What it is and where it is
Castelbuono is a small medieval hill town dominated by the massive and distinctive silhouette of the Ventimiglia castle. Its location is truly enviable: only 90 kilometers from Palermo we find ourselves in the bucolic and verdant atmosphere of the Madonie Mountains with the scent of the sea coming from the nearby beaches of Cefalù and the rocky shores of Pollina.
Why it is special
Castelbuono surprises with its unprecedented mix of tradition and innovation. A municipality of only 9,000 inhabitants that has been able to revive the ancient production of manna by attracting even young and passionate growers and that, first in Italy, has used donkeys to collect waste. Every summer, then, it hosts Ypsigrock, one of the top-rated boutique festivals that attracts internationally renowned artists and fills "Castiddubbonu" with a festive crowd.
Not to be missed
Starting from the municipal castle, we can discover inside it the palatine chapel of St. Anne, a heady Baroque riot of stucco on a pure gold background, and the headquarters of the Civic Museum, a very active cultural reality that houses artifacts and testimonies of the area but also numerous contemporary art exhibitions. There is also another museum to visit, the naturalist museum where the collections of flora and fauna that Francesco Minà Palumbo made at the end of the 19th century in the then unknown Madonie Mountains are collected. Also not to be missed are the Old Matrix Church with its late Romanesque-Gothic architecture and the medieval church of St. Francis where the mausoleum of the Ventimiglia family is located.
A bit of history
Castelbuono owes its origins to the Ventimiglias, Lords of the County of Geraci, who in 1317 raised the castle on the hillock dominating the fortress of "Ypsigro" from the Byzantine era, the conformation of which can still be seen in the narrow alleys of the town center. With urban development the village changed its name to Castrum Bonum, today Castelbuono. Thanks to the patronage of the Ventimiglia family, the court became an important center of humanistic culture, hosting, among others, the poet Torquato Tasso and the mathematician Francesco Maurolico. More recently Castelbuono distinguished itself in the history of the Risorgimento and Italian Unification by rebelling against baronial power. A social and cultural vitality that still characterizes the small "capital of the Ventimiglias."
Get your taste buds ready to discover original gastronomic specialties. In fact, Castelbuono is the only place in Italy, besides Pollina, where manna is cultivated. Of biblical memory, Madonie manna is nothing more than the sugary condensed sap of the ash tree. Because of its richness in trace elements, it is good to eat but is also a valuable ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This is also where Fiasconaro's panettone (yes, you read that right!) is made, a reinterpretation of the Milanese dessert that at the bar in the Fiasconaro family's central square is enjoyed filled with manna, pistachio or almond cream.
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