The city of Riesi is located at the foot of the Santa Veronica Mount, in the province of Caltanissetta at 330m asl; it totals nearly 15.000 inhabitants. It is thought to have been inhabited since the Prehistory, evidence provided by ancient tombs discovered near the Veronica Mount, in the so-called Costa di Mandorle (Almond Coast). Their origin is however much uncertain the site never being properly excavated.
The city was successively dominated by Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths and Byzantines. In 853 it was involved in the Arab conquest of Butera and its surrounding lands. In the late 13th century it came under the Ventimiglia family, and was successively handed down to Francesco Gastone di Castellar, Giovanni Rujs de Calcena and, in the early 1600s, the noble Spaniard Pietro Altarriba. This residing in Spain for most of his time, his procurator Cristoforo Benenati ruled in his place. The city founding dates back to 1647. A remarkable urban and demographic growth was recorded in the 18th century. The 19th century is mostly characterized by desorders and by the cholera that repeatedly hit the city.
Riesi offers plenty of cultural attractions like the Basilica of the Madonna della Catena and the Mother Church, erected in the early 1700s. On the façade is the coat-of-arms of Don Bartolomeo Moncajo. On the inside are 1700’s stuccoes and frescoes; worth-mentioning are those portraying Sant’Eligio and Santa Sabina in the vault. Also noteworthy is the Chapel of the Holy Crucifix guarding a wooden Crucifix of the 17th century. The 1700’s Church of the Holy Crucifix contains a precious 1600’s black Crucifix by unknown. The 1800’s Chiesa di San Giuseppe sits on a plateau and is particularly renowned for a statue of the Saint and a fresco depicting the Marriage of the Virgin and Saint Joseph.
Longed-for events take place on Holy Week, among which is the Misteri.