Si Trova: a Valverde, tra i paedi Etnei
Lat: 37° 34' 45.62745" N - Long: 15° 7' 32.40990" E
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The Sanctuary of Valverde is one of the oldest in Sicily.
A legend tells that in 1038, a wayfarer was attacked by the brigant Dionisio.
While Dionisio was about to kill him had the vision of the Virgin Mary; he repented.
He converted and became a hermit.
In others apparitions the Madonna would have indicated the place in which to build the sanctuary, and the place in which to be able to get the water for the construction.
When the sanctuary was completed, in a last appearance, the image of the Madonna would have been carved on a pillar.
Starting from that moment Valverde became a continuous destination of pilgrimages, even if the icon visible today on the pillar cannot be attributed to the period of the presumed prodigy.
The final consecration took place in 1296 in the presence of King Frederick III of Aragon.
The sanctuary ruined due to the earthquake of 1693; the roof and the apses fell, but the pillar with the icon of the Madonna remained intact.
At the beginning of the 18th century, a portico overlapped the facade of the church.
The beautiful entrance portal, in white stone, surmounted by the coat of arms of the Riggio princes dates back to this era.
Outside, there are also lava arms that in the past were used to support flags and banners.
Inside there is the sepulchral monument of Luigi Riggio Branciforte and his wife Caterina Gravina.
The Madonna of Valverde is located in the pillar with a dedicated altar.
A curiosity: in the left aisle, two iron balls hang from the altar of the Crucifix; these in 1535 were used by Sicilian galleys in defense against the Turkish pirate Dragut while besieging Malta, and mortally wounded him.
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The best preserved castle in Sicily
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