Our itinerary starts from the town of Leonforte, first from water sources. The Fountain of the Nymphs,
located in the homonymous garden, on the Granfonte road, Baroque, shows two statues: on the left of the fountain the river god Crisa, is the personification of the river of the same name, whose waters fed the fountain through the mouth of the lion and which were collected in a tank, once topped with ceramic tiles.
To the right, you can see the Goddess Persephone (Proserpina for Latinos). In greek latin mythology, ensured the cycle of the seasons, from the death of winter to the spring revival under the auspices of the mother Demeter goddess of the harvest.
An indissoluble union: the wheat symbol of rebirth of the earth, as Proserpina was born of Demeter; water is motion, impetus, initiation, life, Crisa, which feeds the earth.
Next to the fountain of the Nymphs, enthrone, on the same street, the beautiful fountain Granfonte, always in the Baroque style.
From 24 spouts bronze, gushes uninterrupted the water which is collected in small tanks, and then, through various pipelines stone, runs through the valley, behind Granfonte that once, fed, waterfall, the mills below.
Scheduled to quench men and animals, until the first half of the ‘900, was also used as a public lavatory.
From the front, you can see, through the arches that adorn throughout its length of over 24 meters, the panorama below.
Crossing the arch Palermo door, we are on a “directed pathway” which in ancient times led to Palermo. After a few meters, you can see the tower of the mill Soprano overlooking the Valley of the Mills located in Contrada Dimetri.
To imagine the composition of the pipes that fed the mills of the valley, behind Granfonte, you must exit from Palermo door and turn left into the SP 39. A few miles away, a small road leads you to the Valley of the mills located in the district Rocca Di Metri , from where you can see at the top: the Branciforti palace and Granfonte in their majestic beauty, the country, part of the ducts, the waters coming down to the valley, to date, using for the irrigation of the surrounding
countryside. Below, you can see the remains of the Piano mill, wrapped in a rich vegetation. Behind you, there is the Rocca Di Metri or the Rock of Demeter, the goddess.
Later, in the Noce district, accessible through the SP 39, instead of a dominant position on the lush district, you come to the ruins of theNoce mill: a piece of channeling and the tower.
Directing us in SS 121, direction Enna, before visiting the last relic of the Leonforte historic water mills, in order of path, you can admire the natural reserve of Mount Altesina and Nicoletti lake.
The natural reserve of Mount Altesina
The Natural Reserve of Mount Altesina, extended in the municipalities of Leonforte and Nicosia, was established to protect interesting woodlands and native birds.
The Reserve has a great importance from the archaeological point of view because it preserves evidence dating back to the Bronze Age. In the area you can also make excursions by bike, on foot and horseback, following the signs, you can access the birdwatching area.
The favorable environment, in addition to allowing the reproduction of some species, it protects other endangered.
hares(Lepus corsicanus), porcupines (Hystrix cristata), the Donnolae (Mustela nivalis) the Wildcat (Felis silvestris),, the only example of italian feline wild fauna, Urchin (Erinaceus europaeus) and the dormouse (Elydis quercinus), the Wild Mouse(Apodemus sylvaticus) the mouse of Savi (Microtus savii) and various species of mice of the genus Mus, the Bonelli Eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus) , the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), beloved by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, the Buzzard Kestrel (Buteo buteo), the honey buzzard ( Pernis apivorus), the black kite (Milvus migrans), the Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus); the Screech Owl (Otus scops), the Owl (Athene noctua), tawny owl (Strix aluco), the Long-eared Owl (Ario otus), the barn owl (Tyto alba), the Hoopoe (Upupa epops), the Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), the Blue Tit (Parus caerulus), the great tit (Parus major), the Shrike (Lanius collurio), the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator), ilPicchio red (Picoides major), the Magpie (Pica pica), the Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca), the raven (Corvus corax), the Jay (Garrulus glandarius), the Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor), the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), the Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata), the Gongilo ocellato (Chalcides ocellatus) and Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica), the Campestre (Podarcis sicula) and wagleriana (Podarcis wagleriana), the sand lizard (Green whip snake), the Viper (Vipera aspis), the grass snake (Natrix natrix) and Saettone (Elaphe lineata), the common toad (Bufo bufo) and little emerald (Bufo viridis), the tree Frog (Hyla arborea).
Among insects: il Grylloderes brunneri, la Pholydoptera femorata, il Trypocopris pyraeneus cyanicolore il Cymindis axillaris.
