A town that remains almost purely medieval, Gangi is characterized by her picturesque streets faced by stone facades. The Chiesa Madre (XVII-c) is home to prestigious works of art including the Universal Judgement (1629), considered to be the masterpiece of Giuseppe Salerno, one of the two “zoppi” of Gangi. In addition, the town is home to numerous other churches including SS Salvatore, featuring a wooden crucifix by Frà Umile da Petralia and the Passage to Calvary of Giuseppe Salerno, plus the church of S. Maria in Gesù, once the Benedictine Hospice (XV-c), whose facade is impressively decorated by ornate bas reliefs. In the interior the visitor may admire works of the XV-c such as the wooden Annuciation.
Gangi is also known for one of Europe’s best Holy Week festivals, whereby takes place a competition between devotees of Jesus and Mary.

Gangi’s origins have been connected to the ancient Greek city of Engyon, or Hebrita, but this theory remains unconfirmed. Traces of Roman presence are instead testified by archaeological excavations under the Abbey of Gangivecchio (“Old Gangi”).

The current settlement dates to 1300, when it was rebuilt on the Monte Marone after its destruction in the course of the Sicilian Vespers war, as part of the county of Geraci. In 1625 it was acquired by the Graffeo family who, four years later, were made Princes of Gangi; in 1677 the title went to the Valguarnera. In the 18th century Gangi was a flourishing cultural centre, with several literary clubs and the construction of notable noble residences.

Later, after the unification of Italy, Gangi was the centre of fierce suppression of brigands who lived in the area. In 1926 it was the location of one of the hardest repression of mafia in Italy, carried out by the local prefect Cesare Mori.

In 2014, the local administration under a dynamic mayor began disposing of abandoned houses with some being given away and others being sold for a nominal price. The recipients had to agree to spend at least 35,000 euros on restoration within five years. The giveaway is a means to stimulate tourism-related activities and diversify the local economy, which was primarily dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. The scheme has proved a great success.

Main sights:

  • The Castle, on the highest part of Mount Marone, built probably in the 14th century. It was the seat of the county lords.
  • Palazzo Sgadari and Palazzo Bongiorno, two notable noble residences.
  • Mother church of San Nicolò di Bari (14th century). Today it is connected to the large Ventimiglia tower, which has been turned into a campanile. It houses a Final Judgement by Giuseppe Salerno, several statues by the local sculptor Filippo Quattrocchi, 18th-century frescoes in the SS. Sacrament oratory and a crypt with mummies of priests.
  • Sanctuary of the Spirito Santo.
  • Abbey of Gangivecchio (1366).
  • The notable Romanesque church of San Giuseppe dei Ricchi (also known as San Paolo).
  • Late Baroque Chiesa della Badia.
  • Parish church of Santa Maria del Gesù, with a Romanesque campanile. It houses the precious sculptures of Madonna with Child and Annunciation by Quattrocchi
  • For more information visit official website

    How to get Gangi from Villa ai Mulini