• July 24, 2024

Alcamo is a picturesque town located in the province of Trapani, on the northwestern coast of Sicily, Italy. Characterized by its charming location between the sea and mountains, Alcamo offers a spectacular overview of the surrounding valley and the Gulf of Castellammare

Sicily: La Cuba delle Rose of Alcamo and Its Legends

 

Alcamo is a city located in the western Sicilian region, in the province of Trapani, Italy. The city is situated on the northwestern coast of Sicily and is characterized by a rich history, a suggestive geographical location, and a fascinating cultural heritage.

 

Geographical Location and Landscape

Alcamo is positioned between the sea and mountains, offering a diverse and picturesque landscape. The city is nestled on a hill, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding valley and the Gulf of Castellammare. The mountains behind Alcamo are part of the Madonie and Sicilian Apennines, creating a scenic and natural backdrop.

 

History and Culture

Alcamo has ancient roots and a history influenced by various cultures. The city was founded by the Saracens in the 8th century but has gone through different dominations over the centuries, including Norman, Aragonese, and Bourbon rule. These influences are reflected in the architecture, art, and local culture. Alcamo is also known for its literary tradition, being the birthplace of the poet Cielo d'Alcamo, author of the famous "Cuba delle Rose."

 

Architecture

The historic center of Alcamo is characterized by narrow streets, welcoming squares, and historic buildings. Among the most significant buildings are the Mother Church of Santa Maria Assunta, an example of Baroque religious architecture, and the Castle of the Counts of Modica, a medieval fortress that overlooks the city.

 

Food and Wine

Alcamo's cuisine reflects Sicilian tradition, featuring dishes made from fresh fish, seafood, and local ingredients. The surrounding vineyards produce some of the renowned Sicilian wines, including the Alcamo DOC white wine.

Events and Traditions: Alcamo hosts various events and traditional festivals throughout the year. One of the most famous is the "Festival of Madonna dei Miracoli," held in July to celebrate the city's patron saint. During this festival, the statue of the Madonna is carried in a procession through the streets.

 

The Legend of the Cuba delle Rose

One intriguing story we've come across is that of the Cuba delle Rose. This roughly 1100 AD Arab cistern of considerable size is situated a short distance from the Castle of Calatubo. After some research and inquiries, we discovered that this place is steeped in legends! But let's take things step by step.

Firstly, the castle is located 400 meters from the Castle of Calatubo and can be reached by following this link. You can park your car very close to the Cuba delle Rose and admire this beautiful work of art. On the right side, you'll find a small window where you can see the interior of the cistern adorned with a plant called "capelvenere," a fern found in environments such as caves or watercourses. The water tank is enormous; we had never seen a structure of these dimensions before.

 

The Legend of the Baroness of Calatubo

The name "Cuba delle Rose" wasn't given by chance. A beautiful legend, or rather a popular tale passed down by farmers who cultivated the fields in that area, features the beautiful Baroness of Calatubo, a certain Donna Maria Gaetana De Ballis (who was the last baroness to carry the name of the family that owned the castle and the feud since 1584).

The stories narrate that the Baroness used to secretly visit the Cuba and right next to it, cultivate a beautiful rose garden. It is said that she preferred to go at night to avoid being seen by prying eyes and the local farmers. The roses, when she was present, bloomed even in the darkness of the night.

On February 19, 1769, the Baroness passed away, and it is told that from that day on, a rose never remained open during the day. Since then, every February 19 at 03:00 in the night, the ghost of the baroness, adorned in a white silk garment and a lit candle in hand, emerges from the Castle of Calatubo and walks toward the Cuba delle Rose. Upon arrival, the ghost begins to walk around looking for her roses three times before disappearing into thin air.

Excerpt from: Stefano Catalano "La Cuba delle Rose: l'acqua di Calatubo" - "Sicilia Archeologica" n°106, year 2012.

 

Conclusion

In summary, Alcamo is a Sicilian city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Its location between the sea and mountains, its architectural heritage, and its welcoming atmosphere make it a captivating destination for those wishing to explore authentic Sicily.

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Light Designer in everyday life, a traveler in my second life. A believer in the philosophy of solo travel, just to do as I please. I photograph and explore anything within my sight.

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