When something does not work anymore, new things need to be discovered, or better re-discovered. Things hidden until now become visible. The new route between Palermo and Catania is an occasion to admire amazing landscapes and urban masterpieces to experience in a touristic way.
The disruption occurred on the A19 motorway between Palermo and Catania leads the drivers to go through unique Sicilian town and villages. That is how a massive disruption can be a trigger for tourism.
In fact, in both directions the new route pass through villages built during the middle age, some of which are already on the best Italian villages list. With ancient traditions, fascinating natural spots, and gastronomic treasures the diversion indeed becomes less stressful.
Officially the diversion is indicated as: take the exit at Scillato, go on the SS643, then take the SS120 to re-enter the A19 motorway at Tremonzelli; just names and numbers.
Scillato is right after exiting the motorway, it is a very tiny village considered the doors to the Madonie, one of the principal mountain groups in Sicily. Scillato is characterized by an old sanctuary of the 16th century, several water sources, and some windmills (some of them recently renewed).
From there, going up to the mountain, you will get to Polizzi Generosa, a place where it seems the clock have stopped somewhere back in time. It is a place of noble buildings and narrow alleys going up and down through houses made of stones. It is also the place for a very old pastry made out of cheese: the sfoglio. Moreover, a SlowFood certified cereal is produced in the village, called Fagiolo Badda.
The next village is Petralia Sottana, which is a bandiera arancione (orange flag) awarded by the Touring Club of Italy. A quick walk on the main street will give you a hint about the village. It seems that the wonderful churches with impressive campaniles are pointing to the main square. The main church, called the Chiesa Madre (Mother), is located on the square, from where you will be able to see and admire the landscape: the extensive valley that goes as far as the Tyrrhenian Sea.
You will later pass through Castellana Sicula, which hosts the ateliers of the contemporary painter Croce Taravella. Here the touristic diversion comes to an end, and you can re-enter the motorway at Tremonzelli.
Exit the A19 motorway at Resuttano and go onto the SP10 until Alimena and follow the SS290. When arriving at the crossroads Madonnuzza, take the SS120 until Geraci and then take the SS286 that will lead to the motorway junction Castelbuono-Pollina. From there the A20 motorway takes you to Palermo.
Take your hat off for Resuttano! The ruins of the old castle on top of the hill, few kilometres away from the centre of the village, are those things that make you say “I would definitely live there!”.
From Resuttano the path leads you to the Madonie Mountains, the first village is Alimena, with the main church (Chiesa Madre) built in 1725 on behalf of the prince of Belvedere. Inside the church there is the statue of Immacolata del Sorge.
You will pass by Petralia Soprana, recently nominated one of the best Italian villages. You will be captured by its silence, by the shiny stone houses, and by semi-circular path between the two churches. Thy almost seem to form the pivots for the city wall.
From one best Italian village to another one: Geraci Siculo. Famous for the Giostra dei Ventimiglia, the village is the right place for a quick break admiring the castle and the bevaio (abreuvoir). The village would deserve more than a quick break, but you can still fall in love with it in an instant.
Finally, there is Castelbuono. The things not to be missed here are several: the tasting of the pastries at the Fiasconaro brothers, the visit at the castle, which is also home for the museum that often offers activities regarding contemporary art.
Along this trip we could include suggestions about mushrooms, but it is not season and it is still unclear when the motorway will be fixed and open to the public. Two other things we did not mention are driving and sightseeing. Because the rout through the hearth of Sicily is a joy for the car driving lovers, as well as an awesome experience for sightseeing lovers. Landscapes are changing rapidly, in few kilometres you will find yourselves from the top of the mountains to green valleys. Sequence of narrow turns opens the way to breath-taking panoramas. The villages you encounter will be waiting for you, hoping you are not in a rush and have time to just drink a nice cup of espresso, or have a quick walk.