Today we’re leaving together to Centuripe, a fascinating village in the heart of Sicily famous for its human-shaped profile and its rich history.
In Italy there are some villages that are truly one of a kind, capable of capturing the curiosity of tourists from all over the world. Many of them are famous for their history, others for their specialties of excellent food, wines and crafts, but some are truly noteworthy above all for their particular…profile. This is the case of Centuripe, in Sicily.
Centuripe, in fact, is especially famous for its particular appearance from above: a shape that immediately catches the eye, recalling right away the resemblance to the silhouette of a man. But Centuripe is above all an important archaeological center, rich in ancient history to be told through artifacts and architectural remains.
Discover with us Centuripe and what to see in this human-shaped hidden gem!
Centuripe, the famous and evocative human-shaped town in Sicily
Centuripe is a small Sicilian village counting about 5000 inhabitants, in the province of Enna. Looking at an image taken from above, it is impossible not to notice immediately an impressive resemblance to the human shape, like a person lying on his back with arms and legs spread apart. Also, given the small size of the town, it is appropriate to say that it is really a village on a human scale!
However, perspectives are always very subjective. In fact, there are also those who associate the image of Centuripe more commonly with the shape of a starfish. Technically, it is said that its plan is multi-lobed, so it means that from the center of the town it develops towards several directions; five, in this case.
One might think that Centuripe was purposely built this way, but in reality the reason for this particular shape is related to the need to comply with the morphology of the territory, characterized by many reliefs given its proximity to Etna.
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Centuripe: what to visit in the human-shaped town among the most iconic villages in Italy
Tourists curious to discover Centuripe and what to see in this symbolic human-shaped village certainly cannot be disappointed. In fact, given its long and troubled history, this town is a true archaeological gem. The place that tells its past better than any other is the Regional Archaeological Museum, full of truly spectacular finds and masterpieces of ancient art, in particular busts and vases. Many other finds are saved in other national and international museums, but many others, unfortunately, have been stolen or destroyed in the past.
In Centuripe there is a strong presence of churches, in particular the Main Church of Immacolata Concezione built in Baroque style in the early 17th century and the Chiesa del Calvario, which is characterized by its very particular history: in fact, it was built with the active participation of all citizens, a real monument that celebrates belonging to this territory.
What to see around Centuripe? These places also hide beautiful treasures to be discovered. For example, a few kilometers away from the village there are two ancient bridges, the Roman one and the Saracen one. Absolutely not to be missed are the Roman Baths, in Contrada Bagni, and the Castle of Corradino, which despite its name is actually a funerary monument from the imperial era. From this place, which can be visited for free, you can also enjoy a splendid view of the panorama over the Catania plains with the unique silhouette of Etna on the horizon.
Centuripe and its very ancient and rich history
Humans have been living in this area since prehistoric age, but the foundation of the city, with the ancient name of Kentoripa, is due to the Greeks. The city, like all of the territory of Sicily, experienced in its history the passage of many different peoples and many dominations over the centuries: Romans, Arabs and Normans, just to mention a few.
After numerous destructions, Centuripe was refounded in the 16th century with the name of Centorbi, but only in the 19th century the City Council issued an effective decree which officially established the current name that everyone knows. Nowadays the village and the whole surrounding area represent a warm, happy and welcoming tourist destination.
A very interesting fun fact about the history of Centuripe concerns what is considered the oldest twinning in history. In the 1960s, in a placed located in Contrada Crocefisso, a very particular archaeological remain was found: it was an epigraph, a stone slab engraved with an inscription in Doric (a Greek dialect), containing details of the renewal of the relationship of brotherhood (or "cognatio") bonding the cities of Centuripe and that of Lanuvio, in Lazio, in the 2nd century BC. According to a legend, in fact, the Sicilian and Latin peoples boasted the same mythical origins descending from Aeneas, the legendary hero who originated Roman history.
Visit Centuripe at Christmas time to celebrate the magic of holidays
Christmas is a deeply felt recurrence in Centuripe and the particular setting up of the town on this occasion ends up attracting many people, who come here at this very time of the year to spend truly special Christmas holidays discovering the local folklore.
What to see in Centuripe during the Christmas holidays? The local tradition gives particular prominence to the nativity scenes, which here are made in an excellent way as true masterpieces. Throughout the village there are many of them, different for materials and scenes, to celebrate the holidays combining faith and art and offering tourists something magical to experience.
The Christmas atmosphere in such a particular place, due to its iconic shape and the features of the area, creates a wonderful combination of lights, colors and music. For those who love to travel at Christmas time, celebrating in Centuripe is a great idea!