is a town of about 6,000 inhabitants in the province of Messina,
set about 900m a.s.l. The town’s economy is mainly concerned
with farming, stone and craft activities, the last boasting a remarkable
blacksmith tradition that contributed to embellishing many buildings.
town has grown on what was the site of the ancient Amestratus, a
city of presumed Phoenician origin, where a temple has been erected
in honour of the goddess Astarte.
saw a remarkable expansion in the Middle Ages, with the development
of a few settlements around its ancient castle, reinforced by the
Normans. Thanks to its important role in the Sicilian Vespers War,
it was granted the royal status. state property/was granted special
“royal” status complete with privileges that included
the right to administrate its own civil and penal justice system.
visitors may enjoy many engaging buildings. The Chiesa Madre, dedicated
to Saint Lucy, was restructured around 1630, albeit the original
structure is of earlier date, as show several architectonic elements
like the 1300’s doorway. The façade is graced with
a Baroque portal enriched with carved stone decorations and flanked
by two bell-towers. On the right side of the church, is a 1400’s
portal complete with a lunette, that bears a Madonna and two Saints
high-relief; another portal, dating from the 17th century, graces
the left side. Divided into a nave and aisles, it contains very
interesting works of art. Among these is an altar-piece by Antonello
Gagini with statues representing a marble altarpiece St. Lucy, St.
Peter and St. Paul, a 1600’s wooden organ, 1700’s marble
reliefs depicting the Last Supper the Feet Washing, and a statue
of the Resurrected Christ.
Chiesa di San Sebastiano has a fine façade with a stucco
statue depicting the titular saint containing a Baroque wooden litter.
Chiesa di Santa Caterina is also worth-visiting. Built during Renaissance,
it houses a prized 1500’s marble altar-piece containing three
statues – one of them depicting the titular saint –
and reliefs depicting the Annunciation and scenes from the saint
life. On the exterior, the façade is graced with a fine bell-tower
with two-light windows.
Chiesa di San Francesco is especially known for housing 1500’s
and 1600’s paintings, among which is a Madonna degli Angeli,
the Sacra Famiglia and the Cristo alla Colonna.
has a number of interesting secular buildings. Among them are the
1600’s Palazzo Scaduto – its façade having a
rich doorway flanked by anthropomorfic figures and graced with an
elegant balcony –, the Palazzo Russo, the 1800’s Palazzo
Salomone and Palazzo Di Salvo – its windows surmounted with
lunettes bearing high-reliefs depicting the arts.