Leafing through the photographic archive of Splendid Sicily. The Splendid Sicily celebration of Sicilia nostalgia in all its form
In this episode: a beautiful Sicilian Befana, women on the balcony, the Danish that says minchia, mini market, mini museum, mini cemetery, Hamburg on Mount Kalfa, extreme of Sicily
A million of billions of godillions of years ago, there was a valley in eastern Sicily, dominated by a huge volcano that today is called Etna and by a sea that today is called Jonio.
In this valley there was an enormous rock, gigantic, white and hard.
In short, a monolith of enormous proportions that was full of flowers.
The fact is that the years pass and quadrillion of trissillion years later arrive the bearded men..
They see this monolith full of flowers and at that point one of them had to say: let’s hit this rock with a pickax and make a village and that someone later called Roccafiorita which means blossemed rock.
He took a series of backslapping, and hit right and hit left, they hit with a pickax this monolith and built houses all around it.
And so it was that after triplets of filoter of years later their descendants put a Madonna in a cave, they put some lookouts here and there and right at the top of the summit, of a mountain called Kalfa, they erected a small church, child of the valleys of Etna and the Sea.
Strafobillions of thousands of days later, we arrived.
Here is Jack Jackfly, our majestic drone, above the Roccafiorita monolith.
We walk without meeting anyone.
Jack: Hey, I’m Jack, can you hear me? I saw an old woman
Jack Jackfly has taken a prey from above!
Nar: Good morning Ma ‘m you are very elegant, a real Sicilian
She: What elegant I look like a befana (christmas witch)
Nar: How old are you?
She: I exceeded 80
She Do you want to know my name? Ha ha … Nunziata. One of my sons is the town traffic policeman. No one has reached 100 years here
Nar: We hope you get there then
She: Lets hope so
She: Today I ate some pasta with oil
Nar: Can we take a picture together
She: But I look like a befana!
Zac! Here’s the picture!
We continue to walk among the silent streets of Roccafiorita.
Hey, look over there: a nativity that is here since Christmas.
It was built in a corner of the monolith: brilliant!
Hey, that’s the traffic policeman, one of Mrs. Nunziata’s sons.
Nar: Good morning, do you come everyday with the fish ?
He: No once a week
Uhmmm let’s see : anchovies, calamari, swordfish …
What’s this noise?
A tractor with a man inside.
He: I am a cook in Taormina and I spend my time planting broad beans and peas in the countryside. Roccafiorita is a relaxing village, today it is Saturday and there is also the post office open. To a traveler who comes here I would make him eat natural things: vegetables, local meat, homemade pasta and bread. Genuine things!
Nar: What is your name?
He: Russo Giuseppe
Nar: What are they called the inhabitants of Roccafiorita?
Ciuri ciuri, which in Sicilian means flower.
A rocca in ciuri, which is: Roccafiorita.
Ok let’s take the march for the village of the Ciuritani!
Uhmmm clothes hanging.
Let’s see if this time we guess how many people live there: well, I’d say a man, two women and a child.
Darn it: There not at home!
Ehy, Ciuritani, eventually let us know if we guessed ?
Jack: Hey over there, can you hear me? I’m Jack I’m flying over the monolith village.
There is a wonderful view: you can also see Italy!
I’m going around the village.
Ehy: right at the bottom there is a lady looking out the balcony, catch her!
Here we are … puff puff … what a splendid sight!
Nar: Ma’m you can you tell us why it’s called Roccafiorita?
She: Because there was a flower in the rock of the town and the prince picked it up.
Let’s take these stairs
An abandoned house!
There is a beautiful view from this room: yes, here I will put the living room
There is also a nice little garden: I would plant a lemon tree there
Stairs to be redone
Here I do the bedroom
Would you like to move to Roccafiorita?
With not even 20 thousand euros you can find a house in perfect condition of about 50 square meters.
Uhmm what is this eye!
I think it was a basement … I smell wine …
Here are the keys hanging
Let’s see who is there
Nar: I was passing by, but you leave the keys hanging?
She: This is the village of tranquility. We are about 100 but we are at peace
Nar: I understand: are you a ciuritana?
She: Yes, original!
This staircase takes us to the small square of Roccafiorita
There is everything that there must be in a town square: the mother church, the town hall and a bar, the only one in the village, of course.
You should know that Roccafiorita is a destination for bikers and cyclists.
In fact it is an extreme, and like all extremes it is a place of pilgrimage for those two categories.
Roccafiorita has in its mount Kalfa the highest peak of this beautiful internal road that unites one of the most famous coastlines in the world, that of Taormina, with that of Santa Teresa di Riva.
And cyclists and motorcyclists climb up here: great views, good food and hospitable people!
Let’s see those cyclists a bit
He: I live in Sicily
Nar: So then you speak Sicilian?
He: No Danish. You look French
Nar: No I’m from Palermo, your pink and black jumpsuit has the colors of the Palermo soccer team.
