The modern town of Raffadali is renowned for its exquisite pastries, ice creams and the excellent quality of its almonds and pistachio. But its origins are traceable to the Neolithic age and hints of previous civilizations are still visible. Raffadali is the first town encountered when exploring the Sicani Mountains on the northwest side of Agrigento. Around the city there are some ancient necropolis such as Pietra Rossa, with dozens of loculi dating back to the Eneolithic period (5th millennium BC), and Mount Busonè. In the necropolis on Mount Busonè one of the tombs has yielded two female idols, the ‘Venuses of Busonè’, which are presumably of the copper age and are now housed in the Museum of Agrigento. Originally established as an Arabhamlet during the medieval period, it became a fiefdom of the noble Montaperto family following the Norman conquest of Sicily. After a period of abandonment, it was rebuilt starting from the early decades of the 16th century, still preserving its Arab heritage in the name: Raffadali is believed to derive either from “Rahl-Afdal,” meaning excellent village, or from “Raffo d’Alì,” indicating possession of Alì, possibly the lord of the ancient Muslim hamlet.
Piazza Progresso is the main town square, where you can still appreciate the volumes of baronial buildings of the Princes of Montaperto and the 16th century Mother Church which houses numerous valuable objects, frescoes and statues, among which stands out of the sixteenth-century statue of the Madonna degli Infermi, patron saint of the town and to whom solemn celebrations are dedicated on the second and third Sunday of July. Also inside the Mother Church is the monumental tomb and the heraldic coat of arms of the Montaperto family: very noble family, princes of Raffadali, whose illustrious exponents were notables of the Royal Courts starting from the Altavilla, that is from the Norman conquest of Sicily. Another extraordinary valuable find kept in the Mother Church is a sarcophagus from the 2nd century AD bearing a bass relief of the “The rape of Proserpina“: one of the masterpieces of the Roman age in Sicily.
The Church of San Giuseppe with its rich baroque-style facade is in the vicinities. The “Pistacchio di Raffadali” is an excellent product recognized with the DOP certification. On the end of September, the “Fastuca Fest” or Feast of Pistacchio is celebrated with a pistachio’s products tasting and various events. Don’t be missing also a local broad fava bean soup called ‘macco’ and the socalled ‘cudduruni’: tasty savoury pizza-rolls filled with beets, potatoes, onions, olives, cheese and tomatoes.
Raffadali: distance from Agrigento approx.15 Km
Contacts of organizations and associations which offer tourist information and other useful services:
Municipality of Raffadali: telephone reception
Pro Loco Raffadali:
Raffadali: the coordinates indicate the entrance to the Chiesa Madre.
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N 37° 24' 15.3''
E 13° 31' 52.43''
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