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Sicily on Horseback

Castelbuono: one of the most beautiful hamlet in Sicily

Castelbuono is an Italian town in the province of Palermo, part of the Madonie Park. It is one of the most beautiful hamlet in Sicily, which rises on the slopes of the Milocca hill, between the centers of Pollina to the north, Geraci Siculo to the south-east, the Madonie massif to the south and Isnello and Gibilmanna to the west.

The historic center still preserves buildings from an ancient past that rise up among the narrow streets of this authentic village. Describing the artistic and historical-architectural heritage of Castelbuono is not at all easy. The most significant monuments, but certainly not the only ones, are: the Ventimiglia Castle, an important local family, and the Matrice Vecchia, that is the church of SS. Maria Assunta.

The Ventimiglia castle, which stands on the remains of an ancient Byzantine and later Arab-Norman farmhouse, is of undoubted importance. Today it has three floors, plus an underground floor and consists of an expanded central body with four towers.

Inside, the Palatine Chapel of Sant’Anna is very important, commissioned by the Ventimiglias at the end of the 1600s, decorated with a crowd of angels and allegories done in stucco, on a gold background, by the brothers Giuseppe and Giacomo Serpotta. The chapel houses the Sacred Skull of Sant’Anna.

Inside the church of SS. Maria Assunta there is the Polyptych of the Assumption, attributed to Antonello De Saliba and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, at the top of which there is the Eternal wooden Father who rules the world.
Instead the new matrix, that is the church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Then there is the civic museum, in which there is a picture gallery, and the Francesco Minà Palumbo naturalistic museum, which preserves the collections created by the naturalist during his studies carried out constantly in the Madonie area.

The most important traditional product of the village of Castelbuono is undoubtedly Manna, which is included in the national list of agri-food products of the Ministry of Agriculture and constitutes an important Slow Food Presidium kept alive by a handful of farmers. This product is used instead of sugar in cooking or for the preparation of body products such as face masks, cleansing milk.

Festivities

Among the numerous Castelbuono events not to be missed, during the Carnival period, is the show of the “Masks” during the “Castelbuonese Veglione“. Other events, from 17 to 27 July we celebrate Sant’Anna, patron saint of the village and in August the now famous and highly acclaimed Castelbuono jazz festival.

For horse riding enthusiasts in the countryside it is possible to carry out excursions and trips on horseback, with skilled expert guides, within the Madonie Park.

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