Noble and ancient – its first settlements date back to V century B.C. -, with many aristocratic buildings owned by latifundist families through the centuries, Francavilla di Sicilia is one of the main towns in Alcantara Valley. Its name comes from French and means “town free” from land taxes.
This privilege lasted until 1538, when it was given from Charles V to Viscount Paolo Balsamo. Until some years ago there was a kind of Gallic Italian dialect spoken. In Francavilla the Austrians defeated the Bourbons in what is reminded to be the biggest battle in Sicily since Roman times.
In the village you can admire ruins of the Norman castle, the Mother Church, the Annunziata Church and San Paolo Fountain right in front of the homonymous temple.
Not to be missed the sixteenth century Capuchins’ Convent, the Church of Santa Maria delle Preci , an old herbarium and an ethnographical museum.