The air is thin, the balconies are full of flowers and there is silence…
At each step a surprise, here a mullioned window in the Palace Averna, there a courtyard with an ancient bench and a jar covered with climbing jasmine.
Life is told by the houses and by the stories of people living here.
Probably, according to historians, that Petralia Soprana (Palermo) is the heir of the ancient Petra, founded by the Sicani delle Madonie. Conquered by the Arabs, it was called Batraliah – from Batra, “stone” and liah, “high”. The Normans renamed it Petra Heliae – stone of Elijah – to honor the Prophet.
You are in the heart of the Madonie and you’re on a natural balcony from wiche you can see Mount Etna in all its glory.
But, let’s take things step by step…
There are three viewpoints: one is on Loreto – u castru – viewing Etna, Enna, Caltanissetta and the valley of the river Imera, the one of Carmine – u carmini – viewing the western side of Sicily towards Palermo and the last one Piazza Duomo oriented towards east, looking at Gangi and embracing Mount Etna in the background.
Next to u castru, on the upper part of the village, stands Piazza Loreto, probably ancient venue for the fortification built first by the Sicani and then by the Romans. In Piazza Loreto, you can see the symmetrical façade and the majolica spiers of the Church of Santa Maria di Loreto, aggregated to the most famous sanctuary of Santa Maria di Loreto in “Le Marche”, rebuilt with a Greek cross plan in late baroque style. Inside the church, you will be impressed by the beautiful marble altar by Giandomenico Gagini (from the seventeenth century, depicting four episodes of Jesus’s life) along with the sixteenth-century wooden sculptures of Saints Cosmas and Damian and the two statues of saints attributed to Filippo Quattrocchi di Gangi.