is located in proximity to Etna volcano, at 256 m a.s.l. It has
a population of some 50,000 inhabitants. It is a city of agricultural
importance with outstanding export of citrus fruits and outputs
of cereals, vegetables and tomatoes. Industry is as much important,
notably the food, pasta and packaging factories. The city is also
a thriving craft centre, notably related to moulded clay, lava stone,
wrought iron and wood objects.
in 1073, a lava-stone castle was built at Count Roger I’s
behest. Restructured during the first half of the 14th century,
it can be visited entirely. It features a solid-looking structure
with a rising tower. Inside, it is divided into three levels. On
the ground floor is a chapel, on the first floor there is an elegant
hall graced by four mullioned-windows. Another fine hall with mullioned
windows is on the second floor. A large terrace tops the building.
It was the property of the Anjous, inhabited by Eleonora Aragona
and Martino “the young”. It later belonged to the Henriquez,
the Speciales and the Moncadas. Almost 35 metres tall, with tickest
walls and a rectangular shape, it was a fortress part of a broader
defensive plan by the Count Roger.
Mother Church is dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Alto. Of Norman
origin, it was rebuilt in 1342 on a basical plan in the Romanesque
style. The central nave is barrel-vaulted whereas the lateral ones
are cross-vaulted. The façade is divided into three parts.
At its centre is a lava-stone portal with a window above; on the
sides are two pairs of archs, the left one containing bells. The
interior, divided into three naves, houses a fine chapel that contains
a beautiful wooden Crucifix of the 17th century.
church dedicated to the Annunciation is also known as Chiesa del
Monastero. It dates back to the 1600’s and preserves some
precious 1500’s, 1600’s and 1700’s altarpieces.
is the 1500’s Church of Santa Barbara, in the square of the
same name. Its façade is complete with a loggia with statues
of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on its sides. The inside, dominated
by a large cupola, is decorated with numerous valuable paintings.
has other interesting buildings, such as the 1500’s Chiesa
del Cristo al Monte, the 1700’s Chiesa di Santa Maria delle
Grazie, the Church and Convent of San Francesco, the latter reduced
to few ruins, the Chiesa della Madonna del Rosario, the Chiesa del
Carmine, the 1600’s Chiesa di Santa Caterina and the 1700’s
Chiesa di Santa Margherita.
is a city with long-standing traditions, boasting a rich calendar
of interesting events. The patron saint Santa Barbara is celebrated
by a whole week of religious and sporting events. Easter’s
Holy Week is equally longed for; the Procession of the Images of
Our Lady of Sorrows and the Dead Christ on Holy Friday is particularly
worth-seeing. The city is also famous for its Carnival, with processions
of allegorical floats through the main streets.
Paternò boasts an ancient
history. Excavations at the area have brough to light relics dating
from the Neolithic Age, some historian asserting that the city grew
on the ancient Hybla Gaelatis. The earliest documented record dates
back to the Arab and the, successive, Norman dominations.