|The province of Messina
Montalbano Elicona (Zip Code 98065) is 247 km. distant from Agrigento, 177 km. from Caltanissetta, 103 km. from Catania, 136 km. from Enna, 83 km. from Messina, which province it belongs to, 191 km. from Palermo, 207 km. from Ragusa, 161 km. from Siracusa, 290 km. from Trapani.
The municipality has 3.220 inhabitants and an area of 6.743 hectares for a population density of 48 inhabitants per square kilometre. It rises on a mountainous inland area and is 900 metres above sea-level.
The Town Hall is placed in piazza Palazzo Municipale, tel. ++39 0941-679120 fax. ++39 0941-679597.
Photo © A.A.P.I.T. Messina
Crowned from a majestic Castle, encircled from secular forests that they perfume of thousands essences it is one of the antichi and evocative centers of the nebroidea area, rich of stroria, art and traditions.
The students from ten years discuss on the origins of the country and of name. Montalbano Elicona derives from the Latin names mons albus with reference to mounts covered with snow or from the Arabic names al bana meaning of "excellent place".
During the period of the Greek colonization (VII-VIII sec. B.C.), Dori, thinking to the mythical mount of the Muse, called Helikon the place that coinciding with the rise on which rises the medieval village and a torrent whose tortuous course justifies the name.
First news about the existence of the village dates back to the XI century when it was a State possession.
In 1232 it revolted against Federick II of Swabia, and supported the Pope together with other centres. Later it has belonged to different feudatories: Lancias in 1396, Romano Colonnas, Bonannos in 1587.
It is prevalently an agricultural centre. Products mostly cultivated are grapes, cereals, chestnuts, walnuts, hazel-nuts. Very good are dairying products typical of the place. The tipical gastronomy are "maccheroni stirati a mano" and seasoned with sauce of pork, mutton and goat's meat. More important is the production of sweet whith almond, hazelnut and the typical biscuit of the Easter.
Photo © A.A.P.I.T. Messina
The most interesting monuments are the Mother Church , today known as the Basilica Minore and the Church of S. Caterina.
Built in Middle Ages, the Church Mother, was refounded and enlarged in 1654 by adding two side aisles and the splendid bell tower.
The Church dedicated to San Nicola, the Saint Patron of the town, had a precious statue, built by Gagini in 1587.
Neighbouring to castle there is the Church of Santa Caterina. It has a wonderful portal in romantic style. In the interior there is a statue of the Sant made in marble with a bas-relief base.
Interesting to see are also some beautiful baroque portals: the Portale di casa Messina-Ballarino, built by Irardi da Napoli in the seventeenth century and the Portale di casa Mastropaolo, built in the eighteenth century by a stone-cutter born in Montalbano Elicona and named Bongiovanni and also the fountain of Gattuso.