Quick and complete itinerary to visit Castelmola , one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily . Following this tour we will discover ancient churches, breathtaking panoramic points and some curiosities about the village (never heard of the “bar of fouls”?).
The village of Castelmola , in the province of Messina , is listed among the most beautiful villages in Italy .
Being a short distance from both Messina and Taormina , Castelmola can easily be inserted as a quick stop on an itinerary in Eastern Sicily .
Of pre-Hellenic origin, Castelmola owes its name to the conformation of the inhabited center and of the rocky spur that houses it, shaped, in fact, of ” mola “.
Itinerary to visit the village of Castelmola
The main tourist attractions of the village of Castelmola are all quite concentrated in the historical center.
It is, therefore, very pleasant and not at all tiring to walk through the alleys of the Sicilian village and see in a short time all the most beautiful and evocative of Castelmola .
- Piazza Sant’Antonio
- Antico Caffè San Giorgio
- Castle of Mola
- Cathedral of Castelmola (Church of San Nicola di Bari)
- Bar Turrisi
- Church of San Biagio
- Church of the Annunciation
What to do and see in Castelmola, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy
The characteristic small hamlet, concentrated around the panoramic Piazza di Sant’Antonio , is perched on a promontory overlooking the sea .
The square also serves as a lookout : overlooking the Ionian Sea and the underlying Taormina is one of the most beautiful in all of Sicily .
The spectacular view , in addition to the picturesque alleys of the ancient village , is one of the main reasons that push tourists to visit Castelmola .
- Read also: The villages not to be missed in Sicily .
From the main square, where there is an arch that marks the entrance to the village , you can reach, through a path, the highest point of the promontory, where there are the ruins of an ancient castle .
1. Piazza Sant’Antonio
The panoramic Piazza Sant’Antonio takes its name from the church that overlooks it, currently used as a municipal auditorium.
Built in 1954, the square is characterized by the presence of a mosaic floor in white and lava stone. The view is surprisingly beautiful on the underlying city of Taormina and on a fascinating stretch of the Ionian coast .
2. Antico Caffè San Giorgio
When you reach the square of Castelmola , you can not miss the Antico Caffè San Giorgio . Facing right on Piazza Sant’Antonio , this historic local of Castelmola was founded in 1700 by some monks who used it as a tavern. It was, however, Don Vincenzo Blandano who made it famous in the following centuries, inventing the recipe for the typical product par excellence of Castelmola , that is the Almond Wine.
The Almond Wine , also called “Il Blandanino “, invented in Castelmola by Don Vincenzo Blandano and once served as a tribute and welcome gesture to all visitors who, not without difficulty, climbed up the hill of Mola , is a dry white wine produced with fine grapes and flavored with almonds , herbs , citrus and caramel essences .
The Almond Wine , created by Don Vincenzo Blandano from which it took its name, is one of the typical products to try if you visit the village of Castelmola . And why not taste it right at the historic premises that saw him being born? A stop at ‘ Antico Caffè San Giorgio is, therefore, due before continuing the visit to the village.
3. Castle of Mola
From the central square of Castelmola the path that leads up to the Castle of Mola starts . The castle, or rather the little that remains, offers a wonderful panoramic view to tourists who reach it. The effort, not excessive, will no doubt be rewarded by the view!
Little is known about the period of construction of the fortification. A testimony dating back to the tenth century, engraved in the plaque walled in the Cathedral of Castelmola , shows the following clue about the construction of the stronghold: “this castle was built under Constantine, patrician and strategist of Sicily”.
On the function of the castle, in Norman and Swabian times, there are no testimonies.
The Castle of Mola was the most important node of the Peloritan defensive system which also included the castles of Milazzo , Castroreale , Ficarra , Tripi , Castiglione and Francavilla .
The fortress was enlarged and altered over the centuries. Pietro D’Aragona , in 1344, made the castle an almost impregnable defensive fortress , adding a mighty wall and new attack-proof environments. The aim was to use the Castle of Mola both as a fortress for defensive purposes and as a prison.
Currently at the Castle of Mola , in addition to visiting the impressive ruins and admire the view, you can attend falconry shows.
