The coast road from Palermo toward Bagheria, following the long curve which encloses a good part of the Gulf of Palermo, leads to the Conca d’Oro (the plain on which Palermo is situated) irrigated by the waters of the Eleuterio River. In this area, which the Arabs called “Fakaz – Azz” (literally “excellent” or “important”), stands the town of Ficarazzi. It was the viceroy Pietro Speciale who started the first substantial works for expansion of the area with the construction of the first rural settlement, the tower and the sugar cane plantation. The sugar industry existed for centuries. Walking along the Eleuterio River you can still see the aqueduct built to channel water to the nearby cane fields and the town.
The oldest church of Ficarazzi is the Church of Saint Athanasius, a simple linear building dating from 1722 constructed on the orders of the archbishop of Palermo and the Marquis of Santa Ninfa. It has a large broad nave and four side chapels and contains some beautiful pieces such as the 16th century wooden crucifix attributed to Fra Umile da Petralia. However, the symbol of Ficarazzi is Palazzo Giardina or “the Castle” as it is commonly called, an early medieval tower built in the 5th century for defence against pirate raids, which was later transformed into an aristocratic residence with a spectacular staircase, balustrades, large halls decorated on the model of the villas that were built at the same time at Bagheria.
The typical product of Ficarazzi is the Sfincione, a thick soft flatbread dressed with sauce, onions, tomato, anchovies, oregano, whole cow milk cheese and tuma cheese, which is the main product in the festival of bread and sfincione in September. Other well-known products are Sicilian cassata and cannoli.
On 14 September on the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Crucifix a historical procession takes place with the Chatelaine of Castello Giardina, Sicilian carts and drummers. Another event which is enthusiastically supported is the procession on 7 October in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary.