L'Abbazia di San Giorgio nel cuore delle Madonie - Emerald - Residence Hotel Cefalù sul mare

The Abbey of San Giorgio in the heart of Madonie

“Thus the foundation stone was laid to found a mysterious cenoby San Giorgio dei Crateri,
in a renowned place, crossroads of pilgrims
entrusting it to unusual white canons
of Premontrè, in Upper France,
who had their only monastery in Sicily
at the dawn of the year 1000
adorned with mysterious creatures
and by still undeciphered geometric symbols
that would refer to the cosmatesque style
of skilled draughtsmen.”

(From “Gratteri, from crater, cup, Graal. Rough diamond set in rock” by M.Fragale)

If you are ready to embark on a journey into the distant Middle Ages for an exciting experience, you cannot miss a visit to the ruins of a unique Norman abbey in the woods of Gratteri. This is one of the oldest historical monuments in the Madonite village, just 17 km from Cefalù and a half-hour walk from the town, through an unspoilt natural landscape.

The meeting pont is at the ‘passo della Scala’ – below the little church of the Crucifix – where a path begins, which has been renamed Via dei Premostratensi for a few decades now. One arrives at a lonely place, steeped in stories and legends, where a superhuman peace reigns supreme, but which, at the time of the coenoby’s foundation, must have been a strategic point of intersection between two Roman roads that were much frequented by wayfarers and pilgrims.

Today, the site has become a favourite destination for many visitors, both Italian and foreign, who come to discover what might seem, at first glance, to be just another ruin, but which in reality, is a milestone of the Norman Way in Sicily.

The church of the monastery of San Giorgio is in fact a cultural asset of singular importance in the Sicilian panorama from a historical, artistic, spiritual and anthropological point of view. Its origins date back to the 12th century and are situated in a very complex and, at the same time, intriguing period of medieval history.

A monument founded by the Normans and entrusted to a French order, the Premonstratensian monks, the only example in Sicily, and then, in 1300, inherited by the Hospitallers of Jerusalem, better known as the Knights of Malta.

You will discover a fascinating history of a Norman monument where real events and singular legends blend together in a highly evocative scenario that makes Gratteri a unique historical document ready to be included in the Unesco Arab-Norman site.

For more information and prices on guided tours, contact Gratteri Holiday