Valverde | Etna Walking Rural

Municipality of Valverde

The origins of Valverde are immersed in the legend of the foundation of the Church of Saint Mary, connected to a repentant robber and various apparitions of Mary in 1040.

It’s called “Bedduviddi” in Sicilian, Belvedere. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages. At that time, the population abandoned the coast because of the looting by Muslim piracy and settled near a shrine of the Virgin Mary erected in one of the few roads who run through the forest around Aci.

HISTORY

The origins of Valverde go back to the legend of the foundation of the Church of Saint Mary, connected to a repentant robber and various apparitions of Mary ain 1040. Among the most significant episodes of its history the 1693 earthquake, which caused destruction and deaths. In the church of S. Maria the ceiling collapsed, but the main walls and the bell tower resisted and, to the amazement of everybody, the image of the Madonna remained without injury. In 1787 the Senate and the clergy elected the Madonna of “Acis Villis Viridis” patron saint of the city.

CULTURE

You can not talk about Valverde without referring to the famous “Santuario della Madonna” and the devotion to the virgin Mary. The church was built in the 1500 and enlarged in the 1700. The interior of the shrine is built along a single wide aisle, except for a small and irregular left aisle, being affected by the late Baroque style that characterizes most of the churches in the area. Inside you can find interesting marble altars and valuable altarpieces. The cult center is the “privileged” Altar that keeps the icon of Our Lady of Valverde. The “S. Maria della Misericordia” church also dates to 1700, which is characterized by the austerity of form and the usage of lava stone. Inside you can’see the painting of the “Madonna del Carmelo” by Acese painter Giacinto Platania. Inside the Apse chapel it houses the image of “Madonna delle Grazie”. The author is Ignazio Castorina Canzirri, the largest Acese wood sculptor of the period. The territory of Valverde is full of shrines, called the “atareddi” in dialect, or “minor monuments” that testify to the profound popular religiosity. There are simpler niches placed inside the facades of private homes, they can go from newsstands with a wall structure, to looking like real chapels. They “grow spontaneously” along the roads and in places that, according to the popular mind, were exposed to negative forces, or in places where tragic events occurred. A Valverde there’s the Shell Museum within the “Villa Cosentino”, mantained by the scholar Franco Marescotti. Here you can see hundreds of species of shells, corals, echinoderms and fish from the seabeds around the world.

EVENTS AND LOCAL GOODS

There are several events during the year: in April the Rare and Unusual Plants show, in May the Etna Bio Market, and in June the city becomes the capital for street artists with the Valverde Buskers Festival. Those who love to eat and drink will enjoy the Festival of Pizza and Schiacciata, the Anchovy Festival and the beer festival.