The toponym has definitely odd origins. It comes from the Latin word “optatus”, meaning desired. Some shepherds from Fasanella chose indeed this lovely place sheltered from the wind, to build up their new village. According to other hypothesis, the name should come from the abundance of figs, called “ottati” or from the devotion to St Ottato, bishop of Milevi, once venerated in this area. Anyway this medieval village, with the characteristic bunch-like conformation, that slopes down to the Valle del Calore, it’s worth a visit!
Ottati used to be feud of Capace Celsota and many other noble families, until Federico II of Swabia made it a heap of rubble in the 13th century, but it was quickly rebuilt. Important religious center, Ottati preserves historic, architectural and artistic interesting witnesses, like the settlements of Mount Civita (notable archaeological site); the Dominican convent, where to admire the splendid portico painted by Antonio Soccodato, from Polla, in 1590. Have a look at the Capuchin convent, the Church of St Annunziata, the Sanctuary of Madonna del Cardoneto and the Church of St Biagio, which keeps the silver bust representing the saint and the organ of Silverio Carelli (18th century). This church boasts a noteworthy Renaissance portal and an original late 16th-century painting by a Flemish author portraying the “Sangue del Redentore” (the Redeemer’s blood).
During the annual event “Arte ad Ottati” the village turns into a unique open-air permanent art exhibition. Dozens of artists coming from all over Italy realize murals to enrich and colour the historic centre and offer to tourists and art lovers one more reason to visit Ottati.
The area of Ottati is much frequented by excursionists and trekking lovers as it offers enchanting landscapes. Just to give you an example, the springs of river Fasanella which starts in a very evocative place, called “Caverna dell'Auso or Abisso”. Just below the village is a lake and a small waterfall that used to feed an old mill dating back to 1100 and still visible, even if in bad conditions.
Do not miss “Rifugio Panormo” (the highest peak of Mounts Alburni) in the district of Campofarina, that will surprise you with incredible green scenarios and the huge variety of plants, mostly beeches, and flowers colouring the valley. It is just ideal to spend some relaxing times in harness with an uncontaminated nature!
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