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.
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. Until not long ago, before the last renovation, the external walls of the church were painted by the believers with azole dye, a powder used in antiquity in order to give the limestone an indigo colour. A lot of visitators saw in that white-coloured church, some pictoresque Greek landscape.
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.
“…Suona la torre,
è già l’imbrunire
scandisce quel tempo
puntuale adunata alla Scala
per le vispe e sincere comari
i loro lunghi scialli le avvolgono,
tra svelti salti su alti gradoni
tutte in cima all’antico castello
per osservare l’imperituro tramonto
che brilla sul mare.
Ecco un brioso storno di nere mantelle
Ilari pensieri su volti sbiaditi
irrorando il capo nella gelida fonte
di un abbeveratoio di pietra.
Poi, un colpo d’occhio,
un lungo corteo fa ritorno…
bestie da soma
Nitidamente la dolce visione;
sporte di vimini, fasci di fieno
ed un pugno di fiaccole in mano
a passo lento come granchi di fiume.
Ecco Peppino di Lucio il capraio
un inebriante mazzo di origano,
la sua strenna per la dolce Rosina
e un paniere di fichi maturi per donna Iacudda.
Ecco adunato un coro di madri, di figlie, di spose
che intonano il serafico canto del vespro
innanzi l’altare del Dio Crocefisso
Ognuna ha la sua storia, le sue rughe, la sua voce, il suo amore.
Un ultimo ricordo prima di volare via come le gru,
così rade sui cieli madoniti
Ma che a volte ritornano…”
(Sulla strada del ritorno, di Marco Fragale)