NARO

 

Naro was supposedly founded during the Greek Age and subsequently dominated, as well as the entire surrounding territory, by Romans, Arabs and Normans. It became a royal city under Frederick II. It saw a remarkable prosperity in the 1600s and the 1700s, as testify many religious and secular buildings of the time. Unfortunately many of them are in a poor condition today. The city is dominated by the Chiaramonte Castle, with its irregular form and enriched with a square tower, mullioned-windows and a main doorway. The Norman Cathedral, largely ruined, stands right of it. A fine portal in the Chiaramonte style is only worth-seeing.

 

Via Dante ľ It is the main street, running the length of the village east/west and framed by lovely baroque buildings. On Cavour Square, stands the Church of the Saviour, with its fine fašade, and, few tens of meters on, on Via Cannizzaro, the Chiesa di Santa Caterina, built in 1366, refurbished in the 1700s and successively restored to its original state. Its simple interior is enriched with an Arch of Triumph in the Chiaramonte style. The Chiesa Madre, built in the 1600s by the Jesuit Fathers, became such in 1867, when the city cathedral was declared unsafe. It contains numerous works of art from the old Mother Church. Left of the entrance is a nice baptismal font dated 1424. The Palazzo Nicol˛ di Bari has a fine fašade made of tufa (a sand material), in the early Sicilian baroque style. South of Via Dante is Piazza Garibaldi, surrounded by beautiful buildings among which is the Palazzo S. Francesco, with a richly decorated fašade and, next to it, the former Convent of Friars Minor Conventuals, with a lovely cloister.

The Santuario di San Calogero stands at the end of Corso Umberto I, the eastward continuation of Via Dante. A panoramic balcony in front of the church provides a terrific view over the Paradiso Valley. The church was erected in the 16th century and extensively refurbished in the Baroque age. It contains a pink-marble piece of the Christ at the Column, with red veins that almost resemble the blood from his wounds. A grotto, within a crypt, is said to have been inhabited by the saint, patron of Naro. At the altar is a statue of the Black Saint, that is carried in procession on 18 June.

Paleo-Christian Catacombs are located along the Canale district, south of the city. They mainly consist of rural sepulchres, among which worth-mentioning is the Grotta delle Meraviglie, 20 metres long.

The Reggia di Cocalo ľ It is a ruined castle perched atop an isolated peak, about 2km from the town. Its name, literally translating as the royal palace derives from a legend according to which here rose the mythologic reign of Cocalus.