September 1-4, 2024 | Palermo, Italy

Social Program

Honey Tasting by Percia Quartari Farm

A taste of different honey varieties, comb honey and mead (the oldest alcoholic in the world) will be offered during the coffee break. The Percia Quartari agricultural farm is located in Palma di Montechiaro (Ag), in the homonymous district. In that part of Sicily where every expression of nature is powerful, almost extreme, where the olive trees over the centuries turn on themselves due to the incessant action of the Scirocco and Maestrale winds. The name Percia Quartari is linked to the presence in the district of an ancient Roman spring from which the farmers drew water to drink. A rather low and small-sized spring where over time the 'quartare' (terracotta containers) would 'perciavano'. That is, the containers of the time would develop holes.


Soluntum or Solus was an ancient city on the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily near present-day in the comune of Santa Flavia, Italy. The site is a major tourist attraction. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the sixth century BC and was one of the three chief Phoenician settlements in Sicily in the archaic and classical periods. It was destroyed at the beginning of the fourth century BC and re-founded on its present site atop Monte Catalfano. At the end of the fourth century BC, Greek soldiers were settled there and in the 3rd century BC the city came under the control of the Roman Republic. Excavations took place in the 19th century and in the mid-20th century. Around half of the urban area has been uncovered and it is relatively well preserved. The remains provide a good example of an ancient city in which Greek, Roman and Punic traditions mixed. This first appropriation is located at the Solanto promontory and the San Cristoforo plateau behind it. The area of occupation follows the Phoenician settlement model, which, according to the tucididea description, favored the promontories and the small islands in front of the coast. The presence, moreover, in the plain of small streams that facilitated the ascent towards the hinterland and contacts with the indigenous centers of the valle dell'Eleuterio, fully met the commercial vocation of the Phoenician centers. The Archaeological Park of Solunto includes, however, only the inhabited area of the Hellenistic-Roman age, which was re-founded on the nearby Monte Catalfano after the destruction of the coastal center of the archaic-classical age operated by Dionisio of Syracuse at the beginning of the 4th century B.C. The city lies on the south-eastern slope of the Mount on sloping terraces; presents a regular urban layout, borrowed from Greek culture, c.d. ippodameo, with a road system consisting of three NS road axes, intersected perpendicularly by eight EO ways; the intersection of the roads determines rectangular blocks, longitudinally divided by the rainwater collection channels that supplied the public and private tanks. The shops open along the main street, while the houses have the entrancand from the side streets. The houses are organized around a courtyard, often peristyle, with two-story colonnades. The rooms are distinguished by the refinement of the architectural elements and the decorative flooring and walls.

Villa Palagonia, Bagheria

The Villa Palagonia is a patrician villa in Bagheria, 15 km from Palermo, in Sicily, southern Italy. The villa itself, built from 1715 by the architect Tommaso Napoli with the help of Agatino Daidone, is one of the earliest examples of Sicilian Baroque. However, its popularity comes mainly from the statues of monsters with human faces that decorate its garden and its wall, and earned it the nickname of "The Villa of Monsters" (Villa dei Mostri). This series of grotesques, created from 1749 by Francesco Ferdinando II Gravina, Prince of Palagonia, aroused the curiosity of the travellers of the Grand Tour during the 18th and 19th centuries, for instance Henry Swinburne, Patrick Brydone, John Soane, Goethe, the Count de Borde, the artist Jean-Pierre Houël or Alexandre Dumas, prior to fascinate surrealists like André Breton or contemporary authors such as Giovanni Macchia and Dominique Fernandez, or the painter Renato Guttuso.


Rich in natural beauty, artistic wealth and traditions, Palermo has a very remote history. The ancient Phoenicians, who first colonised her, called her "ZIZ" which means flower. The Greeks saw her as a wide and hospitable bay and called her "Panormus" (all port). She kept this name throughout the Roman domination, which began in 254 B.C. when the Romans captured her from the Carthaginians. Thus, in 831 the Arabs seized an already ancient city with a mixed population. In 1072, with Roger, the Arab rule was overthrown by the Norman wave. At this point various architectural styles began to blend. The result of this fusion is the Arab-Norman style of architecture. During this period she became Capital of a Kingdom. The reign of Frederic II of Swab wittness the birth and evolution of that famous Sicilian school of poetry. Now it is the turn of the Angevins and Aragonese to take possession of the beautiful city. From the Spanish to Bourbon domination, great but different civilisation followed each other and it was just that gave Palermo its most outstanding imprint, such as its composite architecture, its picturesque dialect, and its varied and deep-rooted popular traditions.

San Martino Abbey

The Abbey of San Martino delle Scale is located about 10 km from Palermo, surrounded by a wide and green valley of woods, about 550 meters above sea level. It is a grandiose architectural complex dating back to the period between the 16th and 18th centuries, with many rearrangements and later alterations that partly deface the ancient beauty. It consists of the monumental Basilica, consecrated in 1602, and of the monastery proper, which – despite following the steep slope of the ground – has a structure that recalls a quadrilateral cut orthogonally from a cross, which divides it into four quadrants. Very little remains of the structures built in the 14th century, largely destroyed before the 16th-century reconstruction. Among the preserved works of art are the wooden choir of the Basilica (1591-1597), numerous paintings by important Sicilian painters of the 17th-18th century, the organ (Mascioni 2003), the Cloister of Saint Benedict (designed by Giulio Lasso in 1612), the monumental refectory, the chapter house and the new dormitory (built by Venanzio Marvuglia at the end of the 18th century). Nowadays, the community of San Martino, united from 2016 to the community of the Blessed G.B. Dusmet of Nicolosi, consists of about 13 monks in San Martino delle Scale and 6 in Nicolosi. Its members are committed to keep alive the Benedictine charism of Ora et labora. The monks annually offer, especially during the summer, courses of spiritual exercises and lectio divina, lectures of theological and biblical study; they also administer the parish of “San Martino vescovo” annexed to the monastery, founded an Academy of Fine Arts for the training of young people both for artistic production and for the protection of cultural heritage and restoration, and organize concerts of organ, classical music and Gregorian chant, exhibitions and conferences. A few years ago, a craft beer production activity was commenced (thanks to the collaboration of the Hora Benedicta Association) and a store selling typical products from different monasteries was inaugurated.