Are you looking for a fascinating destination? Today we’re leaving together to Centuripe, an amazing human-shaped village in the heart of Sicily.

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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.

Centuripe is especially famous for its particular appearance from above, a shape that immediately catches the eye, resembling the silhouette of a man.

But is also and above all an important archaeological place, rich in ancient history to be told through artifacts and architectural remains. Set off with us and find out what to see in Centuripe, the amazing human-shaped village in Sicily!

Centuripe, the famous and evocative human-shaped village in Sicily


Centuripe is a small village counting about 5000 inhabitants in the Eastern Sicily, 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.

If you are interested in visiting the evocative territory of one of the most majestic volcanoes in the world, find out the beautiful village of Linguaglossa. And if you want to venture out hiking to its most spectacular peaks, click the button below!

Guided hike to Etna leaving from Catania

How to get to Centuripe

How to get to Centuripe

Due to its particular position in the hinterland of Eastern Sicily, specifically in the middle of a hilly promontory south-west of Etna, the only means of transport available to comfortably get to Centuripe is the car.

The best route to get to Centuripe starting from Enna takes about 1 hour of travel (about 60 km), driving on the A19 Palermo-Catania highway eastwards until the exit for Catenanuova and continuing on the SP 24bis to your destination.

To get to Centuripe starting from Catania, instead, it is possible to choose two travel alternatives, both lasting approximately 1 hour (about 55 km): in the first case, similarly to the route from Enna, you can drive on the A19 westwards up to exit for Catenanuova and then go on to the SP 24bis; or, driving on the A19 it is possible to take the exit for Gerbini and then continue on the SS 192 until the exit for Centuripe, finally following the road signs to your destination.

It is also possible to easily get to Centuripe by car starting from Palermo (2 hours and half, around 185 km, A19), Messina (2 hours, around 140 km, A18 towards Catania and then SS 121) and Siracusa (1 hours and half, around 100 km, SS 114 towards Catania and then SS 121).

Centuripe: what to see in the iconic human-shaped village

Centuripe what to see

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

History of Centuripe

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.

When to visit Centuripe: what to see on Christmas holidays

Christmas in Centuripe

Christmas is a deeply heartfelt event 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!

What to see near Centuripe in the Eastern Sicily

What to see near Centuripe

Centuripe is truly a fascinating destination, to be visited with eyes lit up with amazement and with that pleasant sense of enthusiasm of discovery for new. Unfortunately it's time to say goodbye to the charming human-shaped village, but...the journey to Sicily doesn't end here!

The eastern part of the island, in fact, awaits you with all its wonders. A truly incredible mix of history, breathtaking natural landscapes, fascinating cities full of beauty to discover, an immense cultural heritage and, of course, phenomenal delicacies of Sicilian cuisine.

Catania, Taormina, Syracuse, Ortigia...these are just some of the pearls of the Sicilian eastern coast, famous in particular for the artistic heritage preserved in the historic centers of these beautiful locations. Do you want to visit them while enjoying the relaxation of your holiday? Click the button below and discover the extraordinary guided tour on the coast in the shadow of Etna!

Book a guided tour in Eastern Sicily from Taormina to Syracuse

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