PACHINO, THE CITY OF WINE AND CHERRY TOMATOES
Located at the most southern point of Europe, Pachino is a breathtakingly window on the Mediterranean and the African coasts and it offers views that can hardly forget. Visiting Pachino is an experience that involves naturalistic, cultural and food and wine aspects.
In this strip of land in the south-eastern Sicily where the Sirocco wind blows and the sunlight reaches the highest levels of exposure in Europe, there are the best conditions for growing some internationally renowned products: Pomodoro Pachino PGI, Cantaloupe Melon PGI, the Nero d'Avola grapes cultivated as a small tree, from which the Eloro DOC and Moscato di Noto DOC wines are made. In addition to agriculture, the city is also dedicated to fishing, and there are many companies that produce and sell canned fish.
There are also enchanting beaches to visit such as those of San Lorenzo and Marzamemi, and the nearby wild islands of Capo Passero (with the imposing Spanish fortress) and the Correnti islands, an evocative crossroads of seas and winds in the southernmost area of Sicily (in the further south of Tunis).
In Pachino countryside, among the typical limestone dry stone walls, there are the remains of the medieval Torre Xibini (1494), used for pirate sighting, and the Palmento di Rudinì, evidence of industrial archeology of the late nineteenth century. Along the coast, stages of great charm are the eighteenth-century tuna food-processing building of Capo Passero and Marzamemi, which evoke the intense seafaring activity of the past. The Village of Marzamemi is nowadays considered among the most evocative places in Sicily. Its ancient tuna food-processing building (called tonnara) with the "scieri" (the old boats used in the tunas slaughter, which are the only ones left intact in the Island) tells again stories about fishing and fishermen. Today the village is a crossroads of cultures and destination for tourists from all over the world, natural film set and home of the International Frontier Film Festival.
The area of "Promontorium Pachyni" (mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey, by Virgil in the Aeneid and by Dante in the Divine Comedy) was inhabited already in prehistoric times. Testimony to this are the Calafarina Cave dating back to the Paleolithic, with its legendary hidden treasure protected by a magic spell, as told by at least three folk legends, and the Grotta Corruggi dating back to the Neolithic (in the district “Contrada Vulpiglia”). Moreover, there is a necropolis dating back to the Bronze Age which preserves some rock-cut tombs, called grotticella tombs (in the district “Contrada Cugni”).
Pachino city was founded in 1760, when Ferdinando IV King of the Two Sicilies permitted Don Gaetano Starrabba, prince of Giardinelli, to build in his fief called Scibini. Then he populated this land with colonists from Greece, Illyricum and Malta.
The town, which is characterised by a urban chessboard structure, is situated on a hill sixty meters high and culminates with the great Vittorio Emanuele Square, from where you can admire the view of the entire east coast. Here there is the eighteenth-century Mother Church of the SS. Crucifix, built in late baroque style. A valuable nineteenth-century testimony is instead the Palazzo Tasca in the central street Via Cavour.
Pachino is the birthplace of the writer, playwright and essayist Vitaliano Brancati (Pachino 1907 - Turin 1954), who spent a long time in the red house of the picturesque island off the port of Marzamemi, owned by his cousin Raffaele and called Isolotto Brancati.