The road that connects Agrigento to Palermo, always in Sicily, is an important direction of movement for men, animals and things. Since the archaic age, it has allowed to connect the shores of the Mediterranean with those of the Tyrrhenian, allowing the South to breathe the air of the North and its cultural contaminations.
From the Greek colonists from the Aegean islands who came in the seventh century. to found the Sicisian poleis and they confronted and clashed with the Phoenician people who occupied the western cusp of the island, to the Romans who, once taken Akragas went up this road to conquer Panormus, building a network with neat meshes of statio and mansio, points built at precise distances that allowed to change horses, refresh or sleep, remained active until the fourth century. A.D. .
By the Byzantines who shortly afterwards occupied the region and inserted it in the thema of Sicily, settling on the fortresses and on the hills for defensive purposes to the Muslim warriors who invaded the island from northern Africa, Arabia and Spain in the ninth century. transforming the face of the streets and villages that over the centuries prospered or were abandoned. Up to the French knights from the Normandy coast. In just over thirty years, the Normans led by the Grand Count Ruggero d'Altavilla and his brother Roberto the Guiscardo, reconquered the island for two centuries now under the control of the Emirs and recrystallised the whole territory, rebuilding the Greek rite churches, building them new in the Latin rite, allowing that osmosis that created the premises for today's Sicilian society.
What you will see are not just paths between the fields and the various urban centers. They are the legacy left to us by these people, they are the Royal Trazzere that at the end of the nineteenth century the Bourbons cataloged and designed in their Royal Cadastre. All this mixture is what you will encounter. What still makes us say: “Siciliani semu, a populu who sings in joy; 'Nta lu sangu avemu the strength of the ancient cavaleri, Nurmanni, Greeks, Arabs and Spaniards, who is Sicily vosiru vantari ... ". (source: official website)
"The Magna Via Francigena begins in front of the Cathedral of Palermo and following Corso Calatafimi reaches Monreale and its Cathedral, walking side by side with the Itinerarium Rosaliae. From here, after crossing the valley, you pass the Conca d'Oro and reach the the hills of Santa Cristina Gela and the lake of Piana degli Albanesi The road continues along the stretches of wheat towards the Sanctuary of Tagliavia and towards Corleone, after which it goes towards Prizzi.
You enter the village of the Sicani after turning around the artificial lake and from here continue towards the Monte Carcaci Nature Reserve to reach Castronovo di Sicilia, the geographical center of the Magna Via. The route from here follows the course of the Platani river, passing through Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini, until it cuts the railway, the state road and climbs towards the fortress of Sutera. Under the bulk of San Paolino the road continues touching the rural villages of Campofranco, Milena and Racalmuto and reaches the center of Grotte, a small town in the Agrigento area.
The last stages lead us to overcome the Platani and reach the mining village of Comitini and Aragona to finish with the center of Joppolo Giancaxio. The last stretch of countryside reaches the imposing fortress of Agrigento, its Athenian cliff and overlooks the Mediterranean sea and the Valley of the Temples. "(Source: official site)
Stages Castronovo > Cammarata > San Giovanni Gemini
Municipalities: Cammarata, Castronovo di Sicilia, San Giovanni Gemini
Route length: 12.7 km
Maximum elevation: 692 m
Minimum elevation :: 380 m
Route: Asphalt 35% other 65%
Maximum gradient: 24.3%;
The heart of the Magna Via Francigena is right between the Rocca di San Vitale with its Norman ruins and its churches and the plateau of the Kassar on the mountain from which the road descends. A visit to the entire center of the Sicani village allows you to better understand the authenticity of the welcome. The road continues along a nineteenth-century trazzera which, cutting the modern hairpin bends, crosses the sports field, the emergency track for the helicopter rescue and the cemetery and reaches the intersection of the provincials that lead to fast scrolling. From here, 400 m after the crossroads, you will find the turning point for the path that leads to the Colle San Vitale company which preserves inside its land the precious archaeological evidence of the Capelvenere Necropolis: a large rock excavated for the disposal of burials and reused over the centuries also for housing purposes. Once past the site, cross the Platani along a passage that is not recommended in winter because of the water flow but which in spring and summer allows the pleasure of a cooling bath on your feet. After crossing the river you reach the most imposing control site of the Magna Via, the Casale di San Pietro, which probably preserves the memory of the Islamic settlement underground that stood around the farmhouse mentioned by Norman diplomas. The excavations of the Archaeological Superintendence of Palermo and the missions of the University of Rome Tor Vergata and York are bringing to light new discoveries that will better clarify the history of this place that has always seen the passage of people from north to south. Leaving the farmhouse behind you reach a fountain and from here you begin to climb the trazzera which follows the course of the Platani tributary, the Saracena stream, until you reach Cammarata and its castle. Entering the village allows you to stock up on food and water and to continue along the track towards the neighboring municipality of San Giovanni Gemini. (Source: official website)
Stages Cammarata/San Giovanni Gemini > Sutera
Municipalities: Cammarata, San Giovanni Gemini, Sutera
Route length: 20.3 km
Maximum elevation: 654 m
Minimum elevation :: 250 m
From the village of San Giovanni Gemini, an interpoderale road allows to exit from the inhabited center and to take the trazzera that goes down towards the river. The stage towards Sutera can easily find a stop in the accommodation facilities of the area that provide hospitality and refreshment to the traveler and from here continue along the old national road for about 2 km and then pass the railway and the SS 189, in a straight stretch where it's easier to cross while keeping your attention high. A trazzera begins which climbs for about 1.5 km and reaches the cemetery and the town of Acquaviva Platani, where you can rest and top up the water. From here a former disused provincial road takes us along the trazzere that walk on the ridge to the hills that surround Sutera and the Rocca di San Paolino. Enchanting landscapes in every season of the year that act as a scenic backdrop to the farms along the way, like the last one before Sutera which preserves the medieval origins of the town inside. The last few kilometers lead to the town and its imposing fortress, a sacred site that can be visited and perhaps fortified in the medieval period. A visit to the village and its small precious pearls is inevitable: the ràbato that still preserves the urban layout of the Arab type, made of small streets and houses built one behind the other, the ancient spit of San Simone, the church mother dedicated to the Assumption and the municipal ethno-anthropological museum located in the former Carmelite convent, the hill of Santa Croce and the palace of Francesco Salamone, one of the 13 Italian leaders who disputed the famous Challenge of Barletta. (source: official website)