Linguaglossa, Province of Catania, Sicilia

The town rises not far from the Etna, on a large tongue (from which the name of Linguaglossa) of lava erupted from the volcano, surrounded by vineyards, and giant pine woods, with the snow-capped mountain behind, and the blue sea in the distance. Linguaglossa is today a favorite starting point for itineraries up to the crater and amid the many unique natural environments of the Etna park.


  • Altitude: 500 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 5400 inhabitants in 2010
  • Zip/postal code: 95015
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 095
  • Patron Saint: St. Egidio Abate celebrated 1st September
  • Frazioni & Localities: Catena.


Local tradition says that the town was founded under the Norman occupation by a group of Genoese and Lombard artisans from Castiglione, who started the resin trade, extracting the resin from the century-old pine trees.

The town was spared in the terrible eruption and earthquake that took place at dawn, on 4 February 1169, an event that killed 15,000 people in Catania; according to the tradition, the earthquake brought ruin to Linguaglossa, but the lava was blocked by the apparition of the patron Sant'Egidio. The lava solidified in seven different tongues, on which the population rebuilt their homes.

What to see

  • The Museo dell'Etna, with collection of butterflies and birds typical of the Etna territory. The vegetation of the Etna includes "northern" species which have here their most southern niche.
  • The parish church, whose construction began in 1613, with a facade designed by Filippo Vasta, alternating the two colors with lava and arenaria stone. The inside is rich of works of art, and includes a splendid wood-carved choir, among the most interesting in Italy, rivalling the Benedictine Church in Catania and the Piazza Armerina Cathedral, the work of Giuseppe Turrisi and Gioacchino Cirelli from Catania, as well as Michele and Pietro Orlando from Trapani, who directed the work of local artisans.
  • The church of Sant'Egidio, the oldest of Linguaglossa, built on a previous church whose transept is still extant in the Cappella delle Anime Sante, with a gothic portal decorated with allegorical figures, a mermaid with two snakes. The old Chapel was completely covered with frescoes, later unfortunately cover with plaster and stuccos, with the exception of the Veronica image on the ancient entrance.