Ventimiglia di Sicilia
Ventimiglia di Sicilia is situated in a charming hilly area 540 metres above sea level and is a municipality in the metropolitan district of Palermo. Its name is taken from Beatrice Ventimiglia, daughter of the famous Giovanni III Ventimiglia, who in 1625 decided to found a settlement in honour of his illustrious family within his fief of Calamigna. The appositive “di Sicilia” was added in 1863 to distinguish it from the town of the same name in Liguria, although some inhabitants of the bordering towns and sometimes the people of Ventimiglia themselves prefer to use the alternative name of “Calamigna”.
Walking through the picturesque historic centre of Ventimiglia di Sicilia you can admire the Church of the Immaculate Conception, built in the 17th century, which contains fine works of art, such as a work by a pupil of Antonello da Messina, and the Church of the College of Mary of the 18th century endowed with works by local artists. A festival is dedicated every year on the first Sunday of October to Our Lady of the Rosary, the patron saint of Ventimiglia.
The Easter rites maintain a charm and gravity that time has not changed. In August the solemn and evocative Qundicina takes place; for fifteen days at the first light of dawn the faithful make a pilgrimage to the country church reciting the rosary in Sicilian dialect. During the Novena of Mastru Raffaieli at Christmas a group of young people accompanied by the band go around the town telling the story of the Joseph and Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in Sicilian dialect.
At Ventimiglia di Sicilia agriculture is based mainly on olive, citrus and almond groves. It is known primarily for the quality of its products, especially the oil, prickly pears, meat and desserts such as Sursameli and Raffiallini which are typical sweets based on almonds, and Vucciddata and Palummedda prepared during the Christmas and Easter festivities with almonds or figs and nuts.
The local crafts are very distinctive with the production of period costumes, lace, tatting, embroidery by hand, cutwork, renaissance, Hardanger, antique stitch.