Leni - Valdichiesa

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While you go up towards this tiny hamlet, you can admire the robinias that, placed on both sides the road, form a sort of arch. As the furtunate visitor goes through it, he or she can enjoy the scents of nature, that seem to grow denser in the sharp air coming doom from the mountain. Indeed, this is the coolest and most scented village on the island.

At Val di Chiesa there is the sanctuary of the Madonna del Terzito, a cult place of great historical importance. It seems that the temple was first built by a Byzantine monk in the 5th or 6th century, the Marian one being one the most important cults brought to the west by eastern monks. Despite the wars between the Goths and Byzantines (535-553) and the material decay of the time, the fame of Maria Santissima della Salina continued to spread all through the Kingdom of Sicily.

The empereror constant II decided to rebuild the temple in question. but Val di Chiesa, together with the whole island, was soon to fall into desolation. after many centuries, in which the island was repopulated several time, the Marian church was rediscovered by paesants culting down trees for a powerful Lipari man, Alfonso Mercorella. On 23 July 1622 the old church walls were rediscovered (still today on 23 July the feast of the petron saint is celebrated, though it seems that at one time on this date there was a celebration linked to commercial events). According to the legend the peasants' attention was cauht by the triple ring of bell, heard by Mercorella too. the church was rebuilt in the same year (at the same time as Santa Marina one), and from then on was called Terzito. There are two theories about the origin of this name: according to some it derives from the Spanish "tresillo", meaning a musical tercet, while for others (including Campis) the term indicates that the church was built three times. The cult spread even more than before, thanks also to the popularity of new Marian cults on the island of Lipari. From 1854 to 1860 a transformation of the church was made and at the same time a small convent arose. Crowning great Christian faith, seen in a active and concrete form, in1954 next to the church a rest home for eldery and/or sick people froom all the seven islands was inaugurated. The rest home still functions very actively, thanks to a group of nuns who belive totaly in their work (which they clearly identify with their mission). Behind the sanctuary, which is right on that saddle that divides the two big Salina mountains, there is one of the many roads that lead to the rop of Monte Fossa delle Felci (where you can admire some chestnut trees planted in the Roman period); this is probably the esiest road.

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