Cielo d'Alcamo: an itinerary between art, culture and literature (English)

Ultima modifica 25 aprile 2021


The itinerary dedicated to "Cielo D'Alcamo, author ofone of the oldest poems of jester's poetry "Rosa fresca Aulentissima" (" Fresh and very parfumed rose"), is intended to revive the spirit and creativity of the Author, through the enhancement of the landscape, the history the art, the culture and the city traditions that gave birth to the poet of "Contrasto". Cielo DAIcamo, with his poem, has given a decisive contribute to mark the transition period between the Vulgar Latin language and the italian language , and therefore he becomes the "incipit" to trace the itinerary of an extraordinary journey of Alcamo city, in order to discover the Genius Loci. Cielo dAlcamo belongs to the Sicilan school founded during the 13th century at the Palermo Court of King Frederick the II. He wrote the "Contrasto" "Rosa fresca Aulentissima" in 160 septenary ( between 1231 and 1250): a realistic dia log, most probabily a mime, between the lover that pursues and the woman who, before disdainful, ends up giving in. The name appears only in the indexes affixed by the sixteenth-century figure's A. Colocci to cod. Vaticano 3793, which preserves the Contrasto. The name "Cielo" is the short for "Vincenzo" " Vincenzello- dui lo"- Forsure it seems that the author of the "Contrasto" was sicilian; and sicilian is to be considered the language of Contrasto that Dante himself in De vulgari eloquentia (I, XII, 6) mentions as an example of sicilian, but not of illustrious sicilian, but 'secundum quod prodit a terrigenis mediocribus ', which means that "a Sicilian who, as has been rightly observed, appears characterized by that vernacular expressionism that willlast until the Baroque age' (Treccani Encyclopedia). Events to "Cielo D'Alcamo" dedicated. The literary prize to Cielo DAIcamo dedicated is divided into two sections, the narrative part and poetry part and it is awarded to the best literary work incipit The award ceremony takes place every year during the spring time. Typical products and handicraft. Alcamo is one of most important sicilian wine producer. The locai white wine "Bianco dAlcamo" received the DOC label in 1972. Among the most important wines of the locai countryside, Alcamo's doc wine is mainly obtained from cataractgrapes. Today Alcamo is the seatof the regional wine celiar The city also produces high quality of extra virgin olive oli and melon ("milunipurceddu"), a variety of melon characterized by green, wrinkled skin and ovai shape.
Among the typical dishes there are "pasta finocchi e sardi "(pasta fennels and Sardines), "Maccarruna"( home made pasta), " spaghetti cu l'ammogghiu (fresh tornato sauce with garlic, fresh mint and fresh basel)', la sasizza (sicilian sausage) cu li cavuliceddi ( typical sicilian vegetable), le sarde a beccaficu ( sardines stuffed with breadcrumb, pinekernels, raisins, garlic, bay leaves, olive oli, parsley) i bruciuluntf meat roll stuffed with spring onions, eggs, cheese, parsley) li muffuletti ( bread rolls flavored with fennel seeds), lu sfinciuni, (soft pizza dough), i pumarori sicchi ( sun dried fresh tomatoes)
We also ha ve a rich production of pastries, like "minai di virgini",( made with a soft shortcrust pastry that holds ricotta cheese and chocolate mixtur )", cassatelle"",cannoli con ricotta cheese", sfince di 5. Giuseppe ( crumpets with ricotta cheese and chocolate drops e la pignulata (fried dough balls covered in honey and peanuts.). Handicrafts in Alcamo is particularly known for woodprocessing, wrought iron manufactoring art of ceramics and embroidery. Alcamo is also an important travertine marble working centre.

