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Monumenti & Storia - Inglese

Piazza Sant Antonio – Built in 1954, on the ancient square in front of the church, that has the same name. It has been made with mosaic of squares, rhombus of lava and white stones. It constitutes the main entrance to the village, surrounded by historic architecture, known for its particular beauty and location. It surprises the visitors coming in large number from all over the world. The square presents tree-lined sidewalks, where limestone seats has been built in the same style as the flooring and the gazebos. From here it is possible to admire the gorgeous view of Taormina and its castle and the Ionio Sea that lies between Sicily and Calabria.

Arco Antico – It was built around year 900 with a characteristic Greek-Roman architecture. The monumental arch was situated next to “Porta di Mola”, main entrance of the village, at the top of the staircase carved on the rock face, from where it dominated the ancient square in front of Saint Antonio's Church (today municipal auditorium). During the reconstruction of the current Piazza Sant Antonio, Arco Antico, that symbolizes the entrance to the village, has been rebuilt and positioned on top of a limestone staircase, that gives the evidence of majestic beauty.

Auditorium Comunale – The ancient church of Sant Antonio has been rebuilt several times, but still preserves the essential lines of the holy architecture from Southern Italy. The original Saint Antonio Church was built in the 14th century. On the left side of the characteristic front you will notice the evident signs of the extension of the bell tower, that in former times was a separate construction next to the main building. Since 1953 the church, already deconsecrated, had been used as a parish oratory owned by the Archbishop's Curia of Messina, Lipari and S. Lucia del Mela. Many years after the building was abandoned and improperly used as a storage room, the city of Castelmola made an agreement with the Archbishop's Curia and renovate and converted the building into the current auditorium, where weddings and conferences of international importance take place.

Castello Medievale – All that is left of the medieval castle are the ruins of the massive Norman walls, and it is not possible to date the time of construction. The only thing we are sure about, regarding this defensive construction, is the Greek-Byzantine wording of the 10th century, engraved on the marble plaque placed on the front of the bell tower of the mother church, that says: “This castle has been built under Costantino, patrician and strategist of Sicily”. From this we can assume that the castle has been built under Costantino Caramalo, last Tauromenion's strategist in the 9th century. Maybe it is older as suggested by some historians that date it back to the Roman period. In 1334 the castle was used only as a fort, for defensive purposes and for detention of war prisoners.

It was considered for centuries being the strongest fort on the castle chain of Milazzo, Ficarra, Tripi, Castroreale, Castiglione and Francavilla. In ancient times the main entrance “Porta di Mola” was on the top of the excavated staircase. In 40's and 50's it was repositioned to allow the construction of the present carriage road SP n.10. On the top of the arch the “key” is engraved with the emblem of Castelmola “a castle with three towers” and the following wording: “Castle faithful to His Majesty – Year 1578”.

Mother church – Dedicated to Saint Nicolaus from Bari, it was built in 1934 - 1935 on the former Mother Church that seems to be from 1500. The construction presents different architectural styles, you can distinguish Romanesque, Gothic, Arabic and Norman influences. The main entrance is on the side off the square, his view is straight on the majestic Etna, the wonderful gulf of Naxos and the landscape of the Ionic coast towards Catania. It is also possible to accede from the square to the church from a secondary entrance, whose portal is finely worked. Inside the church you can see the harmony between architectonical lines and wonderful decorations. On the principal prospectus you can admire a large rose window. Inside the church has only one rectangular aisle beyond the zone of the circular apse. On both sides the aisle has four marble altars positioned one in front of the other, at the base of which there are Latin engravings with the names of the habitants of the village, who at that time wanted this altars to be built.

The main altar is positioned in front of the main entrance. Next to the entrance there is the choir where a majestic decorated organ of wood. Its bellows are still working perfectly with manually operated wooden levers. In the church there is preserved a wooden statue of Magdalena (School of the Bagnasco) and a statue of the Madonna of the Rosary, that stands on an remarkable pulpit of nut dated from the XVIII century. In the sacristy are conserved some oil paintings, holy vestments of high prestige and a stone statue of Saint Sebastiano, that a devote citizen carved by himself and donated to the church. On the West side of the holy building you can find the canonical house of priests with more holy furnishings. Here there is also an oil painting of the Madonna dedicated by a famous local artist.

Chiesa San Biagio – This was the first church built in the ancient Myle after Saint Pancrazio's coming to Taormina in 40 a.Ch., who brought the new Christian religion to the town. You can see the typical construction of the South of Italy, placed along the rock, overlooking on a square from where it is possible to admire Taormina and on its background the majestic Etna. The church, almost destroyed from the weather, has been restored and consolidated in the 90'. During the restoring works the barrel vault has been completely rebuilt and the prospects restored. In his inside the church has a fresco that seems to be from the XVIII century. You can admire the “Madonna with the Child, Saint Biagio and the angels”.

During the rebuilding works of the church this artwork has been restored under the supervision of the “Superintendence for Cultural and Environmental Heritage, Section for Historical, Artistic and Iconographic of Messina”.

Pozzetti Romani di Myle – This cisterns were projected by Andromaco in 367 b.Ch., to improve the living conditions of the first settlement in “Piano della Ficara”. In ancient times this tanks were called “stagnuni” (stagnant), and there were about thirty tanks spread all over the territory of the old Myle. Today you can still find three of them intact and one half destroyed. The discovery of Cuculunazzo's Necropolis brought the historians to date the first settlement of the ancient ”Myle” during the Iron Age (VIII century b.Ch.) by the Siculi. Myle has been besieged many times by the Syracuse's tyrant, Dionisio, who managed to conquer it only in 392 b.Ch. After the Greek period, the city was dominated by Andronaco, who built the first infrastructures and also the tanks.

