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Patti is situated near Tindari and the north-eastern coast of Sicily, and is a well known regional arts centre with an interesting historical town. The town developed, as was typical in the Middle Ages, around its cathedral and castle.
Your visit to Patti can start in the Old Town, a medieval region characterized by the narrow streets, stairways and squares, with the different styles that reflect the culture of the diverse people who have lived here - the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish.
The curent Patti Cathedral was built in the 12th century and underwent some considerable reconstructions, as we can see in the exhibits showing works carride out in the 15th century. Among the renovations, the most important were those made after the earthquake of 1693.
On the façade, the cathedral has an ogival portal supported by columns and capitals decorated inthe late Romanesque style. The interior has a single nave with 18th century chapels dedicated to Santa Febronia and the SS. Sacramento which has a painting by Antonello de Saliba (1466-1535) depicting the “Madonna and Child Enthroned between Angels”, and the 18th century “The Adoration of the Shepherds”.
One of the most significant show-pieces of the Cathedral is the marble tomb dedicated to Adelasia (1074-1118), the wife of Count Roger and mother of Roger II (1095-1154), who died in Patti in 1118.
Also worth a visit is the Diocesan Museum of Patti, located in the Bishop's Palace and which contains a rich and valuable heritage, mostly obtained from monasteries, convents and churches in the Diocese of Patti.
The exhibition presents a valuable collection of works of art among which are gold candlesticks, chalices and bells, and precious vestments from the 16th and 18th centuries. Of particular artistic value are the ancient liturgical books, and coats of arms of bishops dating back to the 16th century.
There is also a section of Patti Museum devoted to paintings from the 18th to the 20th century, as well as marble and stone inscriptions from the Cathedral of Patti. Among the paintings of great interest are "The Mission of St. Francis" and the "Descent from the Cross", by J. Sidoti (18th century), the "Madonna and Child," and the "Madonna of the Rosary", by Francesco Nachera*.
Francesco Nachera (1813-1881) was a portrait painter who took his inspiration from the Venetian painting of the 16th century.
There are also various paintings by the Sicilian school of Messina such as the "Madonna of the Agonizzanti", "San Giuseppe" and "St. Francis in Prayer." Among the comtemporary religious paintings are the works full of color by Domenico Spinosa (1916-2007, an Italian Informal painter).
Other Patti highlights
The Church of Saint Nicholas (built 18th century, reconstructed late 19th century) is also rich in works of art. These include a 16th century marble tabernacle, near the altar of Saint Lucia and attributed to the school of Antonello Gagini (1478-1536); a picture of Santa Barbara from the 18th century; a wooden statue of the “Madonna with the Child” and an 18th century crucifix.
Among the paintings, dating from the 18th century those that stand out include "Saint Catherine of Alexandria", "San Gaetano," and "Madonna between two Saints".
Continuing along the Via XX Settembre you reach the "Santa Maria dei Greci". Built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 17th it retains a marble statue depicting the “Madonna of the Greeks and the Child ” from the first half of the 16th century, attributed to Giovan Battista Mazzolo*.
Giovan Battista Mazzolo worked in the first half of the 16th Century and is best known as the sculptor who created the portal of the Cathedral of Messina.
Along the Via V. Emanuele you can visit the Church of Saint Anthony Abbot. Built in the 15th century, the church presents monolithic columns topped with Corinthian capitals holding up arches and some artistic works of great value, such as the Municipal flag of the 13th century.
Return now to Patti Cathedral to find the Piazza Cavour, which leads to Piazza Scaffidi, home to the Church of St. Hippolytus and the Town Hall. From Piazza Scaffidi you can head towards the old Watchtower of the Patti castle - the tower is the only part still visible today. At the foot of the cathedral is the most ancient and characteristic neighborhood of the town, called Pollini.
To the north of the town, near the Montagnareale stream, there is the San Michele Gate which is the only remaining gate of the six that originally opened through the Aragonese city walls, and close by is the Church of San Michele, which holds a marble ciborium by Antonello Gagini (1478-1536), consisting of a triptych depicting a group of angels in the center.
Villa Romana di Patti Marina
You are probably starting to think that it is only the churches that are of interest in Patti but that is not the case! Iin recent decades archaeological excavations have unearthed monuments of great artistic value and interest to the visitor.
As well as the important archaeological excavations at nearby Tindari the Villa Romana di Patti Marina, built in the Roman Imperial Age, has also recently been opened to the public. The villa covers an area of about twenty thousand square meters and is characterized by a large peristyle with a large porch with columns.
According to studies, the villa was destroyed by an earthquake around the second half of the fourth century AD.
It has several rooms which are arranged on the four sides. The most important of these is a large hall with three apses and a very well preserved mosaic with geometric motifs and figures of domestic and wild animals. The other rooms also have floors made of colored mosaics in geometric patterns, which are also well preserved.
The second part of the Villa, on the eastern side, is characterized by the presence of the ancient Roman baths.
Landscape and nature near Patti
The landscape around Patti is also recommended to nature lovers. The gulf lies between the Capo Milazzo and Capo Calavà promontories with a bay that is an almost uninterrupted succession of beaches and restaurants where visitors canenjoy the sun and also the fruits of a land rich in citrus fruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons and figs.
To help you make the most of your visit we should suggest some dishes to try in the restaurants in and around Patti.
Among the first courses the place of honor goes to the "maccarruni" ("macaroni"); whereas among the main courses, try "i fritturi" (the "fries"), and especially the dry sausage, plain or seasoned with spices and served with homemade bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.
Among the regional specialities we have the so-called “acciughe a beccafico” ["warbler anchovies"], the "Cardinal" (a pie made with almond paste) and the sorbets with lemon, strawberry, cream, coffee, hazelnut, almond and kiwi.
See also Patti history and etymology.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.