city of Biancavilla, about 23,000 inhabitants, belongs to the province
of Catania. From its panoramic terrace a breath-taking view over
the Erei Mountains and the cities of Centuripe, Troina, Santa Maria
di Licodia and Motta Sant’Anastasia can be enjoyed.
Mother Church – It is the main religious building in town,
dedicated to the Madonna dell’Elemosina. It was built in the
early 18th century, even though its original structure dates back
to the 1600’s. Externally, it was enriched with a 1800’s
campanile with statues portraying Santa Caterina, San Placido, San
Zenone and San Giuseppe. The church is comprised of three naves
with fourteen arches, and decorated with several works of art, like
an icon dedicated to the Madonna dell’Elemosina – dating
from the 13th century, on cedar-wood.
del Rosario – The church dedicated to the Holy Rosary, originally
dedicated to San Rocco, changed its name in the late 1600’s
becoming the seat of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary. It
is especially renowned for its stuccoes, its marble choir and a
statue of the Christ at the Column.
dell’Annunziata – The church dedicated to the Annunciation
dates from the 1600’s and conserves many pieces of art, notably
the frescoes in the apse and in the transept. An oil-painting depicting
S. Antonio Abate is also worth-mentioning. A necropolis of the Bronze
age was once located nearby.
Churches, palazzi and city surrondings – Biancavilla is home
to many other interesting buildings. Among them are the minor churches
of S. Orsola, the Mercede and San Giuseppe, and some elegant palazzi,
such as Palazzo Bruno and the 1700’s Palazzo Ciarolo. The
City Theatre and the City Gardens are also worth-seeing. In the
city’s surrounding area are sites of naturalistic interest,
such as several watermills going back to the 1500’s, the hermitage
of the Madonna di Vadalato – set up inside a grotto by a friar
of the Secular Franciscan Order – and the Scilà grotto,
of basaltic origin.
settlements in the area are documented since the Neolithic age.
A remarkable influx of Albanian families is recorded at the end
of the 15th century. During that time the village was called “Terra
di Callicari” (Land of Callicari) or “casale dei greci”
(Greek hamlet) and soon developed even thanks to a number of concessions
granted by the Lord Moncada. Only slightly damaged by the 1693’s
earthquake – having ravaging effects on this part of the Eastern
Sicily – and Etna’s 1669’s eruption, it rather
served as a safe refuge for the people of the involved cities.
economy is mainly agricultural.