A village perched above the Ionian Sea
The small village of Castelmola, an hour’s drive south of Messina, rises up above the Ionian Sea. Of Greek-Roman foundation, you can admire preserved remains of its Castle, the origins of which are uncertain, and the mighty Norman walls. Religious architecture includes the Arab-Norman-style Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari, rebuilt between 1934 and 1935 on a former cathedral, of which it retains some original elements, such as the side entrance, choir arch, altars and the pulpit, all dating to the 18th century. Other places of worship include the Church of San Biagio and the Church of the Annunziata, built around 1100. Don’t miss the Piazza Sant’Antonio viewpoint, where you can find the Ancient Arch, dating from around 900 AD and inspired by Greco-Roman architecture.
From here you can set off on some unmissable excursions to Taormina, Giardini Naxos, Mount Etna or the Alcantara Gorges, an impressive natural canyon. Or you can head north to Tindari, to explore the nature reserve and archaeological remains.
Castelmola is the home of Vino alla Mandorla, a dry white wine flavoured with bitter almonds, herbs, citrus fruits, Muscat of Alexandria and caramel. Every year, the village celebrates the feast day of Saint George, on 23rd April, when the statue of the saint is carried on horseback in a procession through the village streets.