This area covers a large part of the territory (43 Communes) of the Palermitan hinterland. Most of the land is given over to agriculture but there are also a great many natural reserves including Bosco di Ficuzza ( Godrano), Monte Genuardo, S.M. del Bosco Grotta di Entella (Contessa Entellina and Giuliana, Monti di Palazzo Adriano e Valle del Sosio (Palazzo Adriano; Chiusa Sclafani) to name just a few. Here are also several greatly interesting archaeological areas and prehistoric sites which add to the attraction of destinations such as:
Other buildings of historic, architectonic and ethno-anthropological interest include fortified country houses, hamlets, chapels, paper mills, windmills, bridges and drinking troughs, all of which, alongside the archaeological and prehistoric sites, are a fully integral part of the territory and highly representative of the area’s history.
An essential characteristic of this area is its rural identity, not only thanks to the presence of specific crops (vines and olive trees..) but also, and more often, of vast areas of cereal and grain cultivations (ex large landed estates).
There is also a considerable area given over to sheep farming, and, consequentially, to the production of cheeses, (Pecorino Siciliano d.o.p., Canestrato, Palermitano, Provola Siciliana… and one possible itinerary could the “Monte Sicani Cheese Route”). Some farmers also grow a mix of crops such as vegetables, fruit, and vines.
The countryside is often entirely uncontaminated, while many of the towns, especially those that are far from large urban centers, have remained largely unchanged for centuries. Indeed, this area is home to four Sicilian-Albanian towns:
Of particular interest are the Byzantine religious festivals for Epiphany and Easter, though ordinary weddings and christenings are also worth witnessing. These towns also specialise in the production of religious icons, hand-made jewellery and traditional female costumes.
This area of the Province of Palermo can be visited in all periods of the year though it is arguably at its best in Spring or Autumn. It particularly attracts visitors looking for a relaxing holiday immersed in nature, those who like outdoor sports or those whose passion is to investigate gastronomic delights.
So as to really get to the area well, it is possible to take part in the following activities: excursions, mushroom picking, potholing, paragliding, hang gliding, horse-riding, cycling and educational visits to farms and vineyards. For this latter activity we recommend San Cipirello, Contessa Entellina and the area around Monreale…)
Recently, many new tourist structures have opened up, especially agriturismi, which, along with alpine refuges and attractive country residences, offer a pleasant place to stay.
D.O.C. Wine – Monreale, Alcamo and Contessa Entellina
Cheeses, fruit and vegetables, olive oil, honey, bread and sweetcakes (in particular we recommend the Cannoli of Piana degli Albanesi).
Courtesy of AAIPT Provincia di Palermo, Palermo Official Tourist Board www.aapit.pa.it