The Andromeda Theater in Santo Stefano di Quisquina (Agrigento)

The Andromeda Theater in Santo Stefano di Quisquina (Agrigento)

Sicily is a wonderful land, where sun, sea and mountains blend perfectly making this territory unique from every point of view.

Although Sicily is known above all for its splendid coasts and its pristine sea, there is part of Sicily that is yet to be discovered: the one of the mountains that rise high to kiss the sky.

There is a truly spectacular place, little known among the classic Sicilian tourist attractions: Santo Stefano Quisquina and more specifically, the Andromeda theater, a special monument where nature, mythology and art come together to welcome an impressive number of visitors every year.

What to see in Santo Stefano di Quisquina

The itinerary begins in the charming village of Santo Stefano (in the province of Agrigento) which is located in the majestic and beautiful Magazzolo valley. It owes its name not only to S. Stefano, but also to the fact that the area is crowned by mountains, (from the Greek “stefanos” which means “crown”). 

The municipality is located in the province of Agrigento, about 60 kilometers south of Palermo and 35 kilometers north of Agrigento. This territory has an ancient history, as it belonged, since the 10th century, to the noble Sinibaldi family, which is the family of Santa Rosalia, one of the most loved saints in Sicily.

Walking through the streets of the town, I came across a series of beautiful buildings from the eighteenth century and, in particular, the sixteenth century Mother Church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, which preserves a carved wooden crucifix. Continuing along the Via Roma, it is possible to visit the Church of Purgatory and the contiguous college of Mary, dating back to the 13th century. I also couldn’t resist its enchanting urban architecture such as that of the Baronial Palace of Ventimiglia, built in 1745, and the splendid 18th century Fountain located in Piazza Castello. The town is quiet and the air is fresh and fragrant. The inhabitants I met on the street and to whom I asked for information immediately proved to be nice and friendly. The village is also known for the Cheese Festival which is held every year in May and which attracts thousands of visitors. Much of the local economy is in fact based on the breeding and production of cheeses.

Not far from the town, it is possible to visit the Church of the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia, located in a lovely and quiet place, rich in vegetation and located between the Cammarata and the Rose mountains. It is a suggestive place, immersed in the green and silent mountains. In winter, the thin air and the bitter cold make this religious site also mysterious and legendary.

At the Hermitage of S. Rosalia alla Quisquina it is possible to visit:

  • The Convent of the friars.
  • The crypt with the corpses of the mummified friars.
  • The Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia.

The cave where Santa Rosalia lived for a long time, who had taken refuge to face a long period of hermitage and live in communion with God far from her family.

Leaving from the small town of Santo Stefano Quisquina it is possible to reach the Andromeda theater, located in the Rocca district.

But what exactly is the Andromeda Theater?

Imagine a space suspended between earth and sky, a stage with a ceiling of stars and open curtains to the infinite horizon of the sea. It is like a dream, yes, but it is even more beautiful because it is real. 

The Andromeda Theater is located in the hinterland, immersed in the wild nature of the Sican mountains and suspended at about 1000 meters high.

It is an engineering achievement made by a humble and cultured Sicilian shepherd, Lorenzo Reina, who in the silence of long transhumances listens assiduously to the call of his passions, art, history, philosophy, sculpture. He does not deny the profession inherited from his father, the activity of a shepherd keeps him anchored to his beloved land. But he can’t ignore the urge to create, he can’t stop his impulse to make art.

And this is how Lorenzo Reina chooses this natural terrace overlooking a valley as far as the eye can see, where you can distinguish, on clear days, the sea of ​​the Sicilian Channel and the island of Pantelleria. Here his patient hands lift, move, rest every single stone, and an extraordinary open-air theater finally comes to life.

The Andromeda Theater is located in the hinterland, immersed in the wild nature of the Sican mountains and suspended at about 1000 meters high.

Travel invitation: how to access the Andromeda Theater.  

The theater is accessed after an enchanting journey through wild nature, large spaces dedicated to biodynamic agriculture, breathtaking views and unique works of art.

The first of these pieces is Icaro fallen, in a representation so realistic that it seems alive. Then, we find the work: “My words are stones“, created between 2012 and 2017, which represents the god Enki, the “Lord of the Earth”. There is also a piece called “Imago della parola“, created between 2007 and 2012; during the summer solstice and at sunset the sun enters the mouth of the image becoming a word of light and good hope.

The Andromeda Theater 

The construction is inspired by the traditional Sicilian corrals for livestocks that house flocks of sheep, the mànnare. The cubes on which the spectators will sit faithfully represent the projection of the constellation of Andromeda and its 108 stars.

The conception of this space was inspired by a scientific thesis according to which the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way will collide in the near future.

The visit to this visionary place evokes emotions that are difficult to explain with words. Here, every reference to modern life, chaotic, pressing, disappears and leaves room for a timeless beauty.

Once you cross the threshold that gives access to the theater, it is easy to get lost in deep meditations, reflections and long silences.

After the introspective journey, a pleasant refreshment

The dining area is in the form of a mountain, which is certainly  uncommon in Sicily, and offers a pleasant and warm refreshment with herbal teas made with local medicinal herbs, cheeses and cured meats.

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