Castelbuono – where nature walks hand-in-hand with history
Located on the slopes of Colle Milocca, Castelbuono is the culinary capital of Sicily. It is the perfect place for lovers of Mediterranean food and wine to explore and sample tantalizing items, characterised by the wisdom and secrets of the past as well as its rural history.
This is a place where rolling hills seemingly made of endless rows of ash trees meet stunning snow-capped mountains. A place where the Mediterranean vegetation merges with the never-ending beech woods. A land where nature has walked hand-in-hand with history for millennia, and whose future is shaped by tradition. Located on the slopes of Colle Milocca, Castelbuono is the culinary capital of Sicily. It is the perfect place for lovers of Mediterranean food and wine to explore and sample tantalizing items, characterised by the wisdom and secrets of the past as well as its rural history.
It is a land meticulously shaped and reshaped by countless generations, a place of rare and stunning beauty. You can visit the historic city centre, whose collection of narrow streets, bustling squares and courtyards will surprise and mesmerize you. Take some time to admire the towering square-shaped castle, which used to belong to the Ventimiglia family, along with the adjoining Cappella Palatina, also known as Cappella di Sant’Anna, a chapel decorated by the distinguished Sicilian sculptor Giuseppe Serpotta.
Alternatively, or indeed next, visit the Minà Palumbo museum or the Matrice Vecchia church, dating back to the 14th century, which blends three different styles: Romanesque-Gothic, Catalan, and Composite-Chiaramonte. Inside the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, a ciborium (a vessel in which the Eucharist is kept) measuring four by two meters – attributed to Giorgio da Milano and dating back to 1493 – as well as one of the most interesting tabernacles in the Madonie mountains. However, the visitor’s eye will be drawn by the majestic polyptych painting of the main altar, which represents the Virgin and the Child accompanied by Saints Peter, Lucia, Paul, and Agatha; and with the several other works kept inside, it is certainly worth visiting.
And then there is Piazza Margherita, the ideal place for “struscio” (a casual stroll) in the city. Just a few steps away, you can taste a panettone (an Italian sweet loaf bread, usually enjoyed at Christmas) out of season, made by the Fiasconaro brothers. Allow yourself to be tempted by the combination of scents and aromas that are simply heavenly, highlighting the square as a great place to taste the best of authentic local cuisine, such as that of “Nangalarruni” restaurant and of the charming pizzeria, “Al Palazzaccio”.
For Sicilians, wines are the sentinels of place and tradition, the witnesses of a culture and of the symbiosis between the farmer and his land, and in Castelbuono you will find the Sant’Anastasia Winery – one of the finest in Sicily. The winery, tucked away inside an old abbey – a place that seems to blend so effortlessly with its surrounding landscape – is located just a few kilometres away from the town, along the road that leads to Cefalù.
It would be a sin to miss a glimpse of the mountains when – in the silence of the woods – time ceases to exist, space shrinks, and an inner, almost meditative relationship expands in touch with nature to leave you in the most beautiful calmness. If you have time to take a guided hike along the winding corkscrew mountain trails of Cozzo Luminario, do not forget to visit Piano Pomo with its giant holly plants, and enjoy one of the real monuments of nature.