Afterwards the city was conquered by several other tyrants, the Roman Empire of the West, the Byzantines and, of course, the Saracens, loved for its beautiful and strategic location.

Saracens' door – It marks the extreme limit of the old “Myle” and constitutes another door to reach Castelmola from a small characteristic and panoramic footpath along the “Piano delle Ficare” (Grave of Figs). Once if you wanted to reach “Piano delle Ficare”, the Cuculunazzo's Necropolis and Taormina, you had to pass this door out of Castelmola. The ancient architecture is made of local stone and bases on one side at the foot of the mount of “Mola”. On the other side it flows in a very natural way towards the cliff. This natural location made it an strategic impregnable passage, and it is considered the only monument that resisted to the Moorish's assault. Nonetheless in 902 a.Ch. Mylay was conquered by the Muslims, who passing from that door conquered and destroyed also Taormina. It’s likely that from this historical event the village took its name.

Chiesa San Giorgio – This church was constructed in 1450, even if the first parochial acts were certificated in 1533. The church has a single aisle, its entrance is from the square that lies in front of it. Both, church and square, are dedicated to Saint Giorgio, patron and protector of the town. A dorway entrance, covered by a semicircular barrel vault, divides the square from the church. Inside on top of the doorway entrance there is the choir where an old wooden pipe organ is preserved. No nearer details are known about it.

In the center of the single aisle on the right side and as an extension of it was built the “Chapel of Crucifix”. Its name is due to the enormous and ancient wooden crucifix placed there. The room presents all the characteristics of a later added shape with an independent covering structure from that one of the church. It almost constitutes another aisle. Continuing on the same side next to the altar you can find the Sacristy. Behind the main altar you will see the apse. The emigrants of America rebuilt it at their own expense. Here you can find the dome where the wooden decorated equestrian statue of Saint Giorgio is now conserved. It had to be restored several times to gain again its original beauty because at the end of ‘800 it was covered with plaster.

Adjacent to the entrance through a brickwork staircase supported by a pointed rampant arch you will arrive to the choir and to the bell tower. The roof of the church nave is slanted, while inside it’s simple covered with a system of wooden beams. The church preserves its originally marble floor, on it you can recognize two tombstones of the Congregation of Saint Giorgio and the Congregation of the Crucifix, both with Latin epigraphs.

The church is particularly admired for the beauty and the architectural uniqueness of its bell tower, made by a short spire that is part of the main building. On the top all four corners have pyramidal pinnacles (clocheton), each one holding a small ball of stone. Also the School of Piacentini Architects recognizes that this construction is a skillful artwork. Inside the church, besides Saint Giorgio's Statue, valuable works of art are preserved, including a painting of “The embodiment of the Immaculate” and a wooden statue of the Immaculate from the '700. In the SS. Crucifix's chapel you can see the statues of “Saint Biagio”, the “Madonna of Sorrows” and the “Dead Jesus”, paintings of the “Purgatory”, the “Rosary's Mystery”, and on the wall behind an old wooden crucifix a fresco of the “Pity” from '700.

Chiesa della SS. Annunziata – The church was built in 1100 by Roger the Norman to thank Our Lady for the aid received during the victorious war against the Saracens. The Church is very small with a single aisle. During the ages several restorations have been done, and inside different rooms were added, including the room with the direct passage to the cemetery. In the cases where the cause of death was suspected, in this room interventions and autopsies were done on the bodies to investigate the truth.

The bell tower, that was moved outside of the Church and rebuilt at a time not better specified, is made in one only modest lift, which houses a single bell, so admirable in its simplicity. The floor rebuilt with “Sicilian terracotta” presents a middle tombstone, under it you can see the common ossuary. In this church once there were performed ceremonies, including the feast of the Annunciation and the feast of “Ferragosto” on the fifteenth of August. The church is rarely open to the public and serves almost exclusively for burials, to accompany the citizens of Castelmola to their last walk to the cemetery.

The artistic value of the church lies mainly in the wonderful portal of the main entrance, presumably dating from the late Romanesque, inventoried from the “Superintendence for Fine Arts”. The statue of a white marble Annunciation is placed on the only altar of the church. The marble complex has lost its Angel of the Annunciation.

City Library – This building is from the XIX century. The architecture is typical for the ancient medieval village. From 1920 it was the seat of the First Elementary School of Castelmola. Later, in 1956 the building was renovated and converted into the current library called “Prof. Salvatore Gullotta”, a citizen of Castelmola, who donated his whole collection of books to the city. The building architecturally has the characteristic “Bagghio” arch that supports the input staircase to the library starting from the Mother Church.

Icon of the Madonna della Scala – The Icon is dedicated to the “Madonna della Scala” (Madonna of the Staircase). It once enclosed a valuable oil painting, which was not able to detect in which epoch it was made. Originally the Icon was carved in stone and rested in the rock under the Castle, near the footpath, access to the village from “Porta di Mola”. After the construction of the carriage road “SP 10”, which changed the access to the city in the '60s, the icon was transformed by the faithful citizens, who engraved a cave into the rock wall of the castle at the same place of its original position. The picture of the Madonna was placed at the center of a modern marble altar where you can admire it today.


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