It’s really difficult to embrace in a single glance the extraordinary view of the impregnable Castle of Caccamo – medieval village of northern Sicily – and the rocky outcrop on which it was built on. A giant fortress dotted with battlements, mullions and high stone walls grafted onto a rocky spur which dominates the landscape, and courts visitors.
A unique patchwork of treasures and memories
Not just a village and its castle. Undoubtedly the manor is the most emblematic presence – with all the charm of centuries of history – but the centre of the medieval village of Caccamo, in the province of Palermo, hides many other treasures like churches, religious rites, fairs and festivals that keep on telling the most secret soul of this small town.
A “treasure chest” of gastronomy and folklore
What about the innumerable “presences” wisely shaped by popular tradition, ghosts of illustrious figures who still live in this place? Wherever we look, unexpected views open before us: the district “terravecchia” with its rooftops and alleyways (straduzze), the church bell towers, the lake in which the soft profiles of the surrounding hills are reflected in one of the widest municipal territories of Italy.
Caccamo, however, is also a treasure chest of rituals and memories that well represent that secular and mysterious natural instinct of preservation and protection of the land, typical of Sicilian people: for example, the rite of rètina is celebrated every year, on the first Sunday of March; it’s a parade of mules adorned with traditional saddlebags, harnesses, colourful wool knitted bobbles (giummarri) and ringing bells (cianciani).
While strolling through the alleyways of Caccamo visitors can enjoy the friendly hospitality of its inhabitants, wise and jealous keepers of ancient traditions and advocates of a gastronomy capable of expressing the potentials of the land: crop and livestock production. What about meat and dairy products of the village? True treasures of traditional Sicilian taste that find their highest expression in typical products, such as sausage (sasizza)- a cult of Sicilian gastronomy; salami; a wide range of wild seasonal vegetables: (e.g. chards (salichi), chicory, wild bitter cabbage (qualuzzi), asparagus and fennel), and tasty local cheese (slightly-aged Pecorino (primintiu), caciocavallo, fresh sheep and goat ricotta cheese, savoury ricotta, to name just a few).
(cover photo by Salvo Di Vento)