|The province of Catania
Militello in Val di Catania
Militello in Val di Catania (Zip Code 95043) is 157 Km. distant from Agrigento, 128 Km. from Caltanissetta, 48 Km. from Catania, which is the province it belongs to, 105 Km. from Enna, 144 Km. from Messina, 266 Km. from Palermo, 64 Km. from Ragusa, 72 Km. from Siracusa, 330 Km. from Trapani.
Photo © A.p.t. Catania
The municipality counts 9.469 inhabitants, its surface measures 6.124 hectares, and its population density counts 155 inhabitants per square kilometre. It rises over an internal hilly area, 413 meters above the sea-level.
The Town Hall is located in piazza Municipio n. 14, tel. ++39 095-7941111 fax. ++39 095-656056.
Situated among the hills of the Iblei mountains, Militello in Val di Catania is outstanding for the conspicuous production of citrus fruits, olives, figs, grapes, fruit, and excellent Indian figs, that can be tasted during the annual Sagra della mostarda e del ficodindia (mustard and Indian fig festival) held in the month of October.
The name Militello derives from the ancient Latin term Militum Tellus, that means "Terra dei soldati" (land of the soldiers), because the town was founded in 214 B.C. by the Romans, as a military fort to prepare the siege of Siracusa. It was home of the Byzantines, thus of the Arabs. Approximately in 1300, it was acquired by the Barresi family, and as of the XVI century, it belonged to the noble Branciforte family, until feudality was abolished. In 1693, it was devastated by the earthquake, thus experiencing a slow reconstruction.
Photo © Luigi Nifosì
Architecturally, the most interesting monuments are the Chiesa di S. Benedetto Abate of 1616, and its bordering Monastery (today, seat of the Town Hall building), preserving a marvelous baroque facade, the Chiesa Madre dedicated to the Saints Nicolò and Salvatore, rebuilt after 1693's earthquake, and sidewise, the Museum of S. Nicolò, beholding numerous artworks and sacred furniture of the XVI century.
The Chiesa di S. Maria della Stella of the XVIII century, beholding many internal halls used for the Church's treasures, and the Chiesa di S. Maria La Vetere, that has a beautiful nineteenth century portal, are also very characteristic.
Among the town's noteworthy citizens, there was the famous historic Vincenzo Natale (1781-1855) scholar of Greek Sicily's history, the pedagogist Giuseppe Musumeci Ristagno (1868-1954), and the politician and jurist Salvatore Majorana (1825-1897), notorious University professor and minister, as well as grandfather of scientist and atomic physicist Ettore Majorana (1906-1938).