A dive into the past between ruins and archeology
At the foot of the hill dominated by the Norman Castle, stands the Archaeological Museum of Francavilla di Sicilia, located inside the historic Palazzo Cagnone, a 16th century building located in the historic center.
The beautiful days are back and on this Sunday in May we enjoy a new adventure between nature, past and history in a small town in the province of Messina, and so we leave for Francavilla di Sicilia, a town at 330 meters. above sea level, in the magnificent scenery of the Valle dell’Alcantara , surrounded by the “San Paolo” river and the “Zavianni stream”.
Francavilla di Sicilia is framed by the Peloritani Mountains and is located in a central position as the main transit point for nearby towns. It is said that it was called Francavilla from the French franc-ville, meaning a free city, because for a long time it was exempt from paying taxes because it belonged to the monarchy. Others tell that it is linked to a local legend: in fact, it would bear the name of a faithful handmaid, who allowed a somewhat unfortunate dream of love to become reality, that of the beautiful Angelina (if you are curious, read our article at the following link)
What awaits us is a day organized by the Municipality of Francavilla, during which we will have the opportunity to visit the ruins of the Norman Castle and the Archaeological Museum of Francavilla – the M.A.FRA-, recently inaugurated and where remains from various eras are preserved.
We arrive in Francavilla di Sicilia and we find the councilor for tourism – as well as deputy mayor – Gianfranco d’Aprile who welcomes us in front of the MA.FRA Museum, stopping to chat with us, telling us about how the day will unfold and future projects on which ones you can collaborate with.
So, after the necessary presentations, some hints to our future projects and some tips on a possible future collaboration, we begin the climb to the ruin of the Norman Castle . We start from the alleys of the town and then immerse ourselves in nature, in a path that may be a little tortuous, but always in safety and we islanders, never losing heart, proceed not looking forward to reaching the top!
We walk along a path where to our eyes a breathtaking view opens up over the whole valley, between expanses of Mediterranean scrub, interrupted by the arid land of the bed of a now dry river, some glimpses of the Alcantara river and the neighboring villages that, seen from here, seem small. cribs. All this makes us forget the dizziness, the sultry heat and fatigue.
We get to the top, and one of us exclaims – “And how do I go up now? I suffer from vertigo! “- But when there is organization and professionalism behind an event, everything is possible, or almost ..! Having reached the final stretch to reach the top of the castle, we find, in fact, the mountain rescue boys waiting for us who help us in the climbing with the help of ropes and harnesses. The castle is currently in a state of ruin, but those ruins still have a unique charm due to their location and their historical value; it would be a real shame to leave them there, silent and lonely, waiting for a greater enhancement.
And here we finally get to the top and the show is enchanting! It was really worth getting here and challenging our fears too! As usual, we take some photos to capture the day and resume the way back, being able to say that this was also a really nice experience to live!
Returning from the excursion to the castle, we proceed with a visit to the Archaeological Museum M.A.FRA. set up in the rooms of the historic 16th century Palazzo Cagnone . which is located within the medieval quarter. It is a location full of charm, a small cloister inside, large doors with beautiful wooden frames, vaulted roofs with paintings of different representations and original furnishings that take us back in time.
The M.A.FRA Museum. was set up in 5 rooms, 1 of which is immersive with 3D animations and reconstructions.
A first room is dedicated to the settlement of the Sicilians, and then moving to the second where you can admire finds that tell the Greek history of the city: from the remains of Greek tombs, tools, fragments of figured ceramics, coins, statuettes with beautiful female faces, delicate pìnakes; a third room is entirely dedicated to the Sanctuary of the Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, Goddess of vegetation : here you can admire terracotta tablets depicting the life of the Goddess Persephone and her life, from childhood to youth , her wedding and motherhood.
Finally, a 3D video that tells the story of Francavilla di Sicilia and its many curiosities, captures us for a few minutes and catapult us into the Greek culture of the time. An experience that takes us back to our origins, to our customs and traditions handed down over the centuries to the present day.
At the end of the visit, we greet the councilor and all those who contributed to the organization of the day, with the promise and commitment to plan and promote new and interesting experiences in this rich territory. But being lunch time, we decide to stop in a typical restaurant of the place where we are greeted by the joviality of the owner, good food and good wine, which make our lunch really pleasant and cheerful.
Food is also very important for us, representing a fundamental part of the territory, with its peculiarities and its typical products!
After this beautiful day of sunshine and discovery, it’s time to go home.
We are ready to live a new experience … and you?