Montalbano Elicona, known as the Tibet of Sicily, is an enchanting village that boasts the title of “The Most Beautiful Village in Italy” awarded to it in 2015. Positioned at an altitude of 907 meters in the province of Messina, this municipality, with its 2835 residents, including 1,000 in the village, offers a thousand-year history and a breathtaking naturalistic spectacle.
This locality gave honorary citizenship to Luca Zingaretti, the actor who gives the face to the main character in Andrea Camilleri’s successful series. The origins of this village date back to the 9th century AD, and its name has several possible derivations, from the Latin “mons albus” referring to the snowy mountains, to the Arabic “al-bana” meaning “excellent place” or to the hero Sextus Nonius Albano of Tindari.
What to visit
The Castle of Frederick II, built on Byzantine and Arab pre-existences, is one of the most significant sites in the village. The regular fortress at the top is dominated by two towers, one square and the other pentagonal, while the Byzantine-era royal chapel offers a spectacle of extraordinary beauty.
Other must-see places include:
- the Museum of White Arms and the Educational Museum of Ancient Musical Instruments,
- the Belfiore Photographic Museum,
- the Argimusco Megaliths,
- the Tholos,
- the Malabotta Forest Reserve,
- and the Portello Lookout.
Fun and activities
Montalbano Elicona offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. Horseback riding, trout fishing, trekking, tennis and hiking are just some of the options for immersing oneself in the breathtaking nature of the area.
Paths, streams, watermills, and clear-water lakes lead to evocative hikes to discover fascinating landscapes and mysterious vestiges of ancient civilizations.
Montalbano Elicona is full of traditional events that enliven the village throughout the year. The Historical Procession in mid-August, the Feast of Mary Most Holy of Providence on August 24, and the Christmas Pageant with an engaging living nativity scene are just some of the festivities that celebrate the village’s rich history and traditions.
Then there are the festivals: from the prickly pear festival to the oil festival and the traditional bread festival.
One of the times when we recommend you visit this small village is the religious event of “Corpus Christi” held every year in June. During this celebration, a silting is organized in the center of the village. The floors of the streets in the historic center are decorated as if they were real paintings, with only colored sand!
Montalbano’s gastronomic tradition is a journey into the flavors of the peasant and pastoral past. Dishes such as pasta e fagioli, fave a maccu, and maccheroni, enriched with ingredients such as wild fennel and pork rind, tell stories of authenticity.
Shepherd’s products, from ricotta to provole, and sausages are a true masterpiece of the dairy art. Hazelnut desserts, ciminu cookies, and extra virgin olive oil add a sweet and genuine touch to the tables of Montalbano Elicona.
Montalbano Elicona is a complete destination, where history is intertwined with nature and local culture, offering an authentic experience!
If you are looking for other unforgettable experiences