Assoro – perched 850m a.s.l. was founded by the ancient Sikels who named it after their own Prince. The city successively saw the Greek, Roman and Arab occupations. The Normans took over in 1061. Two centuries later, it was governed to Scaloro degli Uberti and elevated to the status of County.
It is endowed with cultural and naturalistic riches. The visitor can begin with the Castello built in the 10th century although now reduced to few ruins. The mother church Basilica di San Leone, dating from the 1200s and many times refurbished, is Assoro’s main religious building. Its five naves houses numerous works of art, such as wooden statues of the 16th century and the marble sepulchres of the Valguarneras by Antonello Gagini.
Also noteworty are the 1600’s Chiesa di SS. Maria degli Angeli, next to the convent of the Reformed Fathers, the 1400’s former Abbey of Santa Chiara – today’s Town Hall housing a Library, an Art-Gallery and the Archive – and the Chiesa del Carmine dedicated to Santa Petronilla who is, together with Nicoḷ da Tolentino, the city patron saint. Inside, a sarcophagus guards the relics of the Count Giovanni Valguarnera.
Assoro also has some interesting secular buildings such as Palazzo Valguarnera, that connects, through a pointed archway, with the Mother Church. The building is in a Catalan style with richly ornamented balconies.
A charming wood is located off town in the vicinity of the Castello, suitable for relaxing walks and with amazing vistas on the Etna, the Nebrodi and Madonie Mountains and the neighboring villages.