Sicilian history and culture live on in ancient sanctuary

Oct 16, 2019 278

BY: Jeanne Mae Outlaw Cannavo

During a recent visit to Sicily I had the occasion to visit the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna. Situated about 2,400 feet above sea level, it is believed to be the first shrine in Italy dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Just outside of the coastal town of Cefalù, in the province of Palermo, our bus driver drove us safely to the summit of the Pizzo Sant’Angelo, a peak in the Madonie chain.

The journey up the mountain, on a windy and narrow road, offered stunning views of the town below and the azure waters of the coastline where the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean meet. The name Gibilmanna translates to Mountain of Manna. Gibil is an Arabic word for mountain and manna is a Hebrew word referring to a sweetish substance that is collected from local mountain ash trees in late summer.

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