Roccapalumba owes its name to its position. In fact it stands at the foot of an imposing picturesque rock 600 metres high known as La Rocca, and is home to hundreds of pigeons, jackdaws and magpies. It was founded in the 17th century at the order of Princess Maria Anzalone Orioles who contributed to the development and improvement of the residential area, after years of abandonment of the lands in the Vallo de Palombo, the original area for which there are records dating from 1290.
From the historical and cultural viewpoint, sights of particular interest include the Mother church in honour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which was originally baroque but underwent substantial alterations as a result of some restorations, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Light, built in the late nineteen fifties on the cleft in the Rocca, which contains the miraculous effigy of the Virgin with Child.
Roccapalumba is also known as the “Town of stars” for its commitment to the popularisation of astronomy. The nearby Astronomical Observatory of Pizzo Suaro, which has a sophisticated telescope, is part of the Italian Network of Public Observatories. The eminent astrophysicist Margherita Hack also visited these places and was awarded honorary citizenship.
However, visiting Roccapalumba also means tasting some excellent Sicilian cuisine such as the prickly pear. It is prepared using traditional methods in all types of dishes and celebrated in a famous festival which attracts numerous visitors every year in October with tasting, workshops, culinary competitions, roadshows, concerts, extemporaneous painting and conferences.
Every year on 12 and 13 August the Holy Crucifix, patron of the town, is celebrated.