Another adventure is about to begin. We head to the Sicilian hinterland to discover Centuripe, the easternmost Sicilian municipality in the province of Enna.
Arriving in the village, we are immediately enchanted by its breathtaking views, which made Garibaldi give it the name of “Balcony of Sicily“.
One of the features of Centuripe? The very narrow streets, as we were able to personally see while driving our car. So, after some difficulty to avoid getting stuck in the alleys (obviously, the centuripini are used to this … but how do they do it??), we arrive at the meeting point where we find Elena waiting for us, a local girl who cares about the promotion of Centuripe. With Elena, we walk towards the Palazzo del Municipio, where we have the pleasure of meeting the Mayor. After the presentations and a few chats, we visit the “L’Antiquarium” exhibition center inside the cloister of a former Augustinian convent, where the temporary exhibition of contemporary art “Segni” has been set up.
The exhibition was created to include Centuripe in the circuit of the great Sicilian exhibition centers, but also to enhance the inherited cultural heritage. Dedicated to the great master artists of the 20th century, it exhibits “82 wonderful works, all original“, from Cézanne to Picasso, from Kandinsky to Mirò which highlight the importance of printing not as a simple means of reproducing and disseminating an image but as a tout court work of art.
After this wonderful journey into the past, we go back to strolling through the streets and alleys of the Borgo, being surprised by how much history and nature there is to see and tell. The ancient history of Centuripe has left numerous testimonies, from archaeological finds and monuments to sacred buildings.
We discover glimpses and panoramas that overlook the whole territory, up to the majestic Etna and we cannot fail to stop for some unique shots.
But a first culinary stop awaits us, we could not fail to taste it….. a real delight, one of the typical sweets with a crumbly interior covered with chocolate icing: the “Bersagliere“! If you want to find out its history and how it is prepared, please have a look at our series Gustando la Sicilia
We continue the path that leads us to the Regional Archaeological Museum. Did you know that it houses majestic marble statues, including the Head of Octavian Augustus who returned home after 83 years, the Hellenistic Statue of Musa, the colossal Head of Emperor Hadrian, and many rich prehistoric finds which give Centuripe the merit of guarding one of the most important archaeological heritage of the Roman age in Eastern Sicily.
Rich in museums of considerable importance, including the Ethno-anthropological Museum and the Experimental Art Center: “Il Purgatorio” under construction. There are also many churches among which the following stand out: the Mother Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Church of Calvary, the Church of S.S. Sacramento, the Church of San Giuseppe, the Church of S.S. Crucifix, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or Church of the Quaranta, the Church of the Annunziata, the Church of Sant’Agostino, the Sanctuary, dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie.
After a beautiful morning full of discoveries and many kilometers on foot, the time has come for relaxation, lunch, a chat, and good wine. Elena and Salvatore, the Mayor of Centuripe, talk to us a bit about the culinary traditions of the village and we begin to take notes…we are foodies!
Centuripine cuisine is particularly simple and genuine and has always been linked to peasant tradition.
Among the typical dishes of Centuripe, we find:
Pasta with wild fennel – “a pasta che finuocchi” – broad bean soup with lard, frascatole, a dish that farmers ate to warm up during periods of extreme cold; it is a sort of polenta made with ciciri, chiecchieri and puseddi (chickpeas, peas) flour. The “mazzaraddi” omelet (cabbage, wild turnip), thistles or “carduna” in batter, roasted artichokes that cannot be missing from the Centuripe festive tables. Centuripe also boasts a production of excellent quality saffron, as well as olives and olive oil, sheep’s ricotta, and Centuripe IGP blood orange.
After lunch, we say goodbye to the Mayor and head together with Elena to the countryside of Centuripe.
In this corner of paradise, nature is characterized by ridges of yellow sandstone, interspersed with cultivations of olive trees, almond trees, prickly pears, wild asparagus, and dense bush. In fact, in the early autumn days, going in search of mushrooms is a pleasant pastime for centuripini.
Ideal vegetation for grazing cattle, horses, and donkeys that can be encountered here in total freedom; while on the sandstone ridges a species of falcon has nested and found its natural habitat, with a difficult setting; The Peregrine falcon which unfortunately we were not lucky enough to spot… Too bad!
During the journey, Elena tells us about the most characteristic and heartfelt festivals and celebrations of Centuripe; the feast of San Giuseppe, characterized by the tradition of the “virginieddi“, the feast of Santa Rosalia and that of San Prospero, also with processions of sacred relics and statues of saints. The occasion of San Prospero, the day dedicated to the typical Saint’s fair takes place on 20 September.
The Spring Festival, in which a prize competition is organized for the most original creation of Easter cakes and the typical Easter cake: “il ciciulio“. The works created can be purchased against a donation. All proceeds from the Festival will be donated to needy families in Centuripe.
Another opportunity to visit Centuripe is the now famous blood orange festival, a riot of sweetness, tradition, products, and desserts entirely made with this versatile fruit rich in many beneficial properties for health. In short, all you have to do is go to Centuripe to discover its wonderful realities!
After our journey to discover this splendid village in the Sicilian hinterland, we say goodbye to Elena, thanking her for the hospitality and the many curiosities and wonders she has introduced us to, with the promise to return soon!
We are ready to live a new experience…..and you?