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It only takes 23 minutes by car to get to Borgo Giuliano, from Troina. Twenty-three minutes, many bends, mountains, woods and clearings of the innermost and less known Sicily. The village of Borgo Giuliano is in the district of Messina, Troina in the district of Enna. In the middle … farms, farmhouses, wonderful landscapes. If you go visit one of these places, do go visit also the other. From both places you can enjoy a unique view over Mount Etna. Its perfect cone stands at the horizon like a painting! Both Troina and Borgo Giuliano have special characteristics to remember.

Troina, churches and panoramas

A very unlucky Greek colony, the ancient Tragòs (town of goats) could only find some time of peace during the Byzantine age (6th century AD). Back then, it was Tragiona or Tragina in the maps and a very rich place, thanks to its perfect position. The Arabs conquered it but could never really subdue its proud

troina & borgo giuliano02
photo by borghipiubelliditalia it

population. In 1062, the Normans came and made of it their favourite town. From the top of this mountain they ruled their lands, and Tragina – now called Trojna – became a beautiful capital. The decline arrived at the end of the 18th century. As soon as industries became more important than agriculture, many people of Troina had to move abroad!

Today the churches are what remains of such a glorious past, testifying to the wealth of the town. In fact, only the rich people could afford to build chapels or convents . So the presence of so many religious buildings in Troina indicates how many aristocratic families lived there. The former Cathedral of the Assumption, the church of St Michele Arcangelo Nuovo – to distinguish it from the splendid Norman basilica, now in ruins, of San Michele Arcangelo, the church of the Immaculate Conception are just some of the most beautiful. In the old town of Troina there are also sumptuous palaces, one of which obtained from an ancient military tower.

From every alley or square in Troina you can look out towards the surrounding valleys, admiring breathtaking views. Among so many, the most suggestive is the view of Etna which, during the eruptions, has a unique and fascinating stage here.

Discovering Borgo Giuliano

Other monuments can be admired between Troina and Borgo Giuliano. The Norman Castle of Ruggero, the necropolis of Monte Muganà and the beautiful medieval bridge of Contrada Failla. Continuing to follow the route of the mountain ridges you enter the territory of Messina. In the municipality of San Teodoro, at  a short distance from the road that leads to the Biviere Lakes, you will find Borgo Giuliano.

It is one of the 25 agricultural villages of the Fascist era scattered throughout the Sicilian countryside. It was founded in 1939 and dedicated to an unidentified “patriot” from Messina. We only know that he was born in 1885 and was killed in 1938 during a heroic action of the militias, rewarded by Mussolini. His memory, however, has been lost over time, in fact many identified the initials S. Giuliano first with “St. Julian” and then even with Salvatore Giuliano, the bandit.

The peculiarity of the village, now abandoned, lies in having preserved almost the entire structure of the buildings. Warehouses, school, post office, are in ruins but still standing. The church, on the other hand, literally broke in two. The central part has collapsed over time and the two sides gradually fan out more and more. The bell tower, on the left when observing the façade, heroically resists even if it leans more and more towards the nearby building.

How to get to Troina and Borgo Giuliano …

To get to Troina and Borgo Giuliano, the only recommended means are by road. The town  can be reached via the Palermo-Catania motorway, taking the Agira exit . Then continue towards Gagliano Castelferrato. From Catania you can also follow the State Street (SS) 121, exiting at Paternò Nord – Schettino and continuing for  50 km to the north.

Catania airport is the closest, very well connected to Troina by regional buses.

From Troina you can reach Borgo Giuliano following the SS 120. (the photo above the title is by G.MUSUMECI)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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