The little town itself is certainly not lacking in attractions: its
well preserved centre has a clearly medieval layout and develops around
the magnificent castle, still practically complete and quite accessible,
which was formerly the home of both Frederick the II of Sweden and
Frederick the II of Aragon. Close to the castle grounds, you can find
numerous places of worship, real pearls for the lovers of the History
of Art. The surrounding countryside also holds places of much more
ancient historical heritage, with relaxing walks or horseback rides,
you can reach the Argimusco megalithic site (attributed by many to
the prehistoric period), or the ancient, pre-Roman age silvo-pastoral
remains of the ancient water mills along the limpid flow of the Elicona
stream (much loved by trout-fishing enthusiasts) also deserve mention.
old and genuine gastronomy of the territory, distinguished by the
fragrances and flavours that have been preserved for us by the Montalbano
tradition, gives fitting fulfilment to the positive and encircling
atmosphere in which the guest finds himself.
origins of the inhabited area of Montalbano can be traced back to
around the year 1000. In the Norman and the later Swabian era, the
town became a property of the State. The Emperor Frederick II of Swabia
gave it as a gift to his wife Costanza of Aragon, and chose it as
one of his Imperial residences. Under
the King Manfredi, Montalbano was raised to the rank of a Contea (earldom).
This was a particularly splendid period for the town, with a number
of monuments attributed to it, such as the TORRE DEL FONDACO tower,
which can be visited within the Argimusco complex.
the Swabian period was over, Montalbano's fortunes were tied to King
Frederick II of Aragon, who was responsible, amongst other things,
for the realisation, on the pre-existent foundations, of the renewed
old Swabian castle walls became the wall of the facade of the new
castle-palace, and the fortress of Montalbano is today, in Sicily,
the only royal palace still remaining from the thirteen
Aragonese sovereign was to stay often at Montalbano during his transferrals
to Palermo, in the company of his own personal doctor, Arnaldo di
Villanova. These healthy stopovers seemed, to the monarch, to be an
excellent remedy for his gout which could (according to Arnaldo) be
cured by the "medicamentosa" waters of the FONTE (spring) DEL TIRONE
(which may, still today, be visited). Upon King Frederick's death,
the domain of Montalbano was passed over to his son, the Duke of Randazzo,
to then become the feudal patrimony of the Bonanno Colonna family.
And so it remained until the end of the XVIIth century.
the meantime, although the urban layout of the town remained unaltered,
some buildings in the centre of the town had taken on the fascinating
elegance of Sicilian baroque. Take a look at agility of the PORTALE
BALLARINO, as well as the numerous other portals of the buildings
of nobility which are still visible today. The CHIESA MADRE, also,
has not been immune to restorations precedent to, contemporary to
and following the Baroque era (and it has been enriched by the works
of such artists as Gagini and the Caravaggio-influenced Ponce de Leon).
Returning to its history, in the first years of the 1800?s, Montalbano
was passed to the Jesuits, and remained in their hands until 1860,
or rather, until it became property of the State. The last marker
was, in the finally unified Italy, its constitution as a Comune (municipality).