Lexicon of Sicily, from Bagheria to Borgetto

Sicilian encyclopedia for travel and knowledge

Bagheria In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bagheria became the summer retreat of the noble class, who built magnificent villas here to escape the scorching heat of Palermo. The agriculturally rich setting, on the southern slopes of Mount Catalfano at the eastern extension of the Gulf of Palermo, was home to citrus plantations and vineyards. The novelist Dacia Maraini, in her memoir, Bagheria, recalled "the atmosphere of a summer garden enriched by lemon groves and olive trees, poised between the hills, cooled by the salt winds." As family fortunes disappeared and dynasties faded, however, Bagheria fell into a splendid decay. Many of its villas still exist, but ugly modern buildings and factories have encroached upon this once bucolic locale. In the latter part of the 20th century, Bagheria earned the dubious distinction of being a center of Mafia activities. You can just imagine the international deals plotted behind the decaying walls of Bagheria's heavily guarded villas.

Borgetto, small town of great talents

Several roads lead from Palermo to Borgetto easily among the most widely practiced remember the A29 Palermo-Trapani, exit Partinico junction is about 5 km, or continuing course Calatafimi through the SS 186 Palermo, Monreale, Giacalone you reach Borgetto after about 24 km. Apart from the legend of the birth of Borgetto similar to that of ancient Rome, according to what was called the “Rape of the Sabine Women”, the first mention of the country is a document of 1294, which makes us know the name of its first feudal lord: Simone d’Escola. In 1337 the estate was inherited by Margaret of Escola, wife of Frederick of Antioch felony, that about 14 years later, in 1351, auctioned the town. If the award Margaret De Blando, who gave the Abbot of San Martino delle Scale, provided that you found a monastery. Rose, so in 1360, the monastery of Santa Maria delle Ciambra In 1410 became heirs the entire estate of Borgetto, Andrea Guardabaxo past, the monks of the monastery, but this time the condition was that you build another monastery, in the district Carrubella. And indeed – after three years-was erected the monastery of Our Lady of the SS. Romitello. What is the origin of the name of the country? Probably, says Andrew Solomon, Borgetto comes from etimo Arab “burg” or from the greek ‘Burgos’, ie tower-castle. This is also substantiated by the municipal coat of arms, represented by a lion and a tower. A character that gives luster to the small town is Salvatore Marino Solomon, born in Borgetto in 1847, and died still in the country in 1916. Folk psychology and poet closely tied to the country world, is famous for his publication “The Baroness of Carini. Other celebrities are the sculptor and engraver Giuseppe Fortunato Pirrone, the judge and president of the Supreme Court of Justice Best Saints (1780-1854), which was also chairman of duties and indirect superintendent of Palermo (1849). An illustrious personage, who lived in the ‘Abazia S. Ciambra of Mary’ in the territory of Borgetto (Romitello) is the writer Folengo Theophilus, born in Campese (Vicenza) in 1491. Student of Pomponazzi, became a Benedictine monk in the convent of Saint Eufemia in Brescia in 1509, then move into the convent of S. Benedict and Mantova in the S. Justina in Padua. In 1537, at the invitation of the Viceroy Ferrante Gonzaga, he was in Sicily, San Martino delle Scale and in the ‘Abazia S. Ciambra of Mary’ in the territory of Borgetto (Romitello) in the office of the Prior. There he composed “The act of the Pinta,” a mystery play for the church of S. Mary Palermo of the Pinta, and the poem in terza rima “The Palermo”, inspired by episodes of sacred history from the creation of the world the coming of the Redeemer. He also began the Hageomachia, which tells the life of the Holy Martyrs, it remained incomplete. The fame of Folengo is mainly associated with the invention of Latin macheronico, which disguises the Latin language, the Italian vernacular and dialect of Mantua, tool making parody of contemporary classicism. His masterpiece is still “The Macheronee”. During his intellectual life attracted the ire of Church, in fact, Theophilus Folengo strove hard in the battle against corruption in favor of ecclesiastical and moral reform. The most important monument in the country is the sanctuary of the Madonna del SS. Romitello, founded to honor the memory of Fra Julian Majali, a hermit who lived long in that place and who was also a diplomat and ambassador on behalf of Pope and King’s Opera is the picture of the Virgin distraught with grief, with her son died on the knee. The shrine is now visited by pilgrims from all over the island. To visit the Mother Church of the eighteenth century, with its Baroque bell tower, which dates to 1762, the white marble relief depicting St Mary Magdalene, attributed to Gagini and bronze holy water, divided into four panels, placed stoup on gray marble, the work of Pyrrho. Do not miss visiting the church Sant’Antionio of Padua and the churches of Our Lady of Loreto, S. Nicholas of Bari, Providence, and the SS. Saviour of the Passionist Fathers. A tradition which is very close Borgetto are “dinner of St. Joseph”, who fall each year on 18-19 March. Are organized by private citizens “for grace received” following a “promise”. Each family that organizes “dinner” for this purpose a room in the house, decorated with white drapes, where he made an altar and are presented loaves of various shapes and many other dishes to offer three poor children. From a house of 1600, perhaps the oldest in the country, part of a procession, which winds through the streets of the town, with typical donkey pulled from St. Joseph, the Madonna and Child. Both felt the party, who emigrated to America in Borgetto on organizing such a district “Astoria in New York. The event, initiated and prepared by the City Council and the Pro-Loco, combine faith, tradition, culture and folklore, which make fascinating context. A typical manifestations of popular Borgetto was “re Virgineddi Festival”. The origins of this practice are lost in time without any reference or historical instrument indicating its beginning or at least traces of such a popular practice for other common to many other countries with some differences from place to place.

Balestrate is a nice touristic destination in the Province of Palermo, between Trappeto and Alcamo Marina. Very long beaches, you can walk from Balestrate passing Alcamo Marina until Castellammare del Golfo. Somewhere in the middle is a part of the beach which became meeting point of nudes and gays. The village have a very big and new touristic harbor, good restaurants and bars. Beach clubs are working from June to September, with a lot of activities. Live concerts in summer.

Belice. The Belice is a river, 77 km in length, of western Sicily. From its main source near Piana degli Albanesi it runs south and west for 45.5 km as the Belice Destra (Right Belice) until it is joined on the left by its secondary branch, the 42 km Belice Sinistro (Left Belice), which rises on the slopes of Rocca Busambra. The Belice proper then flows for another 30 km or so before entering the Strait of Sicily to the east of the ancient Greek archaeological site of Selinus. The middle section of the Bellice valley was hit by a severe earthquake in January 1968 which completely destroyed numerous centres of population, including Gibellina, Montevago and Salaparuta. 370 people died, a thousand were injured and some 70,000 people were made homeless.