The village of Montalbano Elicona is situated a few kilometres inland from the northern Sicily coast, in north-east Sicily to the south of Tindari. Note that the road to Montalbano-Elicona is rather a windy one!
Explore Montalbano Elicona
Montalbano-Elicona is a medieval town whose narrow winding streets wind gently uphill to the castle which dominates the town. The current castle was built at the beginning of the 14th century by Frederick II of Swabia. Apparently he often stayed in the castle with his doctor who was with him to treat his gout!
The castle is built on the site of an original Roman fortress and subsequently underwent both Byzantine and Arab fortification.
It is surrounded by defensive walls many of which are still in tact. The castle itself is made up of two buildings. The oldest building has two large square towers and a five-sided tower and the second building is lower than the original building but also surrounded by defensive walls.
The Palatine chapel is part of the castle complex and is particularly striking. The castle can be visited and contains exhibitions of medieval weapons and costumes.
The town with its narrow alleys is attractive to explore with a sprinkling of historically interesting buildings to admire and views across the surrounding valleys from its position on a ridge.
It has a couple of noteworthy churches. One is the Basilica di Maria Assunta in Cielo (Basilica of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven) and its Gagini artworks. Another is the church of Saint Catherine which also contains a statue from the Gagini school of art.
Once you have explored the town take the short walk to the Argimusco plateau to see the Argimusco megalithic stones. Their exact origins are not known, possibly they are a natural formation and possibly a rare megalithic system. They are very striking and worth the short walk.
The Argimusco plateau offers great views over Mount Etna and some of the rock formations look rather like different birds and animals.
Places to visit nearby
Montalbano Elicona is one of eighteen beautiful Sicily villages (i.e. listed as 'most beautiful villages of Italy)'. Near to Montalbano-Elicona there is quite a cluster of most beautiful villages including: Geraci-Siculo, Sperlinga, Novara-di-Sicilia and Savoca.
Tindari is home to the beautiful Tindari sanctuary with a dominant position overlooking the sea and the town also has a wealth of ancient monuments including a Greek theatre.