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Nicosia

Introduction

This tranquil town spreads over four hills. At present Nicosia is a picturesque town which has an important role providing a market. However, throughout history it was a Greek settlement, then it was seized by the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Lombards. It was in its heyday when the Normans took over and it became one of their main protected towns. Unfortunately, since the construction of the motorway Nicosia has remained detached.
There was a massive emigration wave in the 50s and 70s which left the village almost depopulated.

What to See and Do

Many places are worth visiting in Nicosia. However, they are not well kept. The 1968 earthquake had a particularly bad effect.The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas is on the main square Piazza Garibaldi. Its portico still has some statues which after being beheaded by the earthquake have never been repaired. Its Catalan Gothic campanile constructed in a Moorish tower is one of its distinctive features. The baptismal font was created by Domenico Gagini. The wooden crucifix was carved by Frau Mile di Petralia. On Good Fridays yearly it travels Nicosia’s streets in a procession.
After a visit to the cathedral, walk around the piazza and along Via Salamone. This main road is bordered on both sides by Franco-Lombard palazzos and convents.
The Chiesa di Santa Maggiore sits atop the steep hill. The church houses a beautiful Gagini marble poliptych. The first building was constructed in the 1200s but a landslide destroyed it in the middle of the 18th century and an earthquake smashed the bell tower into pieces in 1968. In the 19th century the church was rebuilt. Its terrace provides fantastic views of the ruins of the Norman castle dominating the town.

Where to Eat

La Cirata on Contrada Virata serves innovative dishes among which is a delicious lamb roast.
Around Piazza Garibaldi, the main square in town, there are plenty of bars for a quick sandwich or a full lunch.

How to Get to/from

BY BUS: from Enna (duration: 40 minutes, services: 3 a day from Mon-Fri), from Catania (duration: 2 hours, services: 10 a day from Mon-Fri, only 3 a day on Sun. Departures and arrivals are in Piazza Marconi. Tickets are purchased at Bar del Passeggero beside the bus stop.



 
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