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The territory

San Cono

European capital of the prickly pear cactus

The population has about 2,600 inhabitants in the province of Catania in Sicily. The town, in a hilly area, is located at the western end of the province and is 20 km from Caltagirone, 31 from Gela, 46 from Enna, 77 from Ragusa and 85 from the capital. San Cono is located in the Erei region. There are various types of soils, from loose and permeable to clayey or sandy ones. There are numerous springs, there are no rivers, but there are small streams such as Mira and Sefila. The town is located at an average altitude of 525 m a.s.l. and has a typically Mediterranean-insular climate, cold and humid in winter and hot and dry in summer. Atmospheric precipitations are concentrated in the autumn-winter period, although sometimes intense summer rains occur; the annual average is 500-600 mm. Catania airport is 1 hour away by car.


The birth

Wrapped in a legend

The town of Santo Cono, as it was called until the second half of the nineteenth century, was elevated to the rank of University of the Kingdom in 1785, by the will of the nobleman from Piazzale Ottavio Maria Trigona and Bellotti, born in Piazza in November 1733. In 1763, he married Girolama Ardoino Celestri of the Polizzi princes, obtaining the title of Marquis della Floresta. Following the death of his father, on 5 December 1780, he received the investiture of the fiefdom and the title of Baron of Santo Cono. The Marquis obtained its elevation to Populated Land thanks to a Real Dispaccio dated February 12, 1785 sent by the viceroy Domenico Caracciolo, in the name of King Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily. To explain the town's toponym and the reasons for its foundation, which are historically uncertain, there is also a popular legend. It is said that, one day, the Marquis Trigona received a visit from a Friar of Naso who belonged to the Order of St. Basil to buy a batch of wheat. Unable to pay in money, the Friar left the Marquis a precious ring that he wore on his finger as a pledge, with the promise that he would then pay off the debt. He then loaded the grain onto the mule and drove off. But after a long time the Marquis, having no longer received a visit from the monk (and beginning to doubt his good faith), decided to go personally to Naso to ask for information; however no one was able to tell him anything. Eventually, on a wall of a convent, he found the friar depicted in a painting: it was San Cono, who had died centuries earlier. Convinced that he had witnessed a miracle, he decided to found a town and give it the name of the Saint.

The culture

The holidays

The patronal feast and the festival

The patronal feast is one of the moments most felt by the people of San Conno, so much so that it constitutes a moment of return to their own country for many emigrants. The party begins with the procession of the "Figure " of the Saint who is carried on the shoulders through the streets of the town, for several weeks the town is celebrating, and moments of devotion alternate with folkloristic events. The highlight is traditionally the second Sunday of May, when in the morning, the statue of the saint is brought from his church to the Matrix. The heavy simulacrum is carried on the shoulder through the streets of the town, with its characteristic gait that is more like a race of the Saint. The procession lasts all night and accompanied, at midnight, with the firing of fireworks. The other moment of great importance for the town of San Cono is the ficodindia festival which has been celebrated every year on the first Sunday of October since 1984. During the festival, stands are set up where the fruit is exhibited and sold and corners are prepared where you can taste the fruit for free or other rare artisan specialties based on prickly pears