by Rochelle Del Borrello | Feb 07, 2014
The coastal city of Patti, near Messina isn’t exactly a typically sleepy Sicilian town, in the summer it is a buzzing tourist centre and is assured of its importance thanks to the many government offices and organizations who make their home there. Patti’s vicinity to other major cities also makes it a significant spot in the map of north western Sicily.
Yet Patti is symbolic of secluded Sicily thanks to it’s ancientness. You must remember Sicily has been an inhabited place since prehistoric times and so human history has firmly made its home here. The stories humanity has left behind here are truly fascinating. I keep coming back to this place thanks to a remarkable literary reference that gives Patti a special place in my heart.
Apart from the banal fact it is the location of a major hospital, law courts, the treasury and land tax office, two major high schools, a university campus and the forestry department amongst others things Patti is also an arch diocese in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is this religious element that makes Patti so important. You see, the Basilica of Patti has been around for centuries. The Basilica of Saint Bartholomew is the burial place of Sicilian royalty and nobility dating back to the middle ages.
While reading my much loved copy of Goethe’s Italian Journey I was left aghast to discover he passed through Patti in the 1786 and was a welcomed guest at the famous monastery. I always get a kick out of finding tangible links to great works of literature, it helps to keep them evermore vivid.
It surprised me to see such an unassuming place with so much undisclosed history behind it. All it took was a little background reading to discover such an important connection to possibly the most famous travelogue of all time.
Patti reminds me never to underestimate any place in Sicily. No matter how dull it may seem, it is always worth taking that exit off the Autostrada to visit Patti and her hidden
If you are ever visiting Sicily by car be sure to get off the highway and explore a new town. Even if you simply peak into a church you will discover many artful treasures, ask about local attractions for a unique travel experience, eat in a local Trattoria or family run restaurant and you will probably have the best meal of your life. Simply give Sicily a chance to surprise you and you won’t be disappointed.
Rochelle Del Borrello
For more Secluded Sicily in the province of Messina see my blog Unwilling Expat and be sure suggest other places you’d like to see.
For those who read Italian here is a link to the town of Patti.