PETRALIA SOPRANA, SICILY
Birthplace of my great, (5x) grandfather
Petralia Soprana – Petralia Soprana (meaning up town) is, at 3761 feet in altitude. It is the highest city in the Madonie and overlooks a dramatic open landscape. Its origins seem to go back to Petra, a settlement founded by Sican tribes. The city features a collection of stone (as per a local regulation) houses nestled against each other. It is one of the finest preserved examples of a 17th century Sicilian town, developed in the Middle Ages.
The medieval part of the town is marked by a maze of narrow streets lined with noble palazzi and churches, all built in the local natural stone, occasionally opening out into picturesque little squares and onto breathtaking scenery. A particularly impressive panorama, including the city of Enna, Resuttano, Monte Cammarata and Madonna dall’Alto, can by enjoyed from the section of town known as Belvedere, near Piazza del Popolo.
Petralia Soprana (elev. 1147 meters / pop. 3903)
Founded in the 3rd century BC
S. Maria di Loreto
The Chiesa di S. Maria di Loreto was built on the site
of an ancient Saracen fortress. Its convex front elevation, framed between
two bell-towers, was designed by the Serpotta brothers. Inside, there is
a large altarpiece depicting the Madonna and Child, attributed to Giacomo
Mancini (15th century). From behind the church extends a terrific view
of the volcano: Mount Etna.
Piazza frate Umile Pintorno
At the heart of the town is Piazza del Popolo; there
stands the Town Hall occupying the former premises of a Dominican convent
that retains its Gothic appearance, complete with pointed arches.
Church of Santa Maria delle Vittorie
( San Teodoro )
Roger I (Norman king) founded the Church of Santa Maria
in Petralia Soprana to thank the Virgin for the victory over the
Arabs at Piano Battaglia ( the fields of the battle ).
View of Petralia Soprana from the cemetery. That iron
cross is above my family's crypt.
Church of "le Anime del Purgatorio" also called "Oratorio"
The street to the Chiesa Madre leads to the beautiful
Piazza Quattro Cannoli, with a wonderful stone fountain. The Mother Church
is preceded by a fine portico on its right flank, and also offers fine
views over Piano Battaglia, Polizzi, Etna and Enna. The church preserves
a precious wooden Christ by Frà Umile da Petralia, to the right
of the altar, and a fine wooden altar carved by Bencivinni inside the Cappella
del SS. Sacramento, to the left of the altar. The rear wall is ornamented
with a big 1700s organ.
which is dedicated to Saint Peter and Paul
The Chiesa del Santissimo Salvatore has an elliptical
plan and 1700’s decoration. It houses a wooden figure of St. Joseph, by
Quattrocchi, and, in the Sacristy there are two works by Giuseppe Salerno.
They are St. Catherine of Alessandria and the Madonna del Gatto, both showing
an intimacy and gentleness that is unusual for this painter.
The 7 'quartiere' of Petralia Soprana are:
La Madrice, SS Salvatore, San Teodoro, San Nicola, la Porticella, Porta di Seri, il Castello
Petralia Soprana Winter 2009
The view leaving Petralia Soprana to the south. Roman
aqueducts still in use for parking.
The new albergo under construction in 2009