Ciminna is a small village situated in a hollow. Its name is derived from the Arabic word soemîn, meaning chubby or fat, to emphasise the fertility of the soil. Ciminna is in fact renowned for the production of grain, olives, grapes, vegetables, almonds and broad beans. Artisan working of wood and iron are very common crafts in the area.
The town has a particularly charming historic centre. In 1962 the film director Luchino Visconti shot some scenes of the film II Gattopardo in Ciminna because he was captivated by the beauty of the landscape and the magnificent Saint Mary Magdalene mother church. Built mainly in baroque style, it contains fine local works of art such as the stuccoes of Scipione Li Volsi, the carved wooden crown, the statue of the Virgin and the eighteenth century statue depicting Saint Andrew. Originally built in the Middle Ages, it was extensively rebuilt in 1500. Of the original building it is still possible to see the Gothic rose-window in the façade and the 16th century bell tower.
Another particularly attractive church is Saint John the Baptist with the miraculous crucifix kept in a niche cut into the altar, and the 16th century triptych with Our Lady of the Audience. Numerous other minor churches together with streets, narrow alleys, arches and patronal palaces offer a picturesque itinerary in the picturesque centre of Ciminna.
One of the things of greatest interest is the F. Meli Civic Museum which keeps an ethnographic and figurative art collection dating from the 17th century, the public library which keeps the remains of the Biblioteca Capucinorum (Capuchin library) and about 600 volumes on the Italian Risorgimento.
Ciminna offers much more besides culture and history. The natural scenery is beautiful. Something very picturesque is the ecological-geological-speleological and panoramic itinerary of the Serre di Ciminna nature reserve and the Pizzo Cane, Pizzo Trigna e Grotta Mazzamuto nature reserve.
The religious and folklore events of Ciminna are numerous and take place throughout the year as in other towns in the District. The most important are the old and picturesque A Vìvula Vìvula on the Wednesday before Holy Week, U Prucettu r’ì Malati which is the solemn procession for the Easter precept of the sick and the U Triunfu r’à Marunnuzza an old night time procession which dates from 1781.
U cuddiruni and ‘Nfriulata are the two culinary specialities of Ciminna. The first is a soft tasty flat bread with a strong flavour and irresistible smell. The second is a folded pizza filled with chopped pork and served with onions, potatoes, tomato pulp and spices.