Rocca di Cerere Geopark – Italy

Websitehttp://www.roccadicerere.eu

The territory

The Geopark area is located in the central zone of Sicily, on the Erei mountains, including the territory of the towns of Enna, Piazza Armerina, Aidone, Valguarnera, Villarosa, Leonforte, Assoro, Nissoria, Calascibetta. The name “Rocca di Cerere” has been chosen because of the ancient consecration of this territory to the Kthonic deities. Already the indigenous inhabitants of Ancient Sicily, the Sicanians and the Sicels worshipped figures related to the Earth and its Underworld.  As amply proved by the relationship between the types of tombs found in the stone funeral chambers, the collective foetal-position burials and the funeral ideology of an afterlife connected with the underworld.  These forms of worship can be summarised with the Latin name of Ceres, the goddess known be the Greeks as Demeter, a deity that protected agriculture.

She was worshipped on the highest peak of the city of Henna – on the Rocca di Cerere. The name, therefore, reflect the close relationship, established trough time, between the Earth Mother and man.

Geologically the area covers central part of Sicilian foredeep between the Appennine-Maghrebid chain and the Iblean foreland. The Geopark area is characterized by its geological diversity.  The northen area present triassic and flyscioid deposits with beautiful quartzarenitic formations. While in the southern area prevails  the presence of the gypsum-sulphurous plateau created during Messinian crisis between 5,96-5,33 million years ago. This crisis occurred due to a sudden drying up of the Mediterranean sea with the consequent levels of cyclic deposition of evaporites powerful. The crisis ended with the return of the sea during Zanclean period.

The conformation of the territory is typically hilly-mountainous, with more than 10% of surface located over 700 m, whose maximum elevation (1,192 m) is reached at the top of M. Altesina.

Surrounded by a mountainous perimeter, the ensemble offers a landscape rich in suggestions, filled with valleys, rivers, streams and lakes (including the Lake of Pergusa: the only natural lake in Sicily and place of the myth of Persephone), ancient rocky centers and hills that fall in the same eastern plateaus that throughout the centuries have been the theater of an intense human activity. Its testimony defines today the historic and cultural  patrimony of the area. There can be found two of the most important classical archaeological sites of the Mediterranean: The Imperial Roman Villa of Casale and the Greek Polis of Morgantina, plus the other 150 sites among which the Byzantine village of Canalotto or Malpasso and Realmese Necropolis from the Copper and Bronze Age.  The territory includes the only Mineral Archaeological Park of the island, Floristella-Grottacalda, several settlements of industrial archaeology and 4 protected areas of notable historic and naturalistic value: the R.N.S. Lago di Pergusa and the R.N.O. of Mt. Altesina, of Rossomanno-Grottascura-Bellia and of Mt. Capodarso and Valle dell’Imera. Together with the multiple museums (Museum Train of villarosa and Village Museum of Villapriolo, Archaeological Museum of Aidone, Alessi museum of Enna, ethno-anthropologic Museum of Nissoria, Permanent exhibition of Mining culture of Piazza Armerina, etc.), the several castles, fortresses and churches, generally from medieval times (Castle of Lombardia, Torre Federiciana, Aragonese Castle, Swabian Castle, Gresti Castle, etc.), the territory offers the possibility to participate in religious manifestations such as the Holy Week rites of Enna , the historical evocations such as “il Palio dei Normanni” of Piazza Armerina, together with traditional feasts such as the “Tavolate di San Giuseppe” decorated with bread made in symbolic and ritual shapes, meant to be eaten by the visitors (ancient tradition dating back to Hellenic culture and the rituals related to Demeter/Ceres cult) or the practice of sport activities in natural environments (nautical sky, sailing, canoe, free climbing, mountain bike, bird watching, etc.) and tasting of several local typical products such as the Piacentinu from Enna, the Olive extra-virgin oil,  the Peach and the large Bean of Leonforte, the black lentils, the cakes and the typical salami, etc..

Contact
DRQCS Rocca di Cerere Geopark

c/o Soc. cons . a r.l. Rocca di Cerere

Piazza Garibaldi, 1 – 94100 Enna

ITALY

Tel:+390935504717
Fax:+390935504717

Websitehttp://www.roccadicerere.eu

e-mail: distretto@roccadicerere.eu

Francesco Chiaramonte: chiaramonte@roccadicerere.eu

Archeolgical Park of Villa Romana del Casalebaroque detail, piazza armerinacalcite and sulphur cristals_permanent exhibition of sulphur miners leagueFloristella mining parkgypsum cristals, Floristella mining parkRocca di Cerere GeoparkRocca di Cerere GeoparkRocca di Cerere GeoparkTrain Museum of VillarosaS Giovanni ChurchPolis of MorgantinaPergusa Lake special natural reserveNecropolis of Realmese, CalascibettaMount Altesina natural reserveLombardia caste, EnnaRocca di Cerere GeoparkRocca di Cerere GeoparkGranfonte, Leonfortedancing puppets, Rossomanno natural reserveCapodarso & Imera Valley natural reserveBizantine Village - Rocca di Cerere Geoparkarcheological museum, Aidone