Buccheri is one hours’ drive from Syracuse. It is the highest town in the Hyblean Mountains, a stopover on the Ancient Sicilian Crossroads, and was recently included among the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Lying on the northern slopes of Mount Lauro (986 m), Buccheri preserves archaeological evidence of the passage of the Siculians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.
Interpretations on the origins of the name have suggested Buccheri is a pastoral land, as also recalled in the myth of Daphnis, who used to play the flute here while grazing his flocks.
When the sky is clear it is possible to admire a stunning landscape stretching from the Gulf of Catania to the mountains of Enna and Caltanissetta from Monte Castello. Here, in the middle of a beautiful wooded park, lie the ruins of the Norman castle of Buccheri, described as ‘the most impressive fortress in the Noto Valley’.
Among the churches in the village of Buccheri, the church of S. Antonio, with its spectacular staircase, is well worth a visit.
The magnificent church of S. Maria Maddalena preserves a wonderful statue by Gagini dedicated to her.
Above the high altar of the Mother Church, dedicated to Sant’Ambrogio, the town’s patron saint, is an ancient 16th century wooden crucifix by an unknown sculptor.
The Church of San Nicola in the locality of ‘le croci’, is a small rock church camouflaged among the thorn bushes, carved out of a small natural cave.
Eight kilometres from Buccheri, towards Lentini, in a green valley, lies a ruin in a Swabian-Gothic style. It is the solitary Church of S. Andrea, which was an outpost of the Knights Templar.
Because of its geographical location, Buccheri was known for its ice trade. The neviere of Buccheri were in use until the invention of the refrigerator, and had different forms: cave, dome or squared. They were built in lava stones and they can still be seen today on the upland of Mount Lauro.
ADVENTURE THROUGH THE WOODS AND THE “ GOLE DELLA STRETTA”
Among the municipalities of Syracuse, Buccheri has the largest number of woods. That is why it is the perfect destination for a family holiday in Sicily with children and young people plus also for those who are always looking for adventure.
One of the most fascinating attractions of botanic Sicily is the famous Zelcova sicula, an endemic plant that dates back to the Tertiary period and found in the Bosco Pisano.
Parcallario, the first adventure park in the heart of the Hyblean mountains, is waiting for you in the Bosco Santa Maria.
If you want a greater challenge, you can go canyoning in the Gole della Stretta di Buccheri, with its stunning inlets between rock and water, carved by the action of the waters of the San Leonardo river. You can choose to cross them by swimming or by dinghy.
In some parts, the cliffs of the gorge are sheer and are often used by climbers.
There are small man made caves carved into the slopes of the gorge: these are Castelluccio tombs, from the ancient Sicilian Bronze Age.
CURIOSITIES ABOUT MONTE LAURO
Buccheri was once the homeland of the stonecutters. This is a dying art and today there are very few artisans who are still able to carve the lava stone that was extracted from the caves of the volcanic plateau of Mount Lauro.
The fine variety of olive “Tonda Iblea” from Mount Lauro, is used to produce the extra virgin olive oil of the “Monti Iblei” and which has obtained the DOP certification with the geographical mention “Monte Lauro”.
The local gastronomy delights to enjoy: pork and wild boar salami, ricotta and cheeses, maccaruneddi (home made pasta with pork or wild boar sauce and ricotta cheese) and u pani copipi ( home made bread seasoned with tomato sauce, red hot pepper and olive oil).