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San Giovanni la Punta | Etna Walking Rural

Municipality of San Giovanni La Punta

San Giovanni La Punta is named after the patron saint and the shape of its territory.

San Giovanni La Punta is named after the patron saint and the shape of its territory. Originally, it was called San Giovanni De Nemore which, in Latin, means forest. Only after a volcanic eruption, which stopped just in front of the newsstand votive of San Giovanni Evangelista by drawing a peak, it changed its name to the current one. This hillside town is at the foot of Mt. Etna. Its economy is based on a modest presence of industries and agriculture, especially the farming of wine grapes, citrus fruits and cereals.


Numerous archaeological findings in the area testify that San Giovanni La Punta was inhabited since ancient times, already during the Greek-Roman age. The town development occurred during the Middle Ages years, when several houses concentrated in a city center first and along the main roads linking the city with the neighboring towns later. In 1239 it passed under Catania control, which had become a City-State, reporting directly to the King Frederick II, extended its administrative authority to a larger area. In 1646 it was under the rule of the Massa family, dukes of Aci Castello, and it remained this way until the abolition of feudalism. In 1693, the county, which at the time had only 1,200 inhabitants, was destroyed by a strong earthquake. In 1817 it became independent and in 1831 it annexed the community of Trappeto.


Among the historical and architectural treasures of past centuries we should include the Mother Church in late Baroque style, dedicated to St. John, sporting the typical triple style façade and a bell tower built-in. December 27 is the the patron saint feast which is carried in procession by the believers along the streets of the historical city centre. Near the Tremestieri Etneo borders there’s the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Ravanusa which, according to tradition, was erected over a small shrine with a fresco depicting the Virgin surrounded by many angels. The Madonna is celebrated every year on 15 August. The Holy Family Church, best known as “San Giuseppe”, was built and piad by the devotees in the sixties. That is one of the most modern churces in the city. There’s also the Church of Our Lady of the Snow, The Madonna of the Idria, dedicated to St. Sebastian, the patron of the city. The nineteenth-century buildings which can be seen along the main street are considered of artistic interest, too.