The little town of Sperlinga lies
on the side of a rocky spur shaped like an upturned ship’s
keel, believed to have been inhabited since the Sican epoch. Lots
of cave-dwellings and grottoes can be visited downhill. Uphill,
in a highly strategic location, rises a castle-fortress. On the
slope to the castle are two big grottoes once used as stables, now
accomodating a small ethnic-anthropological museum. Past the first
doorway there is a fine ogive archway with an inscription above
extolling the virtue of the town “Quod Siculis placuit, sola
Sperlinga negavit” (What pleased Sicilians was only rejected
by Sperlinga). The significance of such a proclamation must be sought
in history, for in 1282 at the height of the War of the Sicilian
Vespers, a band of Frenchmen sought refuge in the castle: here,
instead of being treated as hostages, they were shown kindness and
understanding by the town residents. Elsewhere the episode caused
a great outcry.
The castle is built on several levels.
The caves excavated from the rock (to the left of the entrance)
were used for stabling animals, as prison cells and forges and probably
for making weapons. At the front is the prince’s reception
room. Opposite, on a single level, lies the chapel and the residential
quarters; the under-crofts in this section of the castle served
as granaries. Centrally placed between the two wings, a steep staircase
cut into the bedrock climbs up to the lookout tower; from here the
view pans 360° over the Gangi plateau with the Madonie range
behind, the Nebrodi to the north, Mount Etna and the Erei Mountains.
To the right stretches the long
undulating ridge that runs from Monte Grafagna to San Martino and
links up with the Nebrodi mountain chain. This highly scenic road
snakes its way towards Gangi, the largest town in the Madonie.
Villa Romana Del Casale
Scivoletto e Michelin Italia. Le foto sono di proprietà
dei rispettivi autori. Ogni riproduzione non autorizzata verrà
perseguita a norma di legge.
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Guide of Sicily
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