“Fu posta così la prima pietra per fondare un misterioso cenobio,
San Giorgio dei Crateri,
in un luogo rinomato, crocevia dei pellegrini
affidandolo ad insoliti canonici bianchi
di Premontrè, nell’Alta Francia,
che in Sicilia ebbero il loro unico monastero
agli albori del 1000
ornato da creature misteriose
e da simboli geometrici ancora indecifrati
che rinvierebbero allo stile cosmatesco
di abili disegnatori”.
(Da “Gratteri, da crater, coppa, Graal. Grezzo diamante incastonato nella roccia” di M.Fragale)
If you are ready to embark on a journey into the distant Middle Ages to live an exciting experience, you cannot fail to visit the ruins of a Norman abbey, one of a kind, immersed in the wood of Gratteri. It is one of the oldest historical monuments in the Madonite village, half an hour’s walk from the town, through an unspoiled natural landscape.
The appointment is at the “Passo della Scala” – under the church of the Crucifix – from where a path begins that, for some decades, has been renamed Via dei Premostratensi. And you arrive in a lonely place, steeped in stories and legends, where superhuman peace prevails but which, at the time of the foundation of the monastery, must have been a strategic point of intersection between two Roman roads very frequented by travelers and pilgrims.
The site has now become a favorite destination for numerous Italian and foreign visitors who set out to discover what might seem, at first glance, a ruin like many others, but which in reality is a milestone of the Norman Itinerary in Sicily.
The church of the monastery of San Giorgio is in fact a cultural asset of great importance in the Sicilian panorama from a historical, artistic, spiritual and anthropological point of view. Its origins date back to the XII century and are located in a very complex and, at the same time, intriguing period of medieval history.
A monument founded by the Normans and entrusted to a French order, the Premonstratensian monks, the only example in Sicily and then, in 1300, it was inherited by the Hospitallers of Jerusalem, better known as the Knights of Malta.
We will tell you a fascinating story of a Norman monument where real events and singular legends blend together in a highly evocative setting that make that of Gratteri a unique historical document ready to be included within the Arab-Norman UNESCO site.