The valley-sited village of Presa is a frazione of the big sister town, Piedimonte Etneo, just three kilometers away. Situated at 600 meters ( feet) above sea level, the town rests in a valley below Mt. Finocchio where oak and chestnut woods abound, while Presa is known for its deep water springs of volcanic origins, for its pastures and agriculture.
It is on the northeast side of Mt. Etna, and outside town just beyond the Santa Venera stream is the Sciara di Scorciavacca, a field of lava flows, sliced in half by the Presa- Montargano road.
First cited in 597 when a Basilian monastery was founded at Vena dedicated to Sant'Andrea (St. Andrew), the village was originally called San Basilio. In 1135 under Ruggero II it became a feudal territory under the Castello di Calatabiano and remained a feudal land for centuries. Because of its wealth of resources -woods, water, and pastures- as well as its mild climate, it grew as an agricultural community, and also a font for water to other places, with a double aqueduct transporting it. The locale became known as "la presa dell'acqua" (where water is taken), and eventually that name was adopted, Presa. Vines and fruit orchards dominated and there are wineries here you should visit to sample the local vintages.
In the 1800s it was under the domain of the town of Fiumefreddo, but in 1821 the citizens requested the town put put under the territory of Piedimonte Etneo, as being closer and culturally tied, and King Ferdinand I consented. It has remained part of that town every since.
Visit the Belvedere for its panoramic overlook, and step into the church of Maria Santissima delle Grazie, with its soaring interior, beautiful statue of the patron saint, and lovely ambiance. A festival dedicated to the Madonna is held every August (second Sunday).
Nearby are mountains, hills, country towns, Mt. Etna, and beaches, so there will plenty to do. In town, a couple of shops, a wine bar, pizzeria are right at hand, and Piedimonte Etneo is just minutes away.
Explore nearby towns
In the hills below Mt Etna, Piedimonte Etneo is a town suspended in time as well as between the mountains and the sea.
A hamlet in the hills above Giarre and Riposto, Nanziata is a frazione of Mascali, in view of Mt Etna and minutes to the Ionian Sea.
In the shadow of Mt Etna, the town of Fiumefreddo di Sicilia is along a river and near the Ionian Sea.
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