The heart of Northern Sicily, in the Parco delle Madonie area, you might encounter difficulties with planning your way around. There are so many beautiful villages to visit, that most probably you will have to visit some of them and jot them to your itinerary. If you have limited time you will be obliged to leave out some of them, also maybe because you won’t spend a whole weak visiting just villages.
It will get boring because some of them are very similar; medieval, located on a hill with a historical centre usually characterised by small shops and a church and alleys surrounding the centre. Most probably you will notice the ageing population in such areas, as most of the younger generation opts to leave these villages. Actually, given the employment rates in Sicily, they leave the region not just their home town. The below villages are some ideas for your itinerary in the Parco delle Madonie area; a list which is far from being exhaustive.
A warning for those suffering from motion sickness; beware that getting to these villages involves driving along endless winding roads since most of them are located on hills. Sometimes you will have to drive for over an hour along these roads.
Castelbuono was our base for this part of the trip. Why I chose this location? We stayed in a gorgeous country house with stunning views and it was a good place halfway from the coast (as we were driving along the northern coast) and the mountains.
Best places to photograph in Castelbuono
- Castello Ventimiglia
- Small shops and their outdoor displays
- Piazza Margherita
Located at around 40 mins (23km) away from Castelbuono, Geraci Siculo seemed like a ghost town to me. We practically met nobody along its alleys. It is a hillside village and even though you can get pretty close to the centre by car, the alleys are still uphill.
Best places to photograph in Geraci Siculo
- Bevaio della Santissima Trinità
- Cappella Palatina
- Skyline of the village from the nearby countryside
Gangi has been defined by our host as the most ‘elegant’ village in the area. She was right. I really loved it, very clean and most of all elegant were the locals. Gangi was my favourite village, so if you are pressed by time, you can just skip the other villages and just include Gangi in your itinerary. It offers beautiful views of both the Madonie as well as mount Etna.
Best places to photograph in Gangi
- Piazza del Popolo
- Chiesa San Paolo
- Panoramic views of the Madonie
- Santuario dello Spirito Santo
There are actually 2 Petralia, Soprana and Sottana; above and below. These are the last villages right before entering the Parco delle Madonie via the Strada Provinciale 54. Both these villages are quite small (Soprana being the smaller one) and both located on a hill.
Best places to photograph in Petralia
- Parrocchia dell’Assunta in Petralia Sottana
- Panoramic views from Chiesa di S. Maria di Loreto in Petralia Soprana
- Skyline of Petralia Sottana