FRANCAVILLA DI SICILIA
Francavilla di Sicilia stands at some 330m height in the territory of the Messina province, not far from the Parco Regionale dei Nebrodi, as do most of the province’s cities. The town stretches across the Alcantara and Zavianni rivers’ valleys, a region with abundant water resources and naturalistic sites that enhanced both farming and tourism activities.
Evidence for the city’s eventful history is provided by relics from the 5th century discovered across the territory. Historical records go back to the Norman epoch, relating to the construction of the Basilian Monastero of San Salvatore di Placa and a castle. In the following centuries the town expanded remarkably. Some printings kept within the convent of the Frati Minori Cappuccini seem to refer to a violent battle between the Spaniard and the Austrian armies in the area.
Several charming events in town are much awaited, such as the procession on Good Friday and the celebration of the Saint Patron Sant’Euplio, held on 4 August.
The town offers a range of tourist opportunities. The 1500’s Convento dei Cappuccini is one of the most attractive buildings. It retains, at the ground floor, the cells, the kitchen, the refectory and other rooms related to the friars’ daily life. What is especially attracting is the noble Chapel of the Ruffo-Balsamos, conserving a precious 1800’s wooden altar decorated with carvings, a 1500’s painting representing the Enthroned Madonna and Child with Angels, a 1600’s painting depicting Our Lady of the Assumption with the Eternal Father and a 1700’s wooden statue of the Virgin.
The Chiesa Madre, with its 1400’s doorway with an ogival arch, and the minor Spirito Santo’s, the Annunciation’s – preserving a 1600’s wooden statue of San Francesco di Paola and a 1700’s statue of Santa Barbara – and the damaged San Francesco’s also deserve a visit.