The town of Contessa Entellina is situated in the province of Palermo and it’s considered the oldest Albanian settlement in Italy. Along with the other towns of Piana degli Albanesi, Santa Cristina Gela, Mezzojuso and Palazzo Adriano it can be distinguished by its cultural identity and traditions, including the arbëreshë language and the fact that Holy Mass is celebrated in accordance with the Byzantine rite. These five towns were founded approximately in 1450 by a group of Albanian exiles who had fled from their homes to escape the Ottoman invasion. Therefore Contessa is a peculiar town where two separate Sicilian and Albanian souls coexist, integrating and completing each other, as can be seen in its cuisine. The area surrounding Contessa Entellina contains mountains, forests and rivers. The sites worth visiting include the churches that belong to the byzantine rite with their precious icons, the Abbey of Santa Maria del Bosco, a monumental complex dating back to the XIIIth century, the medieval Castle of Calatamauro, and the castle of Entella, an archeological site of the ancient Elymians. The economy of Contessa is based on agriculture, in particular wine-growing, but also olive oil and wheat, with a small space reserved for local artisanry.
Contessa Entellina, the city of arab culture and of Entella Castle