Agriturismo located in Petralia Sottana, Sicily. The farm is equipped with a variety of self-contained apartments, a restaurant and community area, a swimming pool, all of which are harmoniously in keeping with the surroundings.
For centuries Monaco di Mezzo has been the central point of the Monaco feudal estates, estates which are so extensive that they were divided into three hamlets: Monaco di Sopra (Upper Monaco), Monaco di Mezzo (Middle Monaco) and Monaco di Sotto (Lower Monaco) with their own large farms which were linked by tracks. The only church was at Monaco di Mezzo and all the people from the feudal estates worshipped there.
The farm and hamlet of Monaco di Mezzo nestles in a valley which is good for cultivating hard wheat. Until a few decades ago the farm buildings were surrounded by stone huts with thatched roofs in which the farm workers families lived in the winter months. The structure was that of a single large estate which, given the poor earning capacity of the land and the extensive area of land necessary to economic survival, was the most rational answer to the difficulties. Wheat and sheep were and are the principal sources of the estate's income, while olive and wine production only suffice local needs.
The Monaco estate, a charitable bequest to the Church from Baron Agliata of Petralia Sottana, was sold by the Church Land Commissioners to Baron Michele Pottino in 1865 and, today, it is part of the estates of Marchesi Pottino.
Alongside traditional cereal, sheep and horse farming there is now agri-tourism.
The farm is equipped with a variety of self-contained apartments, a restaurant and community area all of which are harmoniously in keeping with the surroundings.
The warmth of timber and local stone frame the spectacular views from this natural haven of rest, without a sign of human pollution but with the perpetual beauty of the seasonally changing colours.
Many sports facilities are available, swimming-pool, ranging from horse-riding to paras-gliding; there is the nearby Madonie National Park and Nature Conservation Area with its history and art; there are local wines, olive oil, cheeses, preserves, home-cured meats and home-reared beef to taste - all things to make a stay varied and enjoyable.
There is no lack of good food: pasta with broad beans, lentil soup, pasta with stewed pork, pasta with wild local mushrooms and cottage cheese, barbecued home reared meat, roast suckling pig, boiled lamb, wild asparagus with scrambled eggs, local cheese and cured meats, freshly picked fruit and vegetables guarantee good eating.
However, it is not enough to eat well, it is also necessary to eat healthily and at Monaco di Mezzo the meat, cheese, oil, fruit and vegetables are guaranteed to have been produced absolutely naturally, without the use of chemicals in either their production or their preservation.
Monaco di Mezzo is ideal for a weekend away which breaks the grey reality of the city with an explosion of nature.
Activities and surrounding
From the farmhouse is possible reach important city as Gangi, archaeological excavations not only show that this area is the site of the ancient Sicula town of Engyon but there were also Roman and medieval settlements in the area of Gangivecchio (Old Gangi). The old city was destroyed by Federico II in 1299 and the new area began to be developed around the castle built by the local Lord, Francesco Ventimiglia in the fourteenth century. In the days before "Ferragosto" (the Italian public summer holiday on 15th August, which is in fact the religious festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, something that most Italians seem to have forgotten) there is the Festival of the "Spiga" (ear of corn) with its evocative costume procession, twisting and turning, and ancient vehicles without wheels.
Polizzi, the town has developed around the castle built on the instructions of Ruggero I (The Norman King Roger I) in 1076, probably on the site of the medieval town. The famous winter tourist centre of Piano Battaglia can be easily reached from here, one of the main centres of the Madonie park.
Petralia Sottana, is around the Norman castle walls. XIV century papers already described it as Petralia Inferior to distinguish it from Petralia Superior (Soprana). On the first Sunday after "Ferragosto" Petralia Sottana plays host to the ballet pantomime of the Cordella with its traditional costume wedding procession.
Petralia Soprana is the highest town in the Province of Palermo, situated 1147 metres above sea level. Possibly of Greek or Sikan origin, the town is certainly recorded as Petra from the third century A.D. It was an impregnable fortress in the Arab period when it was occupied by Christians and Muslims side by side. Under the Normans it retained its strategic ro1e and adopted its modern name of Petralia. Petralia is a tourist attraction and holiday location. Its position high on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the Madonie allows it to dominate the countryside around and this location and the town's cultural wealth make the pleasure of a visit almost a duty to oneself.