Focus on...Petralia Soprana, Sicily
Italy's most beautiful village.
Petralia Soprana, September 2019.
Petralia Soprana is a small, quaint, and very picturesque village, perched high on a hilltop in the Madonie Mountains. The Madonie mountain range is located southeast of Palermo and the main attraction is the incredibly cute villages in the area. Because they are off the beaten path, there aren’t many tourists who visit Petralia Soprana and the surrounding towns, so they have remained untouched and authentic. Of all of these villages, Castelbuono is probably the most touristy – but it doesn’t come even close to nearby Cefalù. You will be hard-pressed to find shops geared towards tourists in any of the other towns – which, in my opinion, is always a good sign.
Petralia Soprana was voted the most beautiful village in Italy in 2018, and I fully agree that it is picture-perfect. The historical centre is small so in 15 minutes you can walk from one side of it to the other. There are quite a few alleys, little piazzas, fountains, churches, and stairs to explore in the search for the next photo op.
One of my favorite places is the belvedere at the edge of the village behind the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Loreto. Not only does it give you a fantastic view of the church and the ramparts of the village, but also a stunning, nearly 360-degree panorama of the mountains and hills surrounding Petralia Soprana.
On clear days you can see all the way to Mt. Etna over 80 km away. After sunset Gangi, another village in the Madonie range, shines like a jewel in the distance and is clearly visible from this spot.
One of the quirkier attractions in Petralia Soprana is the small Museum Of Contemporary Art (MACCS) located in a nearby salt mine. It is one of the biggest salt mines in Europe, with a small area dedicated to sculptures of modern art made from salt. Because the mine is fully operational and off limits during the week, this museum is only open to visitors on Saturday mornings who have made reservations. https://www.sottosale.eu/
Near Petralia Soprana there is also the Ponte Romano (Roman Bridge) near Blufi. The unpaved road – “track” is probably a more appropriate word – to the location is tortuous and a 4x4 is recommended.
Even so, the three-arched bridge crossing the small stream is gorgeous at any time of the year. Even though the name suggests that the bridge is from the Roman era, there is not much know about the origins of this little gem, and it is most probably medieval.
Petralia Soprana is ideal as a base for exploring the vicinity, as is its twin, Petralia Sottana, located – as the name suggests – down the hill. Petralia Sottana is just as cute and quaint, although it doesn’t have the spectacular views. Other villages and towns well worth a visit are Castelbuono, Polizzi Generosa, Cangi, and Sperlinga, amongst many others. Truth be told, you really can’t go wrong in this area – anywhere you go you will find plenty of photo opportunities, be they of nature, landscape, street, or cityscape.
Petralia Soprana and its surroundings have the most photographic potential during autumn, winter, and spring.
Focus on Sicilia specializes in Photo Tours in Sicily. Petralia Soprana and surrounding villages are included in the itineraries of the eight-day Western Sicily and twelve-day Sicily Highlights Photo Tours offered by Focus on Sicilia. Each Photo Holiday has multiple departures in 2019 and 2020.
For more info visit focusonsicilia.com.
All images © 2019 Marco Duyves