Questa pagina contiene una breve introduzione a questa grande città. Cerca di descrivere, alle tante persone che vengono da tutto il mondo, quello che proveranno nel visitare questo posto unico. Che viviate qui o che abbiate delle connessioni con Matera, NDN vuole conoscere notizie interessanti ed eventi che si stanno svolgendo in città.
Per le associazioni e le aziende vi è anche la possibilità fare pubblicità con nuove destinazioni di rete, ‘promuovere se stessi a livello internazionale’ e non solo a livello locale. Non importa in che modo desiderate mettervi in gioco, contattateci al più presto. Non vediamo l’ora di ascoltarvi!”
Mezzojuso is a municipality and province in western Sicily, only 45 kilometres from the beautiful, historical and exciting city of Palermo.
The town name has two meanings, in Arab it means ‘hamlet of joseph’ (first religious building in the region) and in Italian, means ‘halfway down’ (as it is located on the side of the slopes of Rocca Busambra).
Several communities have settled there, from Saracen, to Normans, to Albanian, the latter making up a large proportion of the community. In the early 15th Century the then village was nearly depopulated, so the Monastery of Saint John granted permission to 48 families of Albanian soldiers to settle there. From that time, it has grown and become a prosperous small community and popular destination for visitors from all over Sicily, Italy and the rest of Europe.
The main square, Piazza Umberto 1, is the centre for all activity and every day the locals gather there. A common sight is to see elderly men (many veteran soldiers) sit around the square talking and reminiscing. Many carry out a ritual walk from one side of the square to the other and then back again, repeating it numerous times, while they chat and discuss matters of importance and maybe some no so important? No one knows why, but they always start the walk from the left-hand side of the piazza. Maybe because that is the direction of the main building in the town, but that cannot be confirmed, even by the men themselves!
The two churches on the right-hand side of the piazza are used in many of the images representing the town and are of great importance to the whole region. The Greek church of San Nicolo di Mira contains 6 byzantine pictures, many icons and priceless silver crucifix. The Latin church of Maria SS Annunziata is next to it and was built by the Normans, restored some years later and has a beautiful alter. The close positioning of both places of worship represents the religious tolerance and joint community feeling in the town.
At the back of the piazza is the towns fortress, which was an ex-hunting lodge. It now contains an excellent museum where visitors can learn all about this amazing and interesting destination. There are several exhibitions to see, one being the Carnival Storici of Sicily, which details all the different carnivals and festivals throughout the whole of Sicily. The other display is about Mastro di Campo, which is the most important event in the entire region.
The Mastro di Campo happens on the last Sunday of the Easter Carnival, which has major religious significance to the town. The Mastro di Campo has grown in popularity over the years and is named after the main character and hero. It is typical Mediterranean love story about a common-man and Queen falling in love, but obviously, the evil King is not happy and tries to stop it. It takes place in the main piazza and involves soldiers, horses, cannons, sword fighting, music and dance. The main character wears a red and black face mask throughout, which is now a very famous symbol of the event and it is only removed by the actor at the end, which reveals his identity. To be chosen to perform the Mastro di Campo character is a much sort after honour and every time it is re:enacted the previous actor passes on the privilege to the new one. It is not an easy performance as it is very physically demanding, lasting for over 3hrs. Is it a happy or sad ending, no spoilers here, visitors have to discover that for themselves?
Another significant venue in the town is the Monastero Basiliano, which is only a short walk from the main piazza and has a central pillared area that leads to several rooms of interest. It has the original part of the building which dates back to the creation of the hamlet and a magnificent chapel with precious icons and beautiful alter. There is also a collection of books and manuscripts, which are totally unique to the monastery. One room has a set of cleverly crafted religious scenes including many of well-known parts of the bible.It also has a book and manuscript work shop, which has recreated thousands of important pieces of religious literature. It is also home to an unbelievably crafted and detailed wooden blessing-cross, which can only be really appreciated when viewed under a magnifying glass.
A short walk again from there is the Museo dei Pupi Siciliani, which is one of the many Puppet Theatres and Museums throughout Sicily. It has a collection of over 300 puppets and stage area where many famous Sicilian stories are acted out, by using these colourfully crafted characters.
A shop worth a visit while in the town is Bar Pasticceria Gesualda, which makes delicious cakes, biscuits and sweets. The time taken to create these delicacies can be seen in their presentation, but also in the taste, which is delight to the taste-buds. They are proud to admit that they have used influences from the towns history, culture, religions and local ingrediencies to create these local treats.
If there is a possibility of meeting a famous resident from the town, Salvatore.D.Grigoli, definitely do so. He was a teacher, composure, pianist, writer and orchestra leader, but he describes himself as just a ‘crazy story teller’.
A very famous person who used to live in the town was Giuseppie Garibaldi, a heroic soldier, who has several nicknames; ‘father of the fatherland’ and ‘hero of two wars’ being just two. In the 1860’s he landed in Sicily to liberate the region and with the help of his ‘red-shirt troops’ and soldiers from the town, he was successful. He stayed in the town in 1862, which the locals are proud of and still celebrate today.
This region is a great place to walk, hike or cycle as the countryside is beautiful and has a variety of flora and fauna. Eating and drinking locally is a pleasure, as it is famous for its grapes, wine, oil, mushrooms, chestnuts and cheese.
When in this region, a must visit is Carcilupa Azienda Agrituristica, which is more than just a café/restaurant, it is an agricultural farm. It does not only grow, cook and serve the most tasty and traditional Sicilian food, but is a place where locals gather and people from around the country use to celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, christenings etc. To sample virtually every type and style of Sicilian traditional food, there are very few places better.
Other destinations in Sicily to consider including in a tour of this stunningly interesting country is Castellana Sicula, Palermo, Trapani and Marsala.
Mezzojuso is a beautiful hillside town that is full of character, history and charm, so if visiting Sicily, it should definitely be considered as at least a day trip venue, if not overnight. A recommendation is to use a tour company that wants to know you and your needs, so they can show you the country they love, in a way you would want for ‘yourself’. Therefore, we recommend visitors to us Y-ourself, a travel/tour company who specialise in just that.