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Ramacca is a town of nearly 10,000 located at 266 m a.s.l. in a mountain area west of the Catania Plain. Its name derives from Arab “rahal mohac”, meaning Hamlet of Mohac, the commander who was granted the area in 1392. Other hypothesises argue that it derives from Rammak, that is “mare herdsmen”.
At one time, Ramacca was known as the “granary” of Sicily. Farming, along with zootechnics, is still a major economic resource. The city also boasts developed craft activities.
Among the city’s best attractions are the Mother Church, erected in the 1700’s, the Capuchin Convent and, attached, the church of St. Joseph – both dating from around 1750 –, the Palazzo di Città, built in the 18th century by Princes Gravina.
The Mother Church, dedicated to Mary’s Nativity, stands by the town’s main square. Originally dedicated to the Holy Crucifix, it was subsequently enlarged to satisfy the city needs, its total population being risen dramatically. Restored in 1976, the church has a very simple design and needs further works, especially inside.
The Convent – The convent next to the church of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Parish of Saint Joseph. It was founded by Prince Francesco Gravina. Granted an annual sum until the convent’s suppression, today it is open to public only thanks to the good will and devotion of a friar of the order.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception – The Neoclassical Chiesa dell’Immaculata has a single nave ornamented by stuccoes, oil-paintings depicting Our Lady of Sorrow, the Holy Cross and some Capuchin Saints, altars and wooden statues by unknown artists.
Minor buildings and the city surroundings – The church of Santa da Cascia, dated 1974, the Sacred Heart Church, of recent date, in the lower side of the town, the Chiesa of Santa Maria della Provvidenza, dated 1952, and the Archaeological Museum are places of tourism interest.
Plenty of ancients sites have been discovered in the Ramacca territory, such as the Montagna, with remnants of Greek necropolises, the Castellitto, with remains of a Roman villa with splendid mosaic floorings, and the Torricella, where a settlement and necropolis of the Bronze Age were recovered.
The earliest settlement in the area, called Eryke, dates back to the Greek Age. It was destroyed in the 4th century BC by Syracusan tyrant Agathocles. The new city dates back to the Norman epoch, founded by Lord Ottaviano Gravina. His descendants would be granted the title of Princes in 1688 and possessed the town as far as the Feudalism abolishment in 1812.