From the Cathedral to the Sperlinga refuge, up to Rocca Salvatesta: what to do and see in Novara di Sicilia, a village in the heart of Messina.
Novara di Sicilia is one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy" in the province ofMessinaand stands out on the border between the Peloritani mountains and the Nebrodi mountains, in a valley surmounted by the picturesque Rocca Salvatesta and Rocca Leone.
With an area of almost 50 sq km, Novara di Sicilia includes the hamlets of San Basilio, Badiavecchia, San Marco, Santa Barbara and Scellia, and rises not far from the splendidTindari and Montalbano Helicon. His story has its roots in legend and tells of Noa, the city where the mythical Cyclops lived 2000 years before the advent of Christ. Arabs, Normans and Cistercians have contributed, over the centuries, to the growth and prosperity of this suggestive village which today is characterized by cobbled and sandstone paved streets, picturesque houses, arches, decorations and enchanting churches.
What to do and see in Novara di Sicilia
Among the streets of the village of Novara di Sicilia you can breathe an air of carefree lightness. In this inner part of theSicilyit is as if time had crystallized and the beauty of the past has never changed. In this article I want to leave you a list of the best things to do and see in Novara di Sicilia together with all the information to visit the village and advice on how to get there.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Cathedral of Novara di Sicilia stands in the homonymous square and is dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary of the Assumption, the patron saint of the city who is celebrated onAug. 15. Consisting of three naves divided by twelve sandstone columns, the Cathedral has a beautiful late Renaissance-style facade with a central door and a canopied coat of arms.
Among the things to see inside the interior of the Cathedral of Novara di Sicilia stands out theCryptcircular with the mummies of some archpriests, the strainer, the stone niches, theparish treasureand the baptistery.
Santa Maria la Noara
Among the things absolutely to see in Novara di Sicilia, the Church of Santa Maria la Noara deserves a place of honour. Located in the hamlet ofBadiavecchia, about 3 km from the historic center of Novara di Sicilia, it was part of an ancient Cistercian monastery (the first circus building in Sicily) dating back to 1137. To admire the Gothic pointed arch windows, the altar and the sober typical of circus monks.
Church of San Nicolò
Built in 1600, the Church of San Nicolò has a single nave with a particular external sandstone staircase that characterizes the entrance.
Today only ruins remain of the ancient Castle of Novara di Sicilia yet once upon a time it represented a marvelous fortress located on an overhanging cliff. From its top it is still possible to admire a panorama which, on clear days, also allows you to see theAeolian Islands.
Located in the hamlet of San Basilio, the Rifugio or Riparo della Sperlinga is one of the must-see things in Novara di Sicilia. These are rocky outcrops which, in a natural way, have created ravines and shelters that prehistoric men used as a shelter during hunting periods, more than 10,000 years ago.
The Sperlinga archaeological siteit rises 5 km from the center of Novara and is one of the two Mesolithic "shelters" discovered to date in Sicily (the other is the Grotta di Corruffi, in Pachino, in the province ofSyracuse). Inside there is a nature trail that leads to the base of the fortress.
Also known as the Matterhorn of Sicily, the Rocca Salvatesta rises above Novara with its 1340 meters of height and dominates a landscape characterized by woods, oaks, pines, flowery meadows and hills of olive trees and vineyards. For walking and trekking lovers, this is a true paradise.
It is possible to reach the Rocca Salvatesta through anature trailwhich unravels up to the top where there is a black cross with Jesus crucified. If observed from a given perspective, the Rocca Salvatesta seems to take on theprofile of a face. According to legend, a treasure is buried under it that can only be accessed after a series of trials. The site is of community importance and… also full of mystery!
To know! Not far from Rocca Salvatesta is Rocca Leone. Here too it is possible to reach it via a trekking route.
The Majorcan Tournament
Among the best known and most picturesque traditions of Novara di Sicilia stands out that ofMajorcan Throwing Tournamentwhich takes place during the Carnival period. It is no coincidence that the village is also known as "the country of rolling cheese".
Maiorchino is a very tasty raw hard cheese - a pecorino aged for over 8 months - produced with sheep's milk and made with traditional tools such as the "quarara", the "jug", the "Garbua", the "mastrello" and the " fasciedde”.
What to see in the surroundings
In the surroundings of Novara di Sicilia there are places of great beauty such asMontalbano Helicon and Castroreale(among the most beautiful villages in Italy), Tindari with theArchaeological area of Tindari, Borgo Schisina (between iGhost towns of Messina) and theAlcantara Gorges.
How to get to Novara di Sicilia
The village of Novara di Sicilia is located in the heart of the province of Messina, in Sicily. The nearest airport is Catania Fontanarossa. The easiest way to reach the town is by car:
- From Messina(74km) orPalermo(200 km): A20 motorway with Falcone exit in both directions;
- From Catania(90 km): A18 motorway (Messina direction) with exit aTaorminaand continuation along the SS185.