However, its small museum houses a few interesting Arab-period finds and this small city is close to the Himera archeological site and a reference point en route to Caccamo Castle farther inland. Termini Imerese is less than forty kilometers east of Palermo or about twenty-five minutes by train or car, midway between Palermo and Cefalù.
History & Places to Visit
Termini Imerese derives from Latin Thermae Himerenses that means "thermal baths of Imerese". In its territory there are ruins of settlements of Palaeolithic period and of Bronze and Copper ages.
The town of Thermae rose after the distruction of the near Himera when a group of survivors settled there and founded the first inhabited centre. In 828 it was conquered by Arabs who enlarged and improved it. With Normans it became State town. The emperor Carlo V who settled there round 1540 and made build the first town wall now no more existent.
From some years in the neighbours has risen a large industrial building that is the landmark of the economy of the town.
The main monuments now visitable are the fifteenth-century Chiesa of S. Caterina (Church of St.Catherine) and the Chiesa of S. Maria della Consolazione (Church of St. Mary of the confort) decorated with stuccoes by the school of Serpotta. Important are the Duomo of the XVII century and the Chiesa of S. Francesco (Church of St. Francis) that with the near convent has been changed into a school.
In olden days the town was a Sicanan settlement which almost certainly had trade links with the nearby Greek town of Himera and after disaster struck the latter in 409 B.C. it took in the few survivors. Since then, first in Greek, then Roman and later in more recent times, the town has in turn been named Thermai Himeraiai, Thermae Himerenses and now Termini Imerese. The spa enjoyed its heyday in the Roman period, and was also popular with the Saracens and Normans.
Caccamo, Italy (Near Termini Imerese)
Cáccamo, with 9,000 inhabitants, is a little mountain town picturesquely situated at a height of 521m/1,710ft and 10km/6mi south of Termini Imerese and reached by way of a winding and scenic road. On a rock stands the massive castle, built by the noble family of Chiaramonte in the 12th century as a strong fortress on an ancient site. Matteo Bonello retired here in 1161 after he had murdered Maione da Bari, the Grand Chancellor and Grand Admiral of the Norman King William I.
The Chiesa Madre also dates from Norman times, although it has been subjected to many changes since then.
Three streets diverge from the opposite side of the Piazzo del Duomo in Termini Imerese. On the left stands the former hospital, the 14th century Fatebenefratelli, now the Museo Civico. On display are archeological finds which include the Lion's Head Gargoyle from Himera, a collection of epigraphs and one of coins, as well as 12th-17th century paintings.
San Nicola Cathedral
On the east side of the square stands the 15th-16th century Cathedral of San Nicola, with Roman spoils of war built into its campanile. In the triple-aisled interior can be seen a Crucifixion painted by Pietro Ruzzolone in 1484 and sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
On the piazza of the same name stands the 15th century church of Santa Caterina. Inside can be seen an informal portrayal of saints decorated with Sicilian adages, by Giacomo and Nicolò Graffeo, late 15th century.
Santa Maria del Gesù
In the south of Termini Imerese, in Largo Gancia, stands the 1472 church of Santa Maria del Gesù. Inside there hangs a beautiful picture of "St George and the Dragon" painted by Nicolò da Voltri in the 14th-15th centuries.