This small village above Taormina is a real natural terrace built around the ruins of a Norman castle which, over time, has taken on a concave and soft shape, similar to that of a millstone (mola). It is therefore easy to understand the origin of the name, an immediate crasis between “Castello” and “Mola”.
Of the fortress now only the Norman walls remain. A 10th century tombstone with Greek-Byzantine engravings placed on the facade of the cathedral reads: “This castle was built under Constantine, patrician and strategist of Sicily“.
It is most likely Constantine Caramalo, who in the ninth century defended the bastion, city and territory from Arab attacks. The centrality of the castle of Mola is historically ascertained not only in the Middle Ages, but also in the wars between the French and the Spanish. Once upon a time you entered the village through a door carved into the rock right at the base of a staircase of white lava stone. Today, after moving the door in front of the castle in 1927, the entrance to the town is marked by an ancient arch at the top of a limestone staircase, a medieval testimony, which remained isolated, now dominates Piazza S. Antonino.
The square is a mosaic of white lava stone, bordered with tree-lined and shady sidewalks that opens onto the belvedere from which you can see Taormina. In general, the street furniture is very accurate, the street names, street numbers and signs are almost always in stone and wrought iron. The doors and windows of the houses are surrounded by Taormina stone and the houses are veiled in soft colors ranging from a delicate yellow to an antique pink, the “Sicilian” tiles are still on the roofs and, if we exclude some questionable buildings from the 60s – 70s, everything is as you would expect from a Sicilian village.
Words by; https://www.visitsicily.info/castelmola/
Photos by Fabrizio Fiorenzano
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