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The Scala Square and the Fortress of the eagle

We invite you to visit the Scala Square (Piazzetta della Scala) at sunset, maybe drinking a glass of tasty local wine, meanwhile the ring of the clock Tower beats the time, which seems really to have stopped itself in that medieval village. The suggestive view on the Tyrrhenian coast goes from Termini Imerese, on the slopes of San Calogero Mount, to the Gulf of Palermo.

Piazzetta Scala e la Rocca dell'aquila

If you look out of the Carapè, on the valley of San Giorgio’s lands, you will feel peace and harmony, to be as whole with the nearby nature. From this point on, there is the path, which comes across the wood and reaches the ruins of the Norman Abbey. Legends state that an eagle pointed the way to the pious pilgrim from above.

So, even today that hilltop, which is above the little Church of the Crucifix, has been named “the Fortress of the Eagle” by the shepherds. If you are lucky, you could meet some one hundred year men of the village. They will tell you very ancient stories about alchemist monks, who used to practise extraordinary spells

Time in the Scala Square could also stop in front a stone drinking trough or a tired shepherd coming back from his countryside at eventide and on the back of a mule.

At this point, you could really imagine those scenes of many ages ago, when it would have been normal to find women with black cloaks waiting for their husbands, at sunset in front of the little Church and singing traditional hymns to the Crucifix.

According to a popular legend, this little Church was built on the place where an angel, who looked like a knight, showed himself to a shepherd and gave him holy relics. In fact, there is still today a reliquary altar on the rock with a drape of the Knights of Jerusalem.

Moreover, inside the little Church, it is dutiful to pray at the feet of the pitiful image of a miraculous Christ, venerated by women with fervour. The Scala is really a place to visit. At the beginning it got its name by the fact that the castle was reachable by climbing high steps but then the river of progress destroyed those millenary stones to make it accessible for cars.

“… the tower rings
Tinn Tauu
and the dark already
beats that time,
assembly on time at the Scala
for the lively and sincere wives.
Their long cloaks wrap them,
light butterflies
among quick jumps on high steps,
all on the top of the old castle
to observe the never dying sunset
shining on the sea.
Here it is lively group of black cloaks,
Hilar thoughts on faded faces
wetting their heads in the icy spring
of a stone drinking trough.
Then, a glance,
a long procession returns…
beasts of burden
far ants,
Clearly the sweet vision;
wicker bags, hay bundles
and many torches in hand
as slow as river crabs.
Here it is Peppino, the goat herder Lucio’s son
an inebriating bunch of oregano,
his gift for sweet Rosina
and a basket of ripe figs for Mrs. Iacudda.
Here it is a a chorus of mothers, daughters and brides gathered here
singing the seraphic song of vespers
in front of the altar of crucified God
Each woman has her story, her wrinkles, her voice, her love.
A last memory, before flying down like cranes
so sparse on the skies of the Madonie,
but sometimes they come back…”

(On the way back , by Marco Fragale)

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