SINDACO Domenico Surdi

1° stage - Biblioteca Civica  Sebastiano Bagolino
The Library was bulli during the second half of 19th century thanks to ecclesiastica! funds,' and it is dedicated to Sebastiano Bagolino, a writer, a humanist, a pointer, a musician, who was born in 1562. The public library, with its rich and precious collection of books, houses the historical memory and identity of the city, enriched by many works of local collection as well as a section to "Cielo DAIcamo" dedicated. The library is located inside the monumentai compiex of Collegio dei Gesuiti (Jesuit College) (17th century), and originally was annexed to Chiesa del Gesù'. The College faces the main city square "Piazza Ciullo" through an arcade builtin the 17th century; now hosts the MACA , Alcamo Contemporary Art museum, enriched by works of significant artists, such as Turi Simeti e Nicola Rubino, and other young contemporary artists.

2° stage - Piazza Ciullo
Piazza Ciullo is the heart ofthe city and its cultural, politicai, economica! and religious life. In 1500 it was located outside the old city walls and it was crossed by a stream. With the establishment of Jesuit Fathers ( 17th century) the "Main" square enriched its baroque aspect with the building of Chiesa del Gesù' (Jesus Church) and the ancient Seminary located on the west side ofthe church.. In 1875 the Square was dedicated to Ciullo D'Alcamo and in 1996, following    Gae Aulenti's architectural project, a huge locai travedine marbled pavement was buiit and later also a modem lightingsystem with illuminatedpoles, made with the "Palo Alcamo"(T-shapedsections ofiron). Piazza Ciullo (Ciullo Square), through a wide travertine staircase, represents a single space system together with "Piazza Mercato"(MarketSquare). From Piazza Ciullo one can admire the following monuments: -Piazza S. Oliva (St. Oliva Church), originally buiit in 1533 and definitely restored between 1722 and 177 A following Giovan Biagio Amico's architectural project; the church has a single aisie in baroque styie and savesprecious artistic works made byAntoneiio Gagini, Giuseppe Renda e Pietro Novelli. -Il Palazzo Municipale (the Town Hall), with its neoclassic styie facade, was buiit in 18A3 following Di Giovanni and Palermo's architecturalprojects. -Chiesa della Sacra Famiglia ( Sacred Family Church) has a single aisie dated back to 1866 and originally it was the Collegio dei Gesuiti's inner chapel (Jesuit Seminary). -Chiesa del Gesù' or del Collegio It was buiit between 168A and 1767; the church has a wall facing decorated with piiaster strips and picture frame moldings The five facade niches house the sculpures ofS. Ignazio of Loyola, St. Francesco Saverio, "Virgin Mary of Miracle" (Alcamo patroness - sculptured by Giuseppe Bambina in 1931) and Raffaele e Michele archangels. The facade is gently well finished with two belfries, both well portioned. The interior part ofthe church has a single aisie with a Latin cross transept and a stylish polycromatic stuccoes with precious paintings, among which, one painted by Giuseppe Renda. -Chiesa Ecce Homo (Ecce Homo Church) The Church is located in Piazza Mercato (Market Square) and it was buiit in 1750 upon the old city walls. Its interior part has a single round aisie, decorated with precious 18th centuries stuccoes. 

3° stage - Chiesa di Santa Maria della Stella
Originally named Santa Maria della Misericordia (St Mary ofthe Mercyl the church is located in S.Vito's neighborhood, which is one of the oldest areas of the city The church was built before year 1130, the same period as the urbanistic development of Alcamo ancient arabic hamlet In 1313 the church was consecrated as "Chiesa Madre di Alcamo" by Goffredo De Rondoni, Bishop of Mazara diocese. Over the years the church has undergone through severa! changes and modifications, stili preserving a splendid portai adorned with precious columns and balusters. On the left side of the portai a bove a capital, one can a dm ire the emblem of Diana's family a noble family from Piacenza. It is assumed that Cielo D'Alcamo lived in those places

4° stage - Fontana Araba di S.Vito
It is located in S.Vito's neighborhood, which is one of the oldest areas of Alcamo. The fountain, already existing during Cielo D’AIcamo’s period, was built near a source ofspring water, by the Arabs. The fountain was located in Alquamah ancient hamlet. In 1400 an earthquake destroyed it, but later it was rebuilt The fountain has two lavatories decorated with pilaster strips and capitals. The water hole is made of travertine ashlars.
A popular tradition tells that "Cielo", outraged for the ingratitude of his inhabitants, decided to leave his hometown, and before leaving, he "cast a stone in the fountain to express his painful departure"; immediately after he drank the fountain water, and he realized that it "became tasteless".

