Let's visit, together, the city of Bronte

    

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Bronte,

big center with an economy agricultural and pastoral, at 50 km from the head town Catania, is located mainly on the western slopes of the volcano Etna, covered entirely by lava and  woods, and the high valley of the Simeto river.

The Simeto valley dominates the area and, sweetly getting down, extends itself from the slopes of the volcano to the banks of the river, where the last rivulets of  lava has been corroded by the water, marking the border of the municipal district.

Bronte’s territory (25.000 hectares) is one the largest in  Catania’s province with a conformation various and interesting both for the high degree of biological diversity and for the quality of the entities thereby represented and, above all, for the wonderful and uncontaminated natural environment that distinguish it.

Not for nothing Bronte gives more than one half of its territory to Etna’ and Nebrodi’s Parks and to the protected area of the Simeto’ grottoes.


The territory

has an altitude from 380 to 3350 meters above sea level. Goes from the top of Etna’ central crater (3.350 m.) to that of mount Soro, on the Nebrodi, and falls gently inside the Park of Etna (to which gives about 10.000 hectares) and the Park of the Nebrodi (to which it gives another 3.871 hectares including 1.495 in zone A of integral reserve.

Extraordinarily varied it represents a sample book of natural beauty  made of strong vegetation alternated by cultivated fields of all types  Farms and centenary forests framed by torrents and small lakes, everything following one another continuously in a glorious landscape absolutely magnificent.

Bronte's community (about 20.000 inhabitants) bases its economy on agriculture, sheep farming, handicrafts and, in a particular way, on pistachio growing, processed and commercialized mainly towards foreign countries.

Its climate, the characteristics small streets and the houses laid one top the other, the citizens' open and frank character, the lack of excessive wealth as also excessive poverty, makes Bronte a remarkable country town.
 

To protect and publicize the natural beauty, increase tourism even in small centers and fully enhance all resources present in our territory, with decree of 7 February 2002 the Regional Assessor to Cooperation has given to Bronte’s Council the title of “city of art” for all year and for the entire surface of its territory. 

BRONTE (acrostic in verses by Pietro Bruno)

Bel pistaccheto frutto ricercato
Regio Capizzi a studi rinomato
Ottocentesca lava di struttura
Nel Settecento emerge la Cultura,
Tu con la valle dòmini il Simeto
Ed operosa è gente a core lieto.

The territory is rich of pistacchieti (pistachio trees).

It is located above a lava slope in the nord-ovest zone of the Aetna and dominates the valley of the Simeto.

The scholar Nicola Spedalieri, that was borne here, and the Capizzi College, are the pre-eminent signs of the town cultural traditions.

The town center, with narrow,
Arabic-like streets, lays to a medium sea-level height
of 800 meters, on the northwest side of mount Etna.

Its altitude goes from 600 meters of the lowest point (new Sciarotta district) to 940 of the SS. Cristo zone.

This is how the son of illustrious Brontese Giuseppe Cimbali describes the environment of the country ("Nicola Spedalieri", 1888, Città di Castello):
«Has the horrid part and the pleasant part, the tender part and the epic part, in the same time. Here and there is lapped, or rather crowned, crowned sadly, by gigantic sizes of blackish washes; again, as for contrast, vague hills dominate it, rich always of vegetation and enchantment chase.
Down to the west and to vanishing mountains are ever green and fecund and rich mountains, that confuse themselves  with the infinite blue  of the big Sicilian sky, and farther on, at the end of a true desert where neither the broom, the lonely flower of the desert, began to bloom, the raises in all the majesty of his figure, as an appalling pyramid, good in his white mantle of snow in the winter; beautiful nor poor in the shreds of this mantle with which remains covered here and there, to strange strips, in the summer; beautiful always, also when it hurts, in the safe conscience of his size and of his omnipotence.

To enjoy the most wonderful sight of mount Etna is necessary going to Bronte: only to Bronte it shows itself in all the agreement, in all the purity, in all the harmony of his perfects and solemn lines.»

Even if the strange strips of snow which also of summer was covering the western side of the Etna are by now a far memory, the Giuseppe Cimbali description also remains very current today.

Bronte is a country town to man's measure:  the climate, the healthiness of the air, the characteristic narrow streets and the  houses laid one on top of the other, the citizens' open and frank character, the lack of excessive wealth as also of excessive poverty make it such.

For who comes to Bronte this translates hitself in the warmth of the resident people, in the cordiality of the ones who manage receptive structures, in a hospitality in constant improvement, in the ability of the local artisans, in an ancient culture and a wonderful and uncontaminated nature.

The modest, quiet, silent social life  is noticed prevalently along the Corso Umberto, the principal street  that cuts in two the town. The Course, paved with characteristic square basole  made in lava stone, is the principal road of habitat.

Coming to Bronte from Catania is the first to be reached.

Begins at the "Scialandro" and, with a tortuous trend, leads to many churches, to the squares, the most important palaces and the most prestigious shops.

Represents the brontese lounge, the commercial center, the place for parties and demonstrations, where young people and  elders have  appointments, a continuous bustle of people who meet, argue and take walks.

The Corso Umberto finishes, through the massive and ever present structures of the Real Capizzi College, and Piazza Spedalieri, the zone for parties and public manifestations.

The new quarters of the Sciarotta zone seen by the low part of the town and the Belvedere of the Scialandro. The Simeto runs at the end of the valley.
 

(in the original text)It is particularly interesting to go through the small streets (stradine) and the alleys, narrow and tortuous, and the flights of steps of Bronte’s Historical Centre (Centro Storico) for the presence of ancient buildings with simple and pleasant architecture, remarkable portals (portali) sculptured in lava stone, votive aedicules (edicole) and icons and also small sculptures placed on the lintel or the arch of the house.


Translated by Sam Di Bella
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