Secluded Sicily: Longi

Longi, Messina nested in the mountains.
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2019

Longi is a tiny mountain village perched literally on a precipice with one road in and one road out in between the two other rugged mountain towns of Galati Mamertino and Frazzano’

Every time I visit I am amazed at how Sicilian’s were able to build a town in such an unwelcoming part of the terrain, it makes my head spin to climb up along the road to Longi. There is literally one road in and one road out.

I would have never discovered this treasure of a place if not for a dear friend and Compare of my husbands who is from this adorable little town. Sicilian’s often use the word Compare (you may recognize the term from the Godfather movies) to describe a close family friend or someone who has baptized your child or been a best man at your wedding. It is considered a great honour to be made a Compare or Comare as it makes you a part of the immediate family.

Our Compare from Longi has known my husband since high school and my husband was his best man. It is thanks to him and his family that we often make trips up into the mountains to admire the contrasts in the landscape from the lush grazing lands in the tablelands in between the old forests from the highest townsite in Sicily, Floresta down to the outskirts of Longi where everything becomes harsh and rocky.

Longi’s San Leone procession
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2019

Over the years we have discovered Longi’s version of St Leone (yes Longi has chosen the same patron as my home of Sinagra) who walks through the timeless piazza during his feast day in February.

Many times I have tasted locally made food from ice cream to porcini mushrooms,  goats cheese and attended baptisms and other religious celebrations associated with the children of our compare in the equally ancient parish church.

Viva San Leone at Longi
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2019

This spring we have even discovered the joys of a new adventure park established by the wonderful entrepreneurial spirit of the Longesi, together with a surprising array of bed and breakfasts and rustic Trattoria restaurants.

Even if Longi’s hold on the mountains appears precarious it is relatively close to the coast and is a mecca for those who love to pass time in the mountains trekking and escaping the chaos of the overcrowded seaside resorts.

I admire how people from Longi have made a wonderful community, like an extended family. Here children step out onto the streets and are safe and free to play, go for ice cream or ride on their bike without any care.

There is also relatively low unemployment as locals have taken advantage of their close distance to the coastal town of Capo d’Orlando and offer tourists unique bed and breakfast options, fresh air and local produce within the Nebrodi national park and the best Trattoria’s in the area which people flock to, to taste the best local cuisine.

Longi is yet another tenacious Sicilian village who is firmly gripping onto its place on the map of Sicily, and also thriving.