To visit Montalbano Elicona is to step right into a medieval movie. With its well-preserved beautiful stone houses, resting on the mountain slope, the impressive stone castle towering over the town and the green, surrounding nature – and of course the turquoise Mediterranean Sea to complete this tasty dish.
To make this situation perfect, the wider audience have not yet found this delicate little Mediterranean gem. True, the number of visitors has increased since 2015, when the town was officially crowned as one of Italy’s most beautiful towns ( Borghi più belli d’Italia ), but you can still walk around relatively undisturbed to enjoy the town’s medieval feel.
Montalbano Elicona is in the province of Messina, with its dramatic natural countryside. The province is characterized by high mountains, green scenery, great beaches and many pretty mountain villages interspersed in the large nature park of Nebrodi. Life is quiet and peaceful here in the high mountains. Good food, friendliness and the feel of nature await you. Here shepherds make your cheese in their small sheds out on the mountains, the meat comes from free-roaming cattle in the area, the vegetables are grown locally and the old legends still live strongly in everyday life.
The 2,500 or so people who live here are proud of their beautiful town, eager to share everything it has to offer. The magnificent castle was founded in 1233 by King Federico II di Aragona, and now serves as a museum. In principle, the entire old town is medieval and remarkably well preserved. Here you have beautiful small stone alleys, draped with flowers and here and there you will hear roosters crow in the small courtyards. Peace reigns and you get the feeling that time stand still.
The most important festivals here are the live nativity scene at Christmas and the “Madonna della Divina Provvidenza” which is celebrated on August 24. Between these major festivals, the local people find many further occasions and reasons to decorate the town and party –throughout the year medieval feasts, food “festas”, processions of the town’s patron saint, etc. are organised.
There is a half hour ride to the stunning beach of Tindari. Would you instead fancy a day by the pool, there is a nice pool facility with bar, pizzeria etc just outside town.
Catania airport it is about 100 kilometers away and to the airport of Reggio Calabria (on the mainland) it is 95 kilometers. Montalbano Elicona is just 40 kilometres to the larger city of Milazzo, from where you can take the ferries to the Aeolian Islands.