Ginestra dei Nebrodi (Genista aristata), Ginestra odorosa (Spartium junceum)., Perastro (Pyrus communis), Prugnolo (Prunus spinosa), Leccio (Quercus ilex), querce Quercus pubescens, e Quercus dalechampii, Quercus virgiliana and few specimens of Sughera (Quercus suber).
The undergrowth: il Prugnolo (Prunus spinosa), lo Spazio villoso (Calicotome villosa), il Pungitopo (Ruscus aculeatus), la Pulicaria (Pulicaria odora), la Salsapariglia (Smilax aspera) e l’euforbia (Euphorbia characias). il Tamaro (Tamus communis) e l’edera (Hedera helix). Among the herbaceous species: il ciclamino napoletano (Cyclamen hederifolium), l’Avena (Arrhenatherum sp.), l’Aplenio maggiore (Asplenium onopteris), il Cerfoglio meridionale (Anthriscus nemorosa). il Camedrio siciliano (Teucrium siculum), endemic species of Sicily, i Rovi (Rubus ulmifolius), la Rosa canina (Rosa canina)e il Biancospino (Crataegus monogyna).
il papavero Rosolaccio (Papaver rhoeas) il Giaggiolo di Sicilia (Iris pseudopumila) e la Bellavedova (Hermodactylus tuberosus), il Colchico di Bivona (Colchicum bivonae), l’Anemone fior di stella (Anemone hortensis), l’Asfodelo mediterraneo (Asphodelus microcarpus), il Ciclamino napoletano (Cyclamen hederifolium), il Ciclamino primaverile (Cyclamen repandum), l’Acanto spinoso (Acanthus spinosus), l’Asfodelo giallo (Asphodeline lutea), il Lampagione (Muscari comosum) e il Narciso selvatico (Narcissus poeticus); orchidee (Orchis commutata e Orchis italica).
The mushrooms: Leccium lepidum, il fungo di Leccio, e Amanita muscaria e Amanita phalloides.
Continuing on SS121 towards Enna, and before reaching the lake Nicoletti, in the Pirato district, you will find the ruins of the homonymous mill, located a few meters from the road. It remains part of the tower. A pleasant rustling warns of water: down runs Crisa river or Grisa (modern Dittaino), that flows into Nicoletti lake, an artificial dam accessible and navigable, deep about 25 meters and wide about 500 hectares.
The shores of the lake have a morphology quite varied: flat sections alternate with steep slopes; the waters are deep already near the shore.
It is accessible from SS 121, near the Km. 97 about two kilometers from thePirato mill.
In a proper picnic area, managed by the three Lakes Yacht Club, under the guidance of an expert, European champion water ski, allowed water sports such as canoeing, surfing, sailing. The lake, also used as a runway landing, houses a seaplane base that allows the transit of amphibious seaplanes.
Those who love to immerse themselves in the green, can go hiking in the reserve area.
Other routes and excursions are organized by local farms and the Yacht Club Three Lakes.
According to some historians, on the places surrounding the current city, there was the ancient city of Tavaca. In the period of Byzantine rule, was built the Tavi castle, around which formed a farmhouse.
From the Norman period on, the estate passed from one owner to another until it reaches the year 1610, when Nicolò Placido Branciforte, given the abundance of water, wished to found the country, building fountains, mills and renovating other existing. The city was named Leonforte, in tribute to the coat of arms of the House of Branciforte (rampant lion holding the banner with the stumps of the paws and the motto “in fortitudine bracchii tui”).
The city expanded both in urban and demographic terms. Born craft activities dedicated to the production of pottery, both for construction and for household use; the leather tanning and fulling cloth of felt. Was born in 1800 and opened a textile mill and some sulfur mines. Agriculture also had its share of the market, as it continued the production of wheat, other cereals and olives.
Started in 1610, its construction lasted for half a century. Looks majestic overlooking the valley below. It was the home of Prince Nicolò Placido Branciforte in the nineteenth century and was bought by the Counts Li Destri. A collapse occurred in the fifties, has deleted the east wing, now rebuilt in part. Behind the palace, extends the town park Garibaldi, where you can admire the magnificent panorama.
On the square, where is the main entrance of the building, on the right side, there is the stable, built in 1640 where the Prince bred over 200 thoroughbred horses.
The Mother Church
It was built slowly. Started by Prince Nicolò Placido Branciforte, was completed by the fourth prince of Leonforte, Ercole Branciforte. Were added: the choir, the transept and the nave. The interior contains valuable works, as well as vestments made in silk and gold.
