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Niscemi is a small town situated on a plateau between Hyblaean and Erean mountains, inhabited since ancient times by Sicels, Romans, Arabs and Normans, who named the settlement Nixenum. The 17th century village built following the will of Prince Giuseppe Branciforte Barrese, gathering around Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III surrounded by the major public and religious buildings.
More About Niscemi
The statues of the evangelists John and Mark and the Apostles Peter and Paul, embellishes the eighteenth century Santa Maria d'Itria mother church. Opposite stands the 18th century church ''dell'Addolorata'' e ''del Santissimo Crocifisso'', built by the Confraternity of the Santissimo Crocifisso and the Sisters of the Addolorata on the site of an earlier chapel. Designed by the architect Silvestro Giugliara, it boasts an elegant convex façade topped by the belfry and an elongated octagonal interior decorated with frescoes.
Located just out of town is the Santuario di Maria SS. del Bosco, patron saint of Niscemi. It's situated on the site where, according to the legend, in 1599 a shepherd accidentally discovered an image of Our Lady, which soon became the subject of great devotion. The original canvas was destroyed by fire, but a copy is kept in the 18th century baroque church. To the sacred picture the main religious feast is dedicated, celebrated in August every year with a procession from the sanctuary to the church of Santa Maria d'Idria. More celebrations and pilgrimages in honor of the patron saint are held in May.
Covering an area of approximately 3000 hectares within the town's boundaries, the Natural Reserve of La Sughereta di Niscemi is the last remnant of what used to be the largest forest of cork oaks in south-central Sicily. It's an oasis of typical Mediterranean maquis populated by small undergrowth animals and mammals such as wild cat, fox, and numerous bird species.
Typical dishes of Niscemi are the '''mpanate'' and ''piruna'', pastry stuffed respectively with cabbage and spinach.