Floresta is the highest village in all of Sicily, at the center of suggestive mountain landscapes on the peaks of the Nebrodi Mountains. Its agricultural and handicraft traditions give life to excellent products, among which the famous Provola di Floresta, with its typical pear shape, stands out.
Founded in the seventeenth century by some exiles escaped from the Spaniards, the village today preserves the typical feudal structure, with stone houses grouped under the bell towers of the two churches of the village: the Chiesa Madre di Sant'Anna, which dates back to the mid eighteenth century dedicated to the patron saint of Floresta, and the one dedicated to Sant'Antonio da Padova. The first dates back to the mid-eighteenth century. Also worthy of mention are the beautiful noble palaces that face the streets of the historic center, such as Palazzo Lando, Palazzo Crimi, Palazzo Municipale and Palazzo Baronale. Of great artistic value are also the portals and the coats of arms in ancient stone, decorated with floral and animal representations, which dominate the buildings. The balconies are characteristic, protected by wrought iron elements and supported by elegantly carved shelves. Finally, 8 km from Floresta, it is worth visiting Contrada Giuffré, known for its beautiful forests populated by large maples, ancient oaks and rich undergrowth.
The territory that surrounds us Floresta was formerly occupied by a forest of tall trees, from which it derives its name, used by the Romans for timber. To perform this humble work there were slaves and condemned to long prison sentences, who lived in a gloomy building never identified. This first settlement was then abandoned during the High Middle Ages, due to the great difficulties of communication and supply, especially during the harsh winter months. In the fourteenth century the place was incorporated into the dominions of Federico d'Aragona. The territory was intensively exploited for cereal production, evidenced by the presence of numerous water mills, still visible near the waterways. Only in 1820 Floresta had a real urban layout, developed around the Mother Church of Sant'Anna. Nearby, many pastoral stone shelters are visible, called pagghiari 'mpetra, cubburi or Tholos. These are dry stone constructions, with a circular plan and a domed roof, which harmonize beautifully with the surrounding landscape.
Pastoralism and crafts
Cattle breeding is the most ancient profession practiced in Floresta, a tradition still marked by the rhythm of the seasons. The shepherds spent spring and summer in the pastures, while in the winter transhumance takes place to warmer areas, called the "marine". The breeding was aimed at the production of cheeses, in particular fresh ricotta, seasoned, baked and the famous Florentine provola. In the village there are also the craft traditions linked to the art of weaving the reed, the working of the stone, practiced since 1600, and finally to the embroidery called "a mastra", whose history today is dedicated to the exhibition of handmade embroidery.