24 May 2019 - On the way to sanctuaries

All photos here

Since the weather forecast predicted rain for Saturday I decided to anticipate the new adventure on the road in Sicily the day before. Simply wonderful day, a bit too hot for my taste. Today I will take it calmly since I am alone. Before taking the bike I pass from the bar downstairs to buy the "breakfast", the baked iris with ricotta. I quickly leave the chaotic city traffic and head towards Piana degli Albanesi. Before leaving the view of the sea I stop to have breakfast with a splendid view over the city of Palermo. Continuing on the SP5 I come to the lake of Piana degli Albanesi. It is always a sight to watch the lake and the surrounding mountains. Before Sant’Agata take the SP 103. The road is completely uneven and you have to be very careful. I really find it hard to go on but the Sicilian countryside show in spring is so beautiful and exciting that despite the expletives on the street I have to stop many times to enjoy this unique and fascinating show. Finally I arrive at my first destination today the sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Rosario di Tagliavia near Corleone. The story tells that in the area mainly used for pastures and various crops, the Lo Jacono brothers, breeders and tenants of the Strasatto feud, by removing a pile of stones for the construction of a sheepfold, found a stone slab in which was painted a image of the Virgin of the Rosary. the discovery considered miraculous, was followed at the same time by the outcrop of a water source believed to have healing effects. With the exhibition of the painting, the veneration of the Madonna begins and then the construction of the sanctuary. Resumed the bike through Corleone to stop for a moment at the ruins of the Church of San Marco. The legend says that there is a tunnel that connects it to the crypt of the mother church and that it is possible to find a treasure (the so-called Treasure of San Marco) if you manage to cover the entire route, at the stroke of midnight on April 25, with a glass full of water and without spilling a drop! I continue towards Campofiorito before arriving near Bisaquino to visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Balzo. It is said that the image of the Madonna that was found on the mountain was carried for three times in the village and each time it disappeared and then found on the sacred Leap where today the sanctuary built in 1679 is located. Unfortunately due to the fall of some rocks not it was possible to visit the sanctuary. The view over the whole territory is impressive but I can only resume the bike and continue my journey. Continuing on the SS188 before Palazzo Adriano I make a meeting of other times. A man riding a donkey (or scecco in Sicilian). I ask him if I can take a picture and he tells me that some time ago a village emigrated to America did the same photo. I tell him that his photo will not go so far but in Viking land. The result was a pleasant chat ended with these words in dialect "She ummacanusci I unnacanuscio but mi bastaru ru parchetti pi sapiri that pirsona is her, I wish her many beautiful things"! Shortly after I arrive in the beautiful piazza of Palazzo Adriano set of Tornatore's famous film "Nuovo cinema paradiso". Here I stop at the bar to eat fried calzone and arancina. Having taken a coffee I leave the town and head towards the Parco dei Sicani behind Burgio. Here begins a long journey in off-road not recommended for road bikes. After about six kilometers immersed in a wonderful nature I come to the ruins of the Hermitage of S. Adriano, largely covered by vegetation. The origins date back to William I to dissolve a vow made to the virgin at a time of grave danger when, hunting in those woods, he had risked being killed by an angry boar. Today the perimeter walls of the structure that dates back to the 17th century remain. . The place is really beautiful especially for the vegetation that includes the whole and at the same time holds the hermitage. After stopping at a water source to cool off, I continue on the forest road. After a wide tour I finally reach the road that leads to the last stage of today, the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Rifesi built in 1170 from the Norman Ansaldo, castellan of the Royal Palace of Palermo during Gentile's bishopric in Agrigento. An enchanting place immersed in nature where every second Sunday in August, from time immemorial, the procession of the Crucifix of Rifesi takes place and from the Mother Church is transported to the Sanctuary. Legend has it that the wooden crucifix was carved in 1200 by a shepherd who used the wood of a tree. He managed to sculpt all the Christ except the head. This was found already carved by the shepherd at the foot of an oak called the "celsa of lu Signuri" and that the same oak, later, was struck by lightning and of it remained a truncated trunk, with the appearance of a cross. In short, ancient legends that have been handed down over time. It's time to go home. Until next time.