mythical founders of Savoca, a community perhaps of Phoenician origin which settled, in an unspecified period, on the hill which still bears its name. One senses that the millenary stones, the convents, the plants, the wind, the changing landscape, even the silence and the embalmed dead in the catacombs, have a voice: they tell fascinating stories that emerge from the dusty past. Like that of the Norman-Saracenic origin of the village, which would not take its name from the elderberry plant – as most believe – but from the Arabic sabak, which means to unite, because the Saracens would have brought together the castles of the area in a single district. Be that as it may, Leonardo Sciascia was right to give credence to the popular saying according to which Savoca has seven faces: Supra na rocca Sauca sta, sette facci semper fa. In fact, wherever you look, the horizon always offers new scenarios: from the blue of the Ionian Sea to the rugged Calabrian coast, from the green Peloritani mountains to the majestic Etna, from the cisterns dug into the rock to the houses separated by overhangs where the caper and broom. Seven panoramas, we could say, all different.

In 1962 Leonardo Sciascia described an old town in ruins. Today the village welcomes us with streets paved with basalt blocks of lava stone,restored houses with Sicilian tile roofs, and elegant elevations that offer the colors of ancient Savoca. Ruins, vehicles and cisterns dug into the rock give the place a special charm, especially since it is dominated by the

What to see in Savoca the “Pentefur Castle”

Pentefur Castle

Pentefur Castle, possibly built by the Arabs and later expanded by the Normans, but also bearing echoes of the mysterious aboriginal founders.

From the 14th-century city gate, consisting of a pointed arch made of local stone, one enters the historic center, where one immediately encounters the old City Hall and

the Archimandrital Palace, of which few vestiges remain. Nearby was the Jewish synagogue, documented until 1470.The most important monument in Savoca is the 12th-century Mother Church , to whose jurisdiction all other churches, urban and rural, in the area were subject. In its basement, corpses were mummified, and the premises where the empirical procedure was practiced still exist today. Here was the chair of the Archimandrite: on the wooden throne is effigyed the archimandritical coat of arms. Late medieval wall frescoes traceable to Byzantine icography have recently surfaced. The mortal remains of local notables, patricians and abbots, dressed in early 19th-century garb, can be seen in the crypt recesses of the Capuchin monastery, founded in 1574. Finally, Mount Calvary, an ancient hermitage that the Jesuits transformed into a church in 1736, is worth visiting.

What to see in Savoca the “Church of San Michele”

The Church of San Michele, dating back to before 1250, was also the place of worship in the castle. Two beautiful portals in Gothic-Sicilian style with sandstone arches stand out on the façade.

The Church of San Nicolò, improperly called Santa Lucia because it houses the statue of Savoca’s patron saint, dates back to the early 12th century and is built on a massive rock outcrop. It was one of the famous sets of The Godfather along with Bar Vitelli, housed in Palazzo Trimarchi, a building of 18th-century architecture.

Next to the Mother Church there is a late medieval building with a sixteenth-century mullioned window. A visit to the catacombs is a must, where until 1876 corpses were mummified.

…among the things to see, you can’t miss the super stars of

Calves bar

The birth of a myth

The Pleasures of the Village of Savoca

The handmade fresh pasta tagliatelle, seasoned with wild fennel and pork ragù, are the first delicacy that Savoca offers.

Solo qui, la famosa, granita siciliana al limone è servita con la zuccarata, il biscotto locale.

Passion of Christ, Palm Sunday and Easter Eve: living representation of the Passion in the enchanting scenery of Monte Calvario; a”


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