Visiting Sicily in thirty minutes: the Kontiland experience
Ordinarily, visiting all the most important Sicilian buildings in more than two hours is an impossible task. The island is the largest in the Mediterranean and its historical and art heritage are located in several spots scattered all across its many cities and towns. However, since 2017, you can admire the beauties of Sicily even in half an hour. In Savoca (a medieval town in the province of Messina, lies Kontiland, a theme park where the former bricklayer Giuseppe Lo Conti has realized a long-life dream. He has done it thanks to his ability to knead lime, cement and marble and turning them inyo miniature buildings of historical significance.
From Duomo of Messina, with its original bell tower, to the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, passing by the saltworks of Trapani and the Ursino Castle in Catania. It is a cultural path created in more than 10,000 square metres in a farmland and it has no comparisons in Sicily. Giuseppe Lo Conti knows it well, considering that he is the guardian of a miniature art heritage of inestimable importance, which has attracted several tourists and art lovers from all over the world for five years. Kontiland is a park where you can admire history and beauty right from the entrance. Giuseppe Lo Conti, smiling and satisfied, welcomes visitors to whom he explains how he has planned and imitated the masterpieces of Sicilian art beauties. “I conceived it when I was 15 years old, but I started it in the early 2000s, ‒ told Giuseppe ‒ when my intent of unifying the most prestigious buildings of the island in one place gradually blossomed, after I had travelled around Italy. It was a long-time dream, but I’ve never thought to make it come true in few years”.
Giuseppe spent many years studying cadastral maps and photos, visiting monuments to verify their correct measurement scale by which reproducing the buildings. The long-desired project became reality in June 2017, when Kontiland gates opened to the public for the first time. “I think that is has probably been the greatest emotion of my bricklayer career. ‒ told Lo Conti ‒ It’s a feeling that I have always shared with my co-workers. I built miniature buildings with my own hands in a one-hectare terraced land using their proper materials, that is, stone, clay and concrete. However, this challenge is not over yet”.
The 1:15 and 1:50 scale miniatures are located in the real geographic position within a Sicily reproduced in the park and bordered by a stone perimeter. “I built the buildings of Val Demone, Val d’Erice and Val di Noto over the years. You can also admire the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, The Saints Pietro and Paolo Abbey of Casalvecchio Siculo, the Saracen Tower of Santa Teresa di Riva, the Dome of Messina, the Parthenon of Agrigento and the Ursino castle of Catania along the path”. Moreover, along the route you will find also the Ibleo Garden of Ragusa, the Chiostro of San Giovanni degli Eremiti of Palermo and other art treasures of the island with their descriptions into Italian and English. It is a brilliant and work-in-progress trip along the most beautiful Sicily, which will be enriched by other works like the Scala of Santa Maria del Monte (Caltagirone) and the Castle of Ventimiglia in the coming months.
Translated by Daniela Marsala