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In order to reach Monterosso Almo,  one must drive by the junction called “Maltempo” (transl. Bad weather). As you carry on driving, you can see how the landscape transforms itself offering a variety of  picturesque images, until you reach a natural reserve called “Calaforno” ; here, many years ago,  a process of intense reforestation has begun that is turning a barren landscape into a fresh and cosy pine forest. Down in the valley, near an old mill, there is the cave of “Calaforno”, made of 35 stone cubicles next to each other,  which in past served as a necropolis and, afterwards were converted into homes. In this area the Forest Ranger Service has built picnic areas where you can spend pleasant days in contact with nature and observe some animals such as porcupines and many species of birds. Passing the junction for Giarratana and after few kilometres, you reach the old railway station of the village ,  from here starts  a road that leads to Buccheri and Mount Lauro. Before entering the town we can find a ringroad connecting the village with the road that leads to Vizzini. Monterosso has the highest altitude and is located in the most north point of the province . Its territory is almost entirely mountainous, not very fruitful and not very well irrigated, with the exception of small areas. The main occupation of the population is almost exclusively agriculture, which is the core of the local economy. A decent number of vineyards, remarkable production of cereals, almonds, walnuts, figs, olives, very famous and appreciated worldwide are the big cherries called “raffini” .The sheep-farming has gained also a certain relevance thanks to the very good and high quality sheep cheese produced here.
The Carnival in Monterosso is becoming increasingly famous. The highlight of this festival is the big parade of carnival floats and the  final party in the  public square. Moreover, festivals such as “ pane caldo” (transl. hot bread)  and "cavatieddi" (local home made fresh pasta)  draw a large number of bon vivant.  Like all other towns in the province of Ragusa, Monterosso has deep roots in ancient history. In its territory we  can find the above mentioned necropolis of Calaforno, and the village of Monte Casasia, located at 738 m. of altitude. These discoveries made in the 60s, testify the presence of Sicilian populations in prehistoric times. Initially, it must have been a few isolated groups, that later came together to build a  larger and safer village easier to defend. We do not have, at least until now, any evidence from the Greek and Roman periods. In a document dated 300 A.D.  there is a mention  of the village that , together with the hamlets of Gulfi and Comiso, was annexed to the Byzantium empire. Another mention of the village appears in  a bull by Pope Alexander III (1468). In this period the town was renamed Mount Iohalmo. After that, the village was dominated by  Earl Enrico Rosso di Aidone who rebuilt it and built a castle near the  quarter of Casale, whose remains today are no longer visible. After the marriage between Earl Rosso  and  Luchina, Federico Chiaramonte’s daughter, the village  became part of the County of Modica. It was during this period that it was renamed Monterosso. After that the reign of Chiaramonte ended in 1393, the county passed to Bernardo Cabrera, who first created the province of Ragusa. His son, John Bernardo, because of the numerous debts,  had to sell some of the possessions, Monterosso was then sold to Louis Perollo for 1160 ounces. In 1508 the heirs Cabrera regained possession of the town and built two castles, one in the upper part and another one , later used as a prison,  in the lower part. In 1541, Monterosso was one of the five universities (corporations required to pay taxes) that constituted the county. In 1693 the village, known as Mons Rubens, was entirely destroyed by the earthquake. During the Spanish period the town was called Casal Lupia or Lupine and even a wolf appeared on the coat of arms. For this reason it is a common belief that once the area was inhabited by these  canines. Today Monterosso follows the profile of the mountain which it is built upon  and appears to "split" into two parts, upper and lower, this has generated a sort of parish rivalry

