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Geraci Siculo and its pure water

Posted by Suzanne on 14 Mar 2014


Trucks loaded with pure spring water from the Madonie Mountains are often seen hurtling along Sicily’s A19 autostrada to deliver one of Italy’s purest waters. Emblazoned with the Acqua Geraci logo, Geraci, they have made their way down the SS 120 from the lofty heights of the medieval village Geraci Siculo.

Last spring I was inspired to travel to Geraci after seeing an Acqua Geraci ad in the streets of Palermo.

This ad was particularly powerful, depicting a young woman defiant to keep her job. The words “You won’t steal our work”, referring to protecting local jobs were a dominant feature and could very well be a nod to Acqua Geraci's unresolved 20-year controversy with the local council.

It was mid- May 2013 and we travelled from Polizzi up the SS120 on the eastern approach to Geraci, one of the jewels in the mountains of Sicily’s Madonie National Park. It is on the list of “I Borghi pui belli d”Italia” – the most beautiful villages in Italy. I wanted to see this town that produces such great water from a source at 1500m where the spring water is fed to the plant and bottled in glass or plastic. Its low ionic content makes it a favourite with paediatricians, restaurants and the locals. I have enjoyed the taste of Acqua Geraci often when in the Madonie and when travelling Sicily.

Geraci discloses itself quietly to the adventurer; flowing fountains of spring water, majolica tiled steeples, fresh ricotta and pecorino cheese in shop windows, the muffled chant of women reciting the mysteries of the rosary and the sound of older gentlemen wearing berets, chatting in Sicilian.

On the eastern outskirts of Geraci as we passed Bar Al Bevaio, cars were nosed into the enormous, long stone fountain, Il Abbeveratoio S.S  Trinita IX. The deep trough was full of clear spring water and the Moorish faces either end, spurted out the water of the mountains. Locals, with large plastic containers and bottles, took a mouthful before filling them. This free source of water has just flowed from deep within the limestone Mountains above.

We pulled in and drank from the fountain.  The water was cool, fresh and clear.

The gates to the Terme di Geraci Siculo S.p.A , the producers of  Acqua Geraci , were closed.  We continued on into the historic part of town. It has a clear Islamic layout with winding alleys, arched streets, flights of stone steps and the ruins of a castle. It was the seat of the powerful Sicilian family, the Ventimiglias, in the 16th century.

We parked next to the 17th century church of Santo Stefano with a conical, majolica tiled steeple in a typical Madonie style and continued up the hill into the main piazza, Piazza del Popolo. The streets were quietly active. People chatting  and the voices of older men discussing the politics of Italy could be heard and the door of a butcher’s shop opened as a couple of customers went in. "Costata di Suino”  local pork, was hand written on a sign in the window.

We wondered the streets and outside the church of Santa Maria La Porta chanting of the rosary could be heard. The door was ajar and as we entered, the harmony of the chanting group of about 20 was the only sound to be heard. They prayed in front of a faded Byzantine Fresco. The beautiful Gagini attributed sculpture and the fresco were some of the treasures in this Gercaese church.

Returning to the streets, young children still in their school aprons, disembarked from the bus. Some of them were keen to practise their English.

We stopped to fill our water bottles from the long drinking fountain at the edge of town and then headed back to Polizzi.


Salve, Suzanne

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