4. Cathedral of Castelmola (Church of San Nicola di Bari)
The Chiesa Madre (or Cathedral of Castelmola ) is dedicated to San Nicola di Bari . Architecturally it presents an essential style, combining manners ranging from Romanesque to Gothic, with Arab and Norman influences.
The main entrance is in a lateral position with respect to the square and makes the view of Etna and Taormina even more suggestive .
The greek-Byzantine tombstone of the tenth century that recalls the origins of the castle , mentioned just above, is walled right in the bell tower of the Cathedral .
Inside the Cathedral you can see two beautiful eighteenth-century statues, La Maddalena and the Madonna del Rosario, beyond the statue of San Giorgio , patron saint of Castelmola . From the Duomo you can also access the underground catacombs.
5. Bar Turrisi
Near the Cathedral of Castelmola there is a really curious place, which undoubtedly deserves a stop before continuing with the itinerary.
Right next to the symbol of purity and sacredness was opened a bar to say the least singular, from the style, so to speak, purely profane. This is the Turrisi Bar , which over time has become a popular tourist destination in the village of Castelmola . The reason is really bizarre and we’ll find out soon …
Founded in 1947 and structured on four levels, it might seem like a normal bar with beautiful panoramic terraces but the uniqueness of the Bar Turrisi immediately shows itself to visitors entering. What intrigues tourists is, in fact, the presence of dozens of phalluses or, if you want to use the Sicilian term used by the owners and locals, of “minchie”. Yes, you got it right!
“The history of the fouls of the Bar Turrisi ( dull in our dialect) is a representation of the culture of these places and never a reference in the vulgar sense of man’s virility.” Taormina and Castelmola have been the scenery over the centuries to bizzare stories, follies of alcove, loves and sins.They visited great lovers, great dreamers, great transgressors.
These places hosted the first gay communities in the last decades of the nineteenth century: fragile, restless and refined scions of illustrious and rich families, cultured here the existential torments of the already decadent Europe.
Incensed by the salons of London, Paris and Berlin, in Sicily they found a small oasis of peace and freedom and here they abandoned themselves to every kind of extravagance, wildness and audacity. These cities were visited by the likes of David Herbert Lawrence , Oscar Wilde , Thomas Mann and Goethe . At Castelmola , the Cavaliere Turrisi , for free spirit and passion for history, wanted to remember that historical period in this bar, designing the now famous Bar Turrisi .
The idea of the phallus certainly aroused great dismay at first, especially in the parish priest, but it should be considered as a symbol for nothing vulgar, already in ancient Greece a metaphor of fertility, fortune, prosperity and life. “
In fact, there are various phallic-themed objects that “decorate” the Turrisi Bar in Castelmola , from chairs to tables, from liquor bottles to sink faucets, from ornaments to decorative statues. Everything inside the Turrisi Bar takes up the shape of the male organ. A particular place, no doubt about it!
6. Church of San Biagio
Let’s move now, towards the next stage of our itinerary to Castelmola and visit the Church of San Biagio . Recently restored, this small church is the first Catholic religious building to be built in Castelmola .
The Church of San Biagio rises on a rock and from the adjacent square you can enjoy a breathtaking natural spectacle. In fact, the panoramic view embraces Mount Etna , Taormina and the Gulf of Naxos .
7. Church of the Annunciation
Outside the village of Castelmola , a short distance from the town, there is the Church of the Annunziat , dating back to 1100 and built by Ruggero the Norman as a vote to the Madonna for the help received in the battle against the Saracens, from which he emerged victorious.
The Church of the Annunciation can only be visited at certain times of the year : during the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in Heaven and during the first two weeks of August.
The reasons for visiting the Sicilian village of Castelmola are numerous: the alleys of the old town are really picturesque, the products of the village offer the palate the ancient flavors of Sicily of the past (in particular almonds and Zibibbo), the spectacular view from the square and the panoramic points of Castelmola is a lively postcard of the beauties of the Sicilian landscape and you will not be able to be astonished.
Castelmola is one of the must- see villages in Sicily , especially if you have Catania , Messina or, better yet, Taormina .
If you enjoyed our itinerary to visit Castelmola , read also:
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