5°stage - Chiesa di San Tommaso
The church was built in 1450 by the ancestors of "Marcanza" family; the church is a little gem caracterized by a Gothic - Catalan architecture and it has a splendid splayed portai enriched with carvings, fretworks ,and gentle ornaments. Above the portal it opens a single window inserted together with the portal, in a short projecting forebody delimited by thin and long columns. The capitals are decorated with acanthus leaves and a twist of wicker. The interior part has a single aisle with two pointed and ribbed cross vaults.

6° stage - Porta Palermo
It is one of the main entrances of the city that leads into Corso VI Aprile; Porta Palermo has medieval origins, and in the past it was an imperiai road because of the passage of "Carlo V" backfrom a warin Tunis against the Turkish. The present "Porta" facade dates back to 1802 and it was designed on a project of Gaetano Cipolla, based on the new neoclassica! style. In 1961 the side niches host two bronze bas-relief s realized by Nicola Rubino, a local scuiptor (1905 - 1984). The left bas-relief depicts Cielo D'Alcamo, while he is crowned " Poet" from a winged Glory.The right bas- relief depicts working activities scenes' of Alcamo.

7° stage - Belvedere di Piazza S. Bagolino
From the large tenace on can admire an enjoyable and unique landscape that inspired "Cielo D’Alcamo". The terrace faces the beautiful Gulf of Castellammare, and the typical landscape of vineyards, flag ships of Alcamo territory that produce the excellent wine "Alcamo DOC". Overlooking the Gulf one can also admire the seaside village of Alcamo Marina, a very popular locality for its long beach, fine and gold sand hills, delicate sea lilies and enchanting colorful sea. The village also has an archaeological importance thanks to the disco very ofan old roman furnace, situated in C/da Forgia, used for tiles, bricks and pottery production. Below the Belvedere tenace there is San Francesco suburban Park, which covers about 12,000 square meters, and enriched with luxuriant mediterranean vegetation.

8° stage - Casa Cielo D'Alcamo
This old building is supposed to be the house of the poet Cielo D'Alcamo. The facade is decorated with a gentle well finished portal topped by a window. The facade still keeps caracteristics carvings dated back between the end of 1500 and 1600. On the lintel there is a half-relief shield depicting a compass and a set square, placed between two dragons ridden by two cherubs, carrying a small trident.

9°stage - Teatro Cielo D'Alcamo
The theatre was built mid -19th century and it was   the first municipal theatre named "Ferrigno". Later it became an important historical and cultural centre, enriched with paintings of "Salvatore Nasta and stuccoes of Filippo Rimi, a locai artist. Yet over the years it has been restored, eniarged in mid 1900's (1961) and one ofe the most important theaters in the area. In 2001 the theatre was renovated and to Cielo D'Alcamo dedicated.

10° stage - Castello dei Conti di Modica 
Opposite the theatre dedicated to Cielo D'Alcamo, in the same square, it stands impressively the "Conti di Modica Castle", symbolic monument of Alcamo. It was built in 1350 by Enrico e Federico Chiaramonte, as their main residence, because of its prime location that faced the sea. The extemal part of the castle has an unconquerable aspect, while the inner part has an elegant aspect. The castle has a rhomboidal shape, an internai courtyard, with four alternative towers ( two of are square and two round). In the extemal part is still possible to  admire doublé and triple gothic lancet Windows. In 19th century the Castle became property of Alcamo Municipality. Today Alcamo is the seat of the regional wine cellar.

