is a small town of the Palermo province, standing 734m a.s.l. and
counting some 4,200 inhabitants. It is surrounded by a number of
peaks with sites of naturalistic interest, namely Monte San Calogero,
Monte Cammarata, Rocca Busambra and the neighboring Madonie Mountains.
Farming and, more recently, naturalistic tourism are the town’s
main industries. The latter has been notably fostered thanks to
the recent establishment of new facilities and infrastructures.
area has been inhabited since the Roman Age, as reveal various amphoras,
coins and material discovered hereabouts. Historical records also
refer to a number of Arab settlements in the area that would soon
grow to hamlets. The modern city developed around the most important
of these, called Yale.
city name origin is still under question. It probably derives from
Latin Alia, standing for the other Yale, or linked with the neighboring
fief of Lalia. This was acquired by a noble Spaniard who bestowed
it upon his daughter, and successively passed onto the noble Marquis
of Santa Croce who was granted the privilege to populate it.
renowned is the Grotte della Gulfa site, of uncertain origin, their
name deriving from Arab term for room. The grottoes were carved
out of the mainly limestone cliff and are divided into two levels
with several rooms. At the entrance is the stable with a manger
and a tholos, meaning a round room. It is certain that they were
used as a burial place by the christians of the 4th century. Some
rooms on the upper level are only accessible from outside.
buildings in town are worthy of note. The Chiesa Madre is dedicated
to the Madonna delle Grazie, the city patron saint. It is divided
into three naves, although the two aisles were only successively
added. A statue of the patron saint and some gilded stuccoes inside
a chapel are especially worth-seeing. The patron saint is celebrated
by an annual festival taking place on 2 July, with a procession
that is much awaited by the faithful.
1600’s Chiesa di Santa Rosalia is built on an octagonal plan
and is ornamented with fine stuccoes, inside.
Chiesa di Sant’Anna, built between the late-1800s and the
early-1900s, built on a Greek cross, is hung with various works
such as a statue representing St. Anne and another of San Francesco
di Paola, and a painting depicting the Holy Family.
number of secular buildings deserve a mention such as Palazzo dei
Veterinari, owned by the Guccione family, Palazzo Guccione, erected
on the ruins of a castle belonged to the Marquis of Santa Croce,
interesting for its domed grotto in the courtyard and the façade.
there is the Zolfara, a spring of sulphurous water being an interesting