According to some scholars, the original core of Mascalucia was located in the district “Ombria” (today called Ombra) where there are still some traces of an old Catania town hall, founded by so-called “Ombri” people.

Known as the “Paris in the Woods” due to the literary meetings and Catania nobility that once resided here, Mascalucia now is a big urban center, about 10 km from Catania, and lies on the green hills on the southern side of the volcano.

HISTORY

According to some scholars, the original core of the town was located in the district “Ombria” (today called Ombra) where there are still some traces of an old Catania town hall, founded by so-called “Ombri” people. Mascalucia too suffered of many natural disasters: the earthquake of 1169, the eruption of 1669 and the violent earthquake of 11 January 1693, which turned upside-down the original layout of the town. Following the eruption of 1331, a rift 3 km wide opened in an area that still today marks the border between Mascalucia and Tremestieri. The is when the Arsi Mountains took their current shape.

CULTURAL ASSETS

The old Town Hall, originally the Town Hall, today used as the City Library, goes back to the nineteenth century. The ground floor was used as a prison. Today the cells, expertly restored, keep the old maps of the Historical Archive of Mascalucia.Villa Cirelli was built in the early twentieth century by architect Carlo Sada, who designed it in multiple architectural styles: Moorish, Arab, Egyptian and floral. It’s also known as Villa Maria, named after the owner, the wife of the Knight Di Stefano Giuffrida, mayor of Catania, who chose it as a holiday home. The monument is dedicated to the “Quattro Altarelli” and is located at the top of Via Roma. The name is due to the presence of religious four altars, located on the four sides of the monument. Here, under the protection and the sight of the Saints depicted, up to 170 people were hanged “At Forks” (hence the name of the area “St. Anthony to Forks”), sentenced to death. There are numerous places of worship here. The Sanctuary of the “Madonna della Sciara” of Mompileri is where the original marble statue of Our Lady of Grace is kept. It’s a work by Gagini, miraculously found untouched in 1704, despite the destruction caused by lava flow in 1669. The “Santuario dell’Addolorata dei Padri Passionisti”, dates back to 1954 and stands on a hill called “ascension of the spirit.” With its dome, 42 meters high, it dominates the whole territory. You can also find here theChiesa di Maria SS Annunziata, the Chiesetta della Madonna Bambina, the Chiesetta del Soccorso o della Misericordia, the Santuario della Madonna della Consolazione.

ECONOMY AND LOCAL GOODS

The economy is primarily agricultural. Until the fifties, the related personel accounted for about 40% of the population. Subsequently there has been a slow abandonment of the land and traditional crops. The remaining agricultural production is orange groves and vineyards that produce some of the the best wines in the area, Especially those in the “Ombra” district. Other Highlights include the production wrought iron handcraft objects, hand embroidery and multicolored rugs.

LANDSCAPE ASSETS

The economy is primarily agricultural. Until the fifties, the related personel accounted for about 40% of the population. Subsequently there has been a slow abandonment of the land and traditional crops. The remaining agricultural production is orange groves and vineyards that produce some of the the best wines in the area, Especially those in the “Ombra” district. Other Highlights include the production wrought iron handcraft objects, hand embroidery and multicolored rugs.