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Adrano is a substantial town to the east of Sicily, inland from the coast and north-west of Paterno, immersed in a landscape that winds through mountains and fields of orange groves in the valley of the river Simeto, and to the south of the Regional park of Mount Etna.
An interesting town to explore, Adrano retains a significant heritage dating from antiquity as well as Norman, medieval and more recent monuments.
A visit will usually start with the Norman castle of Adrano, built between 1070 and 1080 by Count Roger on the remains of an earlier fortress built by the Arabs. This staggering fortress, more than thirty meters high, has very thick walls, in places almost two and a half meters.
The architecture is typical of the Norman-Sicilian style and the windows, sills, arches, pediments and cornices are in black and white pumice from nearby Mount Etna.
The chapel inside the castle is still preserved in good condition and has columns and arabesque arches with black and white borders, characteristic of the period.
There are also some frescoes of good quality depicting Saint Francis with the stigmata - the fresco on the front door, although barely visible, depicts God and is thought to date from the 12th century.
Inside the castle you can also visit the Archaeological Museum and an extensive Art Gallery.
Museum: The various stages of the history of Adranon are presented in the sections devoted to the city. The museum also holds the remains from the so-called 'Mendolito', a mysterious city from which very important Roman and Byzantine works have emerged, including Greek, Roman, Punic and Arab-Norman coins.
Art Gallery: the art gallery exhibits hundreds of paintings, and among the most popular and significant artists we should mention Alessandro Vasta (1726-1793), the so-called “Zoppo di Gangi” (1570-1633) and Alessandro d'Anna (1743-1810). Contemporary art is also well represented, with works by painters such as Gianni Longinotti (born 1927).
Churches and a monastery
The Cathedral in Adrano is well worth a visit. It was also founded by the Normans but it retains almost nothing of the primitive architecture.
In the interior you will immediately notice twelve columns of gray basalt. Other notable features include a statue of the "Immaculate" by an unknown artist, a 14th century font, a very beautiful choir and the chapter house full of frescoes and stucco.
Another church worthy of special mention in Adarno is the Church of San Antonio Abate. The main church altar is surmounted by a large polyptych dating from the 14th century that contains seven paintings depicting the Holy Family, St. Anthony, S. John, S. Peter and Paul, in a very refined style.
Another remarkable building that will attract your attention in Adrano is the Monastery of Saint Lucia, which was enriched over the centuries by various kings and princes. Adelasia, grandson of Count Roger lavishly endowed the monastery and dedicated it to Saint Lucia.
The building was later restored, and is a massive structure with a hundred windows, started in 1451 and with a period of construction that lasted more than 100 years.
The church annexed to the monastery holds various art treasures, such as Church ornaments and gold and silver plates.
Other Adrano highlights
Back in the narrow streets of the medieval city you will see arched windows of the Norman style, pillars and bases embedded in the walls of houses or in church facades. See in particular the two doors of the ancient church of Santa Maria degli Agonizzanti.
The ruins of the Cyclopean walls, built by the Greeks and Romans, are also very evocative. These walls really are "cyclopean", and they seem truly to have been built by the Cyclops.
The walls surrounding the ancient "Hadranum" are built with large lava stones from one to three meters long and fifty to sixty centimeters high. The perfection of the cut is remarkable and the walls are constructed without mortar or cement.
Also worthy of attention in Adrano are the Roman baths and the so-called Bridge of the Saracens, a remarkable structure with a single large arch.
Finally while at Adrano you can visit some other archaeological remains. Among the many archaeological sites in the valley of the Simeto river the settlement of the so-called "Mendolito" is especially worthy of mention and just a few kilometers from the city.
Adrano also has natural environments of great natural charm, with areas rich in plants due to the lava in the ground. It is in this context that you must also taste the local specialties. For lunch, the local cuisine makes extensive use of citrus fruits, such as the risotto with orange juice and tangerine pie.
See also history of Adrano
Map of Adrano and places to visit
Places to visit near Adrano
See more places nearby in the Sicily guide