CORLEONE

 

Corleone is a town of some 12,000 inhabitants in the Palermo province, lying on a sandstone area.

It was dominated by the Arab, who brought about a remarkable economic and political growth, and the Norman. At one time it was surrounded by defensive walls that connected the Castello Soprano and Castello Sottano. It became a royal property around the end of the 14th century and later passed into the feudal holdings of Federico Ventimiglia.

The city layout has undergone numerous changes because of several landslides and floods that had devastating effects on some of the city quarters. A remarkable demographic growth is reported in the 15th and 16th centuries following the coming in town of several religious orders.

Corleone visitors can enjoy numerous cultural and artistical sites. A lookout tower built between the 11th and 12th centuryknown as Saracena, offers the opportunity to admire the Cascata delle Due Rocche, a sheer drop along the course of the Corleone river.

The Castello Sottano is better preserved than the Sopranoís but it cannot be visited since it serves as a Franciscan hermitage.

The Chiesa Madre dedicated to St. Martin Bishop was initiated in the late 1300ís. Its present look is the result of numerous changes and refurbishments. Its interior has nave and aisles divided into various chapels containing precious pieces such as a 1600ís wooden statue representing San Filippo díAgira, a 1500ís statue representing San Biagio and a fine 1500ís marble panel depicting the Baptism of Christ.

The church dedicated to the Basilian abbot and patron saint San Leoluca, the 1700ís Chiesa dellíAddolorata, the 1600ís Chiesa di Santa Rosalia and the small SantíAndreaís, all with engaging fresoces and paintings, are also worth-visiting. A final mention must go to the Santuario della Madonna del Rosario di Tagliavia, a religious building from the 19th century, now destination of pilgrims on Ascensionís Day.

In the city surroundings are sites of naturalistic interest. The Bosco della Ficuzza is one of the richest and charmest woods in all Sicily, that King Ferdinand of Bourbon himself in the late 16th century made his hunting lodge. It has The vegetation is highly varied comprising oaks, ashes, cork-oaks, maples; it is home to an as much as rich wildlife including small mammals, countless species of birds and wild-boars. Some buildings, among which is the Palazzina Reale, also lie amidst the wood.