11° stage - Villa di Piazza della Repubblica 
Piazza della Repubblica hosts proudly the fascinating "Conti di Modica Castle”.The square origin dates back to the 14th century when it was the seat for military excercises. In the 1960’s, the bus station, with to Iarge shelters, was built in the middle of the square, becoming one of most important place of the urban center, and Iater, an annexed beautiful park was buiit The park was built according to the italian style; the spaces has a geometrie subdivision enriched with evergreen hedges. Moreover it has a wide pavement with trees that embellish the centrai part of the square. There are also planted trees and shrub species of Mediterranean vegetation. Among the "cercis siliquastrum " trees, beautiful roses bioom in may month, that the inhabitans dedicate to Cielo D’Alcamo.

12° stage - Monte Bonifato e Riserva Naturale Orientata Bosco di Alcamo
 Alcamo, located at the slopes of Bonifato mountain, is one of the highest mountains of the western Sicily, and also the seat of Naturai Oriented reserve Bosco D Alcamo. In the past the peak of Mount Bonifato was inhabited throughout the pre-protostoric, the archaic, the classica! and the medieval age. The forest still preserves medieval architecture ruins, such as "La Funtanazza", "the Arabie tanks", "the Ventimiglia Castle" and the ruins of the fortified "Bunifat village", which already existing over the Cullo DAIcamo's period.
On top of Bonifato mountain stands "Madonna dell’Alto Sanctuary" which, together with "Maria SS. Dei Miracoli Sanctuary (Mary of Miracles Sanctuary, patron saint of Alcamo), marks a Marion path, starting from the top of the mountain and leading down to the sacred stream located in the northen area of Alcamo, S. Vito.
Bonifato mountain towers over Alcamo and Gulf of Castellammare to the north side, and over a wide rural territory of the hinterland to the south.
The Naturai Oriented Reserve was given its status of naturai reserve in 1984 and covers an area of 280 hectares. The reserve has characterized by mediterranean vegetation like oaks, ilex, soft woods. The undergrowth is home to many species ofruscus, hawthom, rose hips, dwarfpalm, broom and splint. The vegetation on Mount Bonifato is also home to many different bird species, such as the great tit, the buzzard, the common kestrel, the peregrine falcon, the barn owl, the dormouse.

On the north west part of the fortified Bunifat Village, dose to one of its two sources, it is located a big water collector named "La Funtanazza". It’s a medieval rectangular building, which could contain up to 1200 cubie meters of water. Originally its walls were 2,20 meters thick.

On top of Bonifato mountain one can admire the ruins of the ancient medieval community. The Bunifat village is located in a strategie position and it faces the Gulf of Castellammare. It was built by the Arabs and increased its importanze between the Norman age and the 13th century. Remarkable are the powerful walls designed in a semicircle shape.

During the apogee of Bunifat medieval settiement, a lot of tanks were built for collecting water.
Nowadays, within the thick wood, it is nice to admire three well maintained tanks. The tanks bave an internal inground structure with barrel vault supported by round arches and terracotta pipes, that link them to the outside.

The castle faces north on the Gulf of Castellammare and south on the inlands cultivated fields. The Castle has an arabic origin, but in a document of 1397 Enrico Ventimiglia, feudal lord of Alcamo in XIV century, and son of Guarniero, declared to bave built "Ventimiglia Castle".
The castle has a rectangular trapezoid shape; three sides are linked together with the fourth one which is quite bent, forming a right angle. The only well maintained part of the castle is the donjon, 19 meters high, standing on the north- western tip of the boundary wall.

According to the local historia Ignazio De Blasi, the originai Sanctuary structure's dates back to the earlier Benedictine monks; later, In 1614 is was used by an adjacent hermitage of secular priests. Today inside the smaii church, one can admire a wooden statue, art work of LSantifaller. Every year on the 8th of September the sacred statue is carried a long the wood's paths

The Adventure Park is located in the heart of the Naturai Oriented Reserve Bosco DAIcamo. Among the park, rich in tali pine trees and lush cypresses, many enjoyable suspended routes stretch at different heights from the ground. Nearbythe adventure park it is possible to relax in the picnic area, equipped with tables, benches,barbecue, and bave an outdoor meal surrounded by a beautiful nature.


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