Bivona, located in the heart of the Sicani Mountains, was during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, one of the major feudal centers of Sicily and the first to be elevated to a "duchy".
Over the following centuries it remained an important political-administrative and religious center, and has been enriched over time by a notable and enviable historical and artistic heritage.
Of considerable importance is the very ancient cult reserved for Santa Rosalia, patron saint of the town, who lived in Bivona, in a cave hidden in an oak forest, for 5 years. She subsequently moved to the Quisquina wood where she lived in a cave for another 12 years. In 1348, when Bivona was struck by a plague, her Saint appeared on a stone in the place where the church dedicated to her is today, freeing the town from the plague. Many years later, in 1624, Palermo too was miraculously saved from a very serious plague, through the intercession of the Saint. The wonderful fercolo, a masterpiece of Baroque art, the work of the Bivonese priest R. Valenti, dates back to the early 1600s.
The most appreciated product of agricultural production is certainly the white peach of Bivona, which has obtained the recognition of the I.G.P.
Heard and participated by citizens of Bivona and not, it turns out to be the Fishing Festival which takes place every year around the last Sunday of August, when Bivona becomes the center of cultures, music and traditions from all corners. of the world.
Churches, Palaces, Castles and Ancient Fountains
Old Chesa Madre - ruins of the Chiaramontano Gothic Portal: It is attributed to Giovanni Chiaramonte (1374). Traces of the Chiaramonte can be recognized in some coat of arms inserted in the façade. It was the Mother Church of Bivona, it had three naves and the central one was double the other two. The building was equipped with numerous altars (about 20) that were built by noble families to increase their prestige, as a sign of social distinction. The ornaments that remain of the Old Mother Church are the statue of Our Lady of Candlemas and the ancient baptismal font, both preserved in the new Mother Church. Of its structure only the precious Gothic style portal remains, which has become one of the numerous symbols that represent the town of Bivona.
Mater Salvatoris Church or Mother Church: It was built during the seventeenth century, by the Jesuits, who having obtained the concession of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, built their second college there, also home to popular grammar schools and of rhetoric. It became the mother church in 1781, replacing the old Chiaramontana matrix. The church has a single nave with side chapels in Baroque style. Its internal decoration composed of pure gold stuccoes on a white background makes the church rich and refined. Inside we find some seventeenth-century paintings such as S. Ignazio di Loyola and San Francesco Saverio by Geronimo Gerardi, the Madonna del Lume by Filippo Randazzo and the beautiful altar called "degli Specchi" from 1727 original of the Jesuit church, but also the canvas of San Girolamo of 1757. The church is also rich in some works of art such as the black crucifix of the sixteenth century, considered miraculous, the Spiraling Christ of 1710 (the second in Sicily to be in this characteristic position).
Church of Santa Rosalia is the church dedicated to the Patroness of Bivona. Already in the 14th century there was a small church dedicated to the Saint in the same place. On the occasion of the plague of 1624, the Bivonese, convinced that they had been preserved from the infection, proclaimed her Saint Rosalia Patroness of Bivona for the protection granted to them and built a larger church. Inside we find the beautiful statue and the rich "vara" of Santa Rosalia sculpted by the priest Ruggero Valenti. 12 silver bells hang from the vault of the fercolo. The statue is richly covered in pure gold and was restored in 1983 on the interest of the then parish priest Giuseppe Castellano. The fercolo with the Saint are carried in procession on September 4th by twenty men.
Around 1600 Sister Maria Roccaforte had some visions concerning Santa Rosalia. The Saint would have revealed to her that she had lived in Bivona, precisely in an oak forest, on the banks of the Alba river (which still flows along the Via Lorenzo Panepinto). Santa Rosalia, always according to Sister Maria, was forced to flee to the Quisquina after being seen by some lumberjacks.
Convent of the Capuchins. Already present in 1500 it was then dedicated to Saints Philip and James. It hosted several friars, including Frà Bernardo da Corleone, venerated saint in 2001, of which some events set in Bivona are told.
The church has a single nave. On the altar we find a beautiful very large canvas depicting S. Maria degli Angeli with Saints Philip and James Francesco and Cristina of the sixteenth century by Ettore Cruzer located inside a beautiful wooden frame made by the Capuchin friars in the eighteenth century; on the right we find a beautiful crucifix that dates back to the eighteenth century, and a statue of San Francesco, another canvas of great value that dates back to 1630 by Giuseppe Salerno (the lame of Ganci) which depicts the Immaculate Conception with the Saints Anthony of Padua , Carlo Borromeo, Chiara and Lucia, in front of the chapel there is a painting, which depicts the Blessed Bernardo da Corleone, dating back to 1988. During the summer the church hosts many faithful who come to the oasis to pray.
In fact, inside the structure we find a beautiful equipped area that allows you to pray in the peace of nature.
Palaces and Castles
The Marchese Greco palace dates back to the 18th century, built in the late Baroque style and reproduces, in a completely original way, the respective Spanish models. It has eight balconies on the main facade. The western corner balcony features grotesque stone figures, similar to caryatids, reminiscent of the monsters that decorate Villa Palagonia in Bagheria di Palermo and the balconies of Palazzo Nicolaci di Noto. The external sculptures represent plant forms and fruits, symbols of material abundance and economic prosperity.
The building was completed in 1707, and subsequently was the seat of the Subintendency of Bivona. In the eastern part there is the coat of arms of the Marquisate of the Greco family.
The family shield is blue, with a silver comet, waving on the pole, accompanied by three shells of the same, 2 at the head and 1 at the tip. The structure is owned by the municipality, completely restored inside, little remains of the original building.
Magazzino del Duca (16th century), located in via Lorenzo Panepinto, near the Clock Tower. It is a building used as a ducal warehouse, located a few tens of meters further north of the Doge's Palace. The area in front of the warehouse, before 1847, was crossed by the river Alba: therefore a bridge was built right in front of the building, to allow a quick and easy passage from one bank of the river to the other. Today the privately owned warehouse has been transformed into a local (pub-pizzeria), while maintaining, however, the essential architectural features of the era in which it was built.
Clock Tower From 1588, its structure is divided into three sections: in the first we have the access door, in the second a small porthole window and in the last section the clock. On the outside, the edges of the building are highlighted by a rhythmic play of bricks that protrude and retract and which accentuate the verticality of the work even more. The clock rings to the rhythm of bells every hour and marks every quarter of an hour until today.
A SERIES OF ANCIENT FOUNTAINS CONCLUDES THE PARTICULARITY OF BIVONA: Fontana Pazza, Fontana di li razor clams or half orange trees. Fountain of li Ferri XVIII.