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Buscemi is a town in the south-east of Sicily to the west of Syracuse - as such it is in the region that was devastated by an earthquake in 1693, and by which the historic town was completely destroyed.
The current town layout at Buscemi is regular and as laid out in the years following the earthquake, with many of the buildings, especially the churches, rebuilt in the Baroque style of the period.
It is the churches that are the principal attractions in Buscemi.
Start your visit along the “Via Risorgimento” to see the Church of the Carmine and the adjoining convent of S. Dominic. The church has a nave and, in a special altar on the south side, the '"Annunciation" in white marble attributed to the school of Domenico Gagini (1420-1492).
The Church of St. Antonio, located in “Via Principe Umberto”, was partially damaged by the earthquake of 1693 and has now been restored. The interior houses the tomb of Prince Alois Requisens of Pantelleria (1620-1685) and a wooden statue of "Our Lady of Sorrows", attributed to Filippo Quattrocchi (1738-1813). The style is Baroque. The façade is characterized by a portal with well proportioned windows.
In “Piazza Roma”, on top of a wide staircase, there is the church of S. Sebastian, which houses several frescoes of the 18th century. Its façade is very impressive, characterized by a massive tower.
Continuing along the same road through Buscemi we find the Church of St. James (17th century) with an elliptical plan. It has a unique convex neoclassic façade and the interior is characterized by a large oval room and a square apse harmonized by a series of arches and windows. It has now been restored and it is used for conferences.
At the beginning of the road there is the Mother Church (18th century) with a basilical plan with three naves and a Latin cross. The façade has three orders rising above an imposing staircase of lava rock. The new church was built on the ruins of the old church destroyed in 1693. Of particular interest is the altar, where the twisted columns, typical of the Baroque style, liven up the decorations of the apse.
One place of interest in Buscemi is the "ethno-anthropological museum", with different areas dedicated to particular trades of the local peasants and craft activities. In the Old Town it is therefore possible to visit "the house of the farmer", "the blacksmith", "the laborer's house," or the carpenter and coppersmith's shop, with Buscemi as a sort of "city museum".
Other local highlights
At Buscemi we can also follow another route of great natural and historical interest, starting from Mount Lauro along the Irminio and Anapo rivers. Just out of Buscemi towards Giarratana we come to the remains of Casmenai, on Mount Casale (see also Scicli).
The remains of a castle can also bee seen on Monte - worth visiting as much for the views as the castle itself.
Another curious edifice nearby is the Rock Church of Saint Peter, a byzantine style church that really is carved into the rock.
During the Feast of “St. Maria del Bosco”, patron saint of Buscemi (held in late August), whose shrine is located about a mile from the town, we can find many local products such as oil, wine, ricotta, cheese, eggs, and some local sweets, such as the so-called “turruni”, “sfinci”, and “crispeddi.”
See also Buscemi history and etymology.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.