On the Iblei Mountains, Sortino is famous, like Melilli, for the handcrafted honey production, whose qualities were song even by Teocrito and Virgilio.
The word, probably, refers to the history of the ancient Pantalica.
So Sortino could be the town of “sciuti” (the “gone out”), that is the inhabitants of Pantalica forced to go away at the Byzantine time, and then with the Arab conquest around the middle of 18th century.
The first official traces of Sortino country house are of the Angioino period, when it became lord-manor.
The ancient Sortino was built in the valley of the river Ciccio.
More than 5 thousand inhabitants leaved in rocky houses, just as the “stones” of Matera.
But the town was destroyed by the earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt in a higher zone, on the hill of the “Cugno of Rizzo”.
In the new Sortino, rebuilt in the 18th century, the baroque style dominates.
The church of St Francis, built in 1737, keeps a precious case in wood of the Very Saint Sacrament.
The church of St Sofia, dedicated to the town patroness, was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century over a church of the 15th century.
The church of Purgatory, ended in 1784, has a characteristic octagonal dome.
The church of Annunciation (1739) is characterized by lively decorative elements.
Spectacular is the square paved with black and white bricks in front of the cathedral, dedicated to St John the Evangelist.
Close to the church of St Anthony Abbott there is the college of Mary, founded in 1761.
The church of St Peter is of the end of the 17th century.
The church of St Sebastian was ended at the beginning of the 18th century.
The Monastery of Montevergine, just existing in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 17th, includes even the church of the Nativity of Mary.
“Archive A.P.T. Syracuse”
Chiesa di Santa Sofia (Foto: E. Zinna)
Chiesa delle Carmelitane (Foto: E. Zinna)
Panoramica (Foto: E. Zinna)
Pantalica: Panoramica (Foto: A. Maiorca)
Castello del Principe (Foto: L. Nifosi)
Tombe a Grotticelle (Foto: L. Rubino)