Pedara is a city in proximity to
the Southern slopes of Etna volcano, in the Monti Rossi area, where
the catastrophic lava flow of 1669 eruption originated. The city
is at 610 m a.s.l. and totals about 10,100 inhabitants.
an agricultural village mostly relying on grape and fruit production
up to few decades ago, Pedara now boasts thriving trade, craft and
tourism (in the summer the city population rises up to 25-30,000).
di Santa Caterina – East of Piazza Don Diego, rises the imposing
façade of the Basilica di Santa Caterina, with three fine
doorways and flanked by a spired-bell tower. Inside, precious frescoes
adorn the pillars, vaults and apses. A painting of the Martyrdom
of Santa Caterina, attributed to Mattia Preti, is noteworthy.
Baronale Pappalardo – Located in the Piazza Don Diego, dating
from the 1600’s, it was the residence of Don Diego Pappalardo,
Palazzo Baronale Di Giovanni – On Corso Ara di Giove, stands
the Palazzo Baronale, the residence of Princes Di Giovanni.
buildings and surroundings – Also worth-mentioning are the
churches of Sant’Antonio, San Biagio, San Vito, Madonna della
Stella, Madonna delle Grazie and, atop a hill north of the city,
the chiesa dell’Annunziata. The town library, at 126 Corso
Ara, holds a patrimony of some 18,000 pieces and a linguistic laboratory
of recent date.
The city name likely derives from
“Epidauro”, a Greek city with the same environmental
characteristics as Pedara; according to other theories, its name
derives from its geographical position “ad pedes arae”
or “apud aram”, translating “at the foot of the
Ara”, presumed to be an altar dedicated to Zeus, on the slopes
of Etna. Relics of Greek age were brought to light in the city countryside.
Since the Norman conquest in the
12th century, the village was governed by the Archbishop of Catania.
In 1641, the Prince of Trecastagni Domenico di Giovanni was bestowed
by Spanish sovereigns the title of Baron of Pedara and entrusted
its government and holdings to the Pappalardo family. The economic
and cultural growth of the village was much owed to Don Diego Pappalardo
(1636-1710)’s policy, who, among other things, completed the
Basilica dedicated to Santa Caterina d’Alessandria. Pedara
remained a feudal holding of the Di Giovannis and his, heirs, the
Alliatas of Villafranca, until the feudalism abolishment in 1812.
In 1818 it became a municipality of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.