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The city of Biancavilla, about 23,000 inhabitants, belongs to the province of Catania. From its panoramic terrace a breath-taking view over the Erei Mountains and the cities of Centuripe, Troina, Santa Maria di Licodia and Motta Sant’Anastasia can be enjoyed.
The Mother Church – It is the main religious building in town, dedicated to the Madonna dell’Elemosina. It was built in the early 18th century, even though its original structure dates back to the 1600’s. Externally, it was enriched with a 1800’s campanile with statues portraying Santa Caterina, San Placido, San Zenone and San Giuseppe. The church is comprised of three naves with fourteen arches, and decorated with several works of art, like an icon dedicated to the Madonna dell’Elemosina – dating from the 13th century, on cedar-wood.
Chiesa del Rosario – The church dedicated to the Holy Rosary, originally dedicated to San Rocco, changed its name in the late 1600’s becoming the seat of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary. It is especially renowned for its stuccoes, its marble choir and a statue of the Christ at the Column.
Chiesa dell’Annunziata – The church dedicated to the Annunciation dates from the 1600’s and conserves many pieces of art, notably the frescoes in the apse and in the transept. An oil-painting depicting S. Antonio Abate is also worth-mentioning. A necropolis of the Bronze age was once located nearby.
Minor Churches, palazzi and city surrondings – Biancavilla is home to many other interesting buildings. Among them are the minor churches of S. Orsola, the Mercede and San Giuseppe, and some elegant palazzi, such as Palazzo Bruno and the 1700’s Palazzo Ciarolo. The City Theatre and the City Gardens are also worth-seeing. In the city’s surrounding area are sites of naturalistic interest, such as several watermills going back to the 1500’s, the hermitage of the Madonna di Vadalato – set up inside a grotto by a friar of the Secular Franciscan Order – and the Scilŕ grotto, of basaltic origin.
Human settlements in the area are documented since the Neolithic age. A remarkable influx of Albanian families is recorded at the end of the 15th century. During that time the village was called “Terra di Callicari” (Land of Callicari) or “casale dei greci” (Greek hamlet) and soon developed even thanks to a number of concessions granted by the Lord Moncada. Only slightly damaged by the 1693’s earthquake – having ravaging effects on this part of the Eastern Sicily – and Etna’s 1669’s eruption, it rather served as a safe refuge for the people of the involved cities.
Biancavilla economy is mainly agricultural.