He: No they are the colors of the tour of Italy. My name is Thomas.
He: I live in Motta Sant’Anastasia, 60 kilometers from here.
Nar: How long.
Lui: Unfortunately not too long to speak italian.
Nar: But after 5 years you have to speak Italian.
Okay, so at least our Danish friend learned to say minchia.
And If in Sicily you know how to use the word minchia, you have already understood everything
We enter in a bar
It’s really nice!
He: Well we made a bet. But we are here and we love our town. And so it’s worth betting.
We also have a minimarket, I think the smallest in Sicily.
We have the primary goods: some bread, some fruit and the pasta that already knows in which table to go etc etc
In short: those pears go to Mrs. Maria; that pack of pasta to the traffic policeman; potatoes to the mayor etc
If I feel like buying something here I will turn things upside down!
Right behind the bar there is the little street that goes into the monolith: lets go to the heart of the monolith Jack!
I from inside and you from above.
Here is the stone flower that gave rise to the whole village of Roccafiorita.
It is exciting to walk wrapped in the rocky walls of this huge boulder.
You feel the past.
Emilia Mazzullo, Roccafiorita councilor “Welcome to the small community of Roccafiorita. This rupestrian environment is our symbol. Inside this cave there is the Madonna dell’aiuto ( Holy Mary of succour) loved by all the people”.
We climb to the top of the monolith.
Woooohhhh what a view!
It’s nice from here, right Jack?
Ok, let’s go back down to the village.
A few steps and we’re back in the center.
Here you are, after having first visited the smallest minimarket in the world, the smallest museum in the world.
There are three objects: a box of religious offerings symbol of the small church at the top of Mount Kalfa, a sack of wheat symbolizing work in the fields and a bat!
Bat with which the small church was built above Mount Kalfa, a real attraction of the place and which awaits us after lunch for the digestive walk.
Uhmmm … hangering!
The mayor is waiting for us in the only other activity of the place besides the bar: the small restaurant.
We go Back from the square and this time the bar is full of bikers.
Hey, here is the garden of the olive children.
An olive tree is planted for every child that is born!
This is Francesca who is already 7 years old.
This year only 3 were born, a few months ago.
Here they are.
Now we’ll eat: let’s go!
There is the mayor and the councilor and they feed us with genuine and amazing food!
He: This is a dish of beans with Pork Scratchings
Fresh ricotta also arrives.
Now here is the pasta alla norma wich is with sauce and eggplant.
The pasta finished but we continue to eat, eat, eat …
Now it’s time to digest, digest, digest …
Mayour Concetto Orlando, mayor “Roccafiorita is a place that offers you different possibilities. Here in half an hour you arrive from the sea and find yourself in a landscape in contact with nature. And then our food is genuine. The hospitality? The visitor will give his opinion”.
We climb to Mount Kalfa.
A dream at not even half an hour from the village.
First, of course, there is to see the mini cemetery of Roccafiorita!
A wonderful panorama also for the spirits of the dead Ciuritani .
Climbing up Mount Kalfa a number of small huts invite the visitor to make a nice BBQ before they get to the top.
The trail takes place between breathtaking views.
Mamma mia guys: sea and Etna touching each other with a finger
Nature as usually touches.
We are at the top, at 1000 meters, and we have idealized the journey as a motorcyclist or a traveler would do: Roccafiorita, Mount Kalfa, extreme of eastern Sicily.
There is a sundial and a small balcony that dominates the underlying world.
Jack Jackfly is making a dream flight: the narrow streets that climb the valleys, the villages embroidered on the slopes and its majesty Etna, the giant!
Here at the top there is the symbol of Roccafiorita: the little church of the Madonna dell’aiuto.
Inside the offerings of the faithful who have received a grace: locks of hair, depictions of miracles, children shoes.
Splendid Sicily signs its presence.
And now, as usual, it’s time to go up to the bell tower: irresistible!
Outside the church there is the pilgrim’s house that will host the traveler who will pass by these parts.
We are welcomed by Martina, a German who met a ciuritano in Hamburg, lived there and then came back here.
They prepare these beautiful products, local and genuine and give rest to cyclists, bikers, simple walkers and anyone who wants to come to this splendid place of peace.
This is the food they offer and even if we have eaten we taste this and that.
And even here, clearly, something microscopic could not be missing, from the guinness of the primates.
Here are the smallest artichokes in the world, a real delicacy of the place!
She: Yes I got married to a ciuritano!
I’m from Hamburg, far north. And now I’m here in the far south.
What is the difference between Hamburg and Roccafiorita? Well … in Roccafiorita there are less people.
Now it is time to say goodbye to all our ciuritani friends.
We leave, but as a pilgrim from the house of the pilgrim would have done: in fact, we take, just behind Mount Kalfa, an internal road that, winding through the valleys, reaches the underlying village of Graniti.
We are immersed in peace.
Bye Roccafiorita, bye extreme of Sicily.