Racalmuto, a city of about 10,500 inhabitants, lies on a plateau inland at 445m asl in the province of Agrigento. It grew during the feudal age around a Castle built by Federico Chiaramonte. The subsequent Lords of the city were the members of the aristocratic Del Carretto family. In the 16th century the city entered a period of urban development notably related to the establishment of Carmelitan, Franciscan, Minor and Agostinian monasteries on the area.
Racalmuto has much to offer both artistically and historically. The major secular buildings are the mentioned 1200’s Chiaramonte Castle, with two circular towers, the Palazzo Municipale and the Teatro Regina Margherita.
Among the main religious buildings are the 1700’s Chiesa Madre dedicated to the Annunciation, with precious paintings by Pietro d’Asaro depicting the Madonna della Catena and San Nicola di Bari; the small Chiesa di Santa Lucia, near the Santuario di Santa Maria del Monte, now used as a sacristy; the minor churches of the Carmelitan Fathers, San Giuliano, Itria and Santa Maria del Gesù – in a miserable condition.
In the city environs are other interesting tourist destinations, like the 1300’s fortress belonged to the Chiaramontes – built on a former fortification –, an ancient necropolis, potassium deposits, sulphur and salt mines. Racalmuto was the birth-place of writer Leonardo Sciascia who here spent nearly all his life and is buried in the city’s small cemetery.