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Situated in south-eastern Sicily inland from Catania, the town of Paterno is best known for its castle but don't neglect to also visit the interesting old town.
Above all it is for the historic churches that the old town of Paternò is interesting, with several among them having great interest and artistic value. Highlights among these are the Romanesque style Mother Church, built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier Norman church.Outside it is the portal in the facade that is of most interest, while inside there is a carved wooden 17th century crucifix.
Another church, that of the Santissima Annunziata (17th century) contains some notable paintings from the 16-17th centuries while the Church of Santa Barbara (16th century) has a noteworthy facade, including a loggia with statues of Saints Peter, Paul and Barbara. In the interior there is a large dome and several notable paintings.
Other churches in Paterno include the Church of Cristo al Monte (16th century), with some notable frescoes and decorations; the Church of St. Maria delle Grazie (16th century), known for its Baroque decorations; and the Church and Convent of St. Francis.
Paterno also prides itself on its local crafts, especially in ceramics, wrought ironwork and lava rock carvings and you can see exhibitions of these in the town.
No visit to Paterno would be complete without a visit to the Norman castle, constructed here in the late 11th century because of its controlling position over the valley of the River Simeto and surrounding plains. The donjon, central to the castle, is a substantial tower approximately 30 metres high (also constructed in the local lava stone), with various rooms within including a chapel with frescoed walls - these are not always in great condition but still one of the highlights of a visit, the 13th century figures represent important characters such as saint John the Baptist and Saint George.
Other rooms on both this floor and the next also feature many original and interesting characteristics, such as the Great gallery, before reaching the terrace at the top of the tower.
The castle at Paterno now also contains a local museum and art exhibitions.
Note: photo by Adriano9704 is copyright
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.