VISIT THE CITY 
The city centre is Piazza San Giovanni (St. John’s Square) is called “ u chianu” is a wide clearing  where the most beautiful monuments and the most renowned bars and restaurants   of the town  are located : Bar Amato, Bar San Giovanni, Terranova (here  you can taste an awesome ricotta ice cream served in the typical “cavagna”). San Giovanni’s church, is located on a raised terrace on one side of the square with a big staircase in the front. The three-nave temple, with baroque dome and façade and solid columns has been attributed to Sinatra, one of the most skilful among the Gagliardi’s pupils.  The very bright interior is decorated with plasters and has many little side chapels and a rich carved wooden pulpit made by Raffaele Di Giacomo, a local skilful craftsman. On the other sides of the square are located some neo-classical buildings like the town hall named after its owner “Cucuzza” a solid stone building whose interior is decorated with plasters and frescoes. On the other side of the square is located the former St Anne’ s church that lies on top of a staircase. Under the floor of the church, recently restored, there are some steps that lead to an underground cemetery where monks were buried. Even the building of the  “Conversation Club”, whose entrance is directly on the square, belonged to the monks in the last century and was given to the city as gift to institute the club that was furnished with antique furnishings and consoles. Walking down Corso Umberto I, the main street, you can reach the War Memorial in the Memorial Square. From Piazza San Giovanni and along Via Roma (the beautiful views of the lower part of the town), you can reach after some curves, Piazza San Antonio where St. Antonio Abate’ s church and Mother-church are situated facing each other. The first, most likely built prior to the thirteenth century and formerly dedicated to St. Mauro, is now a national monument and holds valuable works of art. It has a simple facade crowned by a bell tower, one nave decorated with stucco walls and a series of frescoes from the nineteenth century in the vault. The most valuable pieces of art are  "The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence", a work from the 1525 by  an unknown author, the “Madonna del Carmelo”  in Caravaggio style, “ The Baptism of Constantin” the statues of S. Antonio and St. Mauro from the sixteenth century and two stoups from the ‘400 made of local stone. Going down the staircase that starts from the church, passing under a picturesque arched medieval bridge, you can reach the oldest district of the town, where during the Christmas period, the representation of one  most beautiful live nativity takes place. The Mother-Church, perched atop a high staircase, shows a rusticated facade that after the earthquake in 1693, was rebuilt in Gothic style. Also this three-nave church, from the thirteenth century is a National Monument and contains valuable works of art: an ancient and precious wooden crucifix from the fifteenth century a work by the Beato Umile da Petralia, a processional cross made of hand-chiselled silver from the same period, some paintings and two stoups from the 12th century.  Just outside the church stands the beautiful Palazzo Zacco that cannot remain unnoticed.  Finally, enjoy a stroll through the alleys and narrow streets of Monterosso for a taste of simple life that is elsewhere inevitably gone. 

TRIPS OUT OF TOWN 
 If you are interested in art or in nature the surroundings of the town can offer many possibilities for interesting walk-around. Following the main road that leads to Vizzini and turning right at the new crossroad at Km 54, a few kilometres further you’ll notice, on the left side of the valley, some caves called "dei denari" (transl.  money cave). The legend has it that a treasure has been buried here, that  could only be  dug out through certain spells and magic rituals. These caves are ancient tombs, which later were used as dwelling. On the opposite side of the valley, just past the hill on the right, there are some caves called  “Caves of the Saints”. Even these caves, dug into the soft limestone, were used as tombs and, later, converted into housing. Some of them were also used as a place of worship, as the frescoes representing saints and a crucifixion suggest. Some of these are canopy tombs or "Tegurium" whereas  others are much more simple. In the biggest ones we can still find traces of murals, however ,most of the time, reduced to a few indecipherable fragments. The only fresco that is still visible and that can be appreciated for its style and liveliness, is the above mentioned "Crucifixion", Returning towards the town, near a limestone cave, you can turn right onto a non-asphalt path leading to Mount Casasia (Km 8.5). The road winds through natural and unspoiled landscapes surrounded by creeks with crystalline transparent water, and climbs up the mountain where a long term reforestation plan is being currently implemented, in a single glance you can capture immense landscapes. At the top (836 m.), after passing the gate of the forest ranger, you find yourself in a pine forest and a large picnic area where you can enjoy fresh air even in the hottest summer months. The view is absolutely gorgeous: the pastures, the city of Euboea Licodia lying on the mountain, the beautiful lake formed by the waters of the Dirillo that in this point mixes with the Amerillo. Follow the Amerillo river downhill using the long staircase called “regia trazzera”,"  in the valley of the mills. In this area, now intensively cultivated with gardens, once operated a number of water mills, which using the power of the river, grinded  flour continuously and whose remains are still visible today. In this valley full of green, where you can breathe the rustic flavour of so many years ago, along the river you can see the tall poplar trees, leafy plane trees, an unusual landscape in these valleys generally dry. 

USEFUL TIPS 
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