The municipality of Aragona is placed at 428 metres above the sea level and is located on the east slopes of the Belvedere Mountain, among several lanes converging in the main street that cuts them horizontally. Its territory has a surface of 7.443 hectare and the town counts 10.267 inhabitants. The municipality is an important agricultural centre with a large production of almonds, olives, wheat and pistachios as well as another important aspect is represented by sheep and bovine breeding . Its foundation dates back to 1606 when the noble Baldassarre Naselli got the licentia populandi from the viceroy Lorenzo Suarez, in order to build a town in the old feud Diesi. The new built-up area took its name from its founder’s mother Beatrice Aragona Branciforti. The Naselli family ruled the town until 1812, the year of the suppression of the feudal rights.
Aragona is a charming small town, rich of history, nature, art and culture. The several tourist routes lead the visitor to the discovery of unique and delightful places. The necropolis of Caldare and San Vincenzo are the witnesses of very far past. The findings which have been discovered here date back to from 3500 to 1300 B.C. The tombs dug-out in the rock are called “a forno” ( oven), the most recent date back to the Minoan- Mycenaean period. In the tombs of S. Vincenzo Mountain some findings, dating back to Aegean- Mycenaean period, have been brought to light. Some historians wrote about the necropolis, such as A. Mosso: “ At the north of the station of Caldare a small hill rises, going from the west to the east. It continues towards a mountain rich of sulphur mines and on the other side it ends down to the plain. Those who are passing from the station of Girgenti or arriving from Aragona, can see on the top of the hill, forming three heights, the circular openings of the tombs in the white cliff rising among olive trees and carobs.”
Some recent excavations have brought to light the ruins of the foundations of Villa Romana Funtanazza which are very interesting. They date back to the Byzantine period as well as the tombs with human finds.
The most important area is the hill of Vulcanelli which is white and grey, characterized by sedimentary volcanism. The sulphur mines are very attractive from an historical point of view. The dross of sulphur ( the remaining part of the melting process material-gangue) is located on the east side of the mountain of Aragona, where the winzes of the mines were situated. The mineral site presents some small pinkish hills where the vegetation is poor because of the sterility of the ground.
The baroque Mother Church dates back to 1606 and was built by the Earl Baldassarre Naselli, it was dedicated to “Nostra Signora dei Tre Re” Inside there are some stucco works which can be assigned to Serpotta, a painting by the Zoppo di Ganci o more probably by Pietro D’Asaro dated on 1607 , a statue of the Virgin of Mercy assigned to Gagini and a paper-pulp crib dated on 700. The Church of Purgatorio, dates back to 1667 and has an interesting neoclassical façade which makes it appear more modern. In the second half of the nineteenth century. The feast of the Sacra Sindone ( the Holy Shroud) was celebrated with a procession parading along the streets of the town and was accompanied by a band and by drums. During the celebration, the relic of the border of the cloth, which had wrapped Jesus, was exhibited to the believers. This relic had been given by the Naselli family to the Mother Church.
The Palazzo Naselli (Mansion Naselli) has a rectangular structure with four small loggias at each corner. Its interior is enriched by some precious frescoes by Borremans. Baldassarre Naselli Branciforti, who had been ruling the principality since 1711, instructed Borremans to fresco the halls of the mansion. The vaults of many rooms and especially the large hall of the mansion, the loggias and the chapel were frescoed with a wide variety of sacred and profane subjects. At the beginning of the century, at the top of the main doors, it was still possible to admire two medallions painted with beautiful half-figures of the Redeemer and of the Virgin and at the top of the walls some scenes from the Old and the New Testament. In 1880 there still were the scenes from the Judgement of Salomon, Rebecca in the well, Moses with the Tables of the Law and the Samaritan. Everything was destroyed when the vault and the large hall were restored. Nowadays the Mansion is occupied by the Town Hall for its half part. The Carmine Church dates back to the XIX century and it keeps the paintings of San Galluzzo, Vincenzo Manno and Domenico Provenzali, the Provvidenza Church (Providence) was built in the nineteenth century and it keeps a wooden statue of the Black Christ by unknown author and its original bell tower realized with squared tuff ashlars. The Palazzina Morreale-Vella dates back to 1910, in neo-gothic style.
It is interesting to underline some events referring to the oenogastronomic tradition such as the Sagra del Taganu ( pan festival) which proposes performances and tasting of typical products and the Sagra della Salsiccia ( sausages festival) which takes place on September.
Several cultural events promote the territory of Aragona. The Carnevale Aragonese ( the carnival of Aragona) organizes allegorical carts parades, concert and local handicrafts small markets. During the Easter Week, art and handicraft exhibitions are organized and, starting from January, an Ornithological Exhibition is organized every third Sunday of the month. Also the religious calendar is very rich of events. On August Santa Rosalia, on September San Vincenzo and on October the Madonna del Rosario are celebrated.