Tel.: +39 0935-665154
Farm holidays Canalotto
contrada Canalotto, SS 121 Km 90,350- GPS n. 37.61865, E 14, 38775 – tel. 0935 904250
Villa Artemide Farm holidays
S.S.117 km 69.6 – direction Assoro – tel. 0935 903284
GPS: 37.653274 – 14.414249
Sperone Farm holidays
km 3/VII, 2 km from intergchange Mulinello A19 CT-PA, direction Leonforte. Cell. 334 202 0729
GPS: 37°35’13.68″ – 14°24’5.51″E
Azienda Agricola Samperi
contrada Samperi S.S. 121 – km 91,100
Tel: +39 0935 1976007 – cell.: +39 338 9110383
Bed & Breakfast Pokerdassi
Corso Umberto,574 – cell. 328 9479291 tel. 0935 902415
Food and drink
Corso Umberto, 500- tel: 327 3370389
PIZZERIA RISTORANTE LA PIRAMIDE
V. Pirandello n. 26, – tel: 334 9867367,0935 902121
KETTY BAR DI LEONFORTE ANDREA PIZZERIA – TAV. CALDA
Corso Umberto n. 460/462, – tel: 339 8686622,338 3988316
D’ALOTTO CARMELO PANINOTECA JOICE
Corso Umberto, 440 – tel: 0935 905277
How to get
By Car: Take the highway A19 Palermo-Catania, and then exit at Mulinello, take the Sp 7A and then on the SS121, follow signs for Leonforte – 13 Km.
In Plane: dall’aeroporto Falcone Borsellino: prendere l’autostrada A29 e seguire le indicazioni per l’autostrada A19 Palermo-Catania e successivamente uscire a Mulinello, immettersi sulla Sp 7A e poi sulla SS121, seguire le indicazioni per Leonforte – Km 13
By train: Take the train that follows the Palermo-Catania, and then get off at Leonforte Pirato.
In plane – Fontanarossa airport take one of the buses that connects the airport to Leonforte.
By car from the airport: take the SP69, SP70 direction A19 Palermo-Catania Take the ring road E45 towards E932 – A19 – PALERMO- CATANIA motorway A19 Palermo-Catania, and then exit at Mulinello, merge on Sp 7A and then on the SS121, follow signs for Leonforte – 13 Km.
By train: Take the train Catania – Palermo, and then get off at Pirato Leonforte.
Festivals and fairs
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Leonforte is celebrated August 16 instead of July 16 because, in the past, the farmers were busy in the fields to harvest the grain and could not participate in the festivities.
The day of the party, is carried in procession the statue of the Blessed Virgin and Simon Stock. It is located on a very precious silver frame. The patronal festival ends August 23 the day they are celebrated Masses, and in the evening the Madonna is greeted in the square by the people, with the traditional waving white handkerchiefs, before it is placed in the church.
The Popular Traditions
The Peach Fair and Typical Products
The event to recur annually takes place the first weekend of October, in the historic center. The aim of the event is to promote and enhance the typical products of Leonforte: peach, broad bean and other niche products, such as lentil black, organic honey, and handicrafts. During the event are set up areas for tasting food, for folk singing and theatrical representations.
For further information: www.sagradellepesche.it
The Feast of St. Joseph
The “Artara” of San Giuseppe in Leonforte is a tradition handed down for 400 years.
The event takes place from March 18, with many tables scattered throughout the city as a sign of devotion to the saint but also to enjoy the food and wine typical of the country, distributed free of charge: wine, thistles, sphinxes, fennel, and, mainly famous blessed bread called “pupidduzzi”. In the windows are set up votive altars to St. Joseph and from the early hours of the afternoon and through the night until dawn, groups of faithful, joyful, flock the streets of Leonforte looking altars made by those who have made vows.
The warmth and joy profuse, the abundance of products offered, the variety of bread in its most original, and the ritual of the “participation of the saints” represented by the citizens, which will be distributed one that is exposed on the altar, make it very suggestive the feast of St. Joseph. At one time, the “saints” were selected from among the poorest families to give them the opportunity to provide, at least for a period of time, to food needs.
The Good Friday
The Good Friday as well as Holy Week, celebrated in the district of Enna, are very well represented and participate events, where the brotherhoods play an important role at various stages of the Passion of Christ and His resurrection.