Centuripe: the human-shaped village

The world’s geography is home to surprising natural whims, such as the Heart Island in Croatia and the wave-shaped mountain in Arizona, USA. In Italy, the village of Centuripe takes the shape of a figure with raised arms when viewed from above, although some prefer to compare it to a starfish. These wonders are not human creations, but manifestations of the local geography that shapes them.

Centuripe, the human-shaped village. 20minutos.es
The Centuripe village

Italy is home to charming villages that seem to be straight out of a dream, and Centuripe stands out among them. Located in the heart of Sicily, on the slopes of Etna Volcano, which is the largest and most active volcano in Europe. This picturesque village stands out with a population of 5000 inhabitants. It is located in a beautiful mountainous region at more than 700 meters above sea level. The houses, built with stone, adapt to the topography of the terrain, expanding in all directions. Its appearance seen from above evokes a giant that rested on the mountains.

Centuripe reserves numerous surprises for visitors. Its streets and alleys maintain the same layout of the sixteenth century, offering an authentic journey into the past. With an ancestral history, this village treasures valuable archaeological treasures.

A village with a lot of history

The town developed over centuries until it took its present form. The Regional Archaeological Museum today houses all the archaeological heritage collected over this time. This town has a very rich history and to know it we must go back to Roman times. It was originally known as Centuripae.

Roman Thermal Baths
Roman thermal baths – Wikipedia

Due to its insular location and isolation from mainland Italy, Centuripe was conquered at different times throughout its history. The Byzantines dominated it in the 6th century, followed by the Arabs in the 9th century. These changes of power gave rise to a varied succession of governments, including Angevin, Norman and Aragonese periods.

This rich history has left a unique imprint on Centuripe’s architecture, which is reflected in iconic monuments. The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Veccia, a magnificent example of Norman architectural culture, stands as a testament to the 11th century. The influence of Baroque architecture is also evident in the town, with outstanding buildings such as the church of San Giovanni Battista, as well as the churches of San Francesco, San Michele and San Biagio, all contributing to Centuripe’s rich architectural heritage.

Likewise, the antiquity of the place can be seen in the Castle of Centuripe, from where they defended themselves during the 13th century, in the Middle Ages. The castle is half destroyed, but its towers and walls are still there. Currently, it is an excellent viewpoint from where you can observe the city and its surroundings.

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