Amongst the municipalities literally razed to the ground by the earthquake, we can find Santa Ninfa. The famous castle of Rampinzeri, also cited by Tomasi di Lampedusa in his “Gattopardo” – “an enormous structure, only lived in one month of the year by farmworkers, mules and other farm animals” -, was damaged and then privately restored. In reality, to use the term castle is inaccurate. It is an old fortified courtyard of the 1600s founded by Don Luigi Arias Giardina, first baron and marquis of Santa Ninfa, and situated on the slopes of Mount Finestrelle, a historically strategic place due to its dominant position over the Belìce Valley.
It’s not by chance that here, in1937, King Vittorio Emanuele and the Head of the Government, Benito Mussolini, witnessed the final stages of the so-called “great military manoeuvres” of the Royal Army. Acquired in 2008 by the Municipality of Santa Ninfa, and in part restored with European funds for reconstructing protected rural areas, the castle, whose external walls in some places recall Andalusian facades, today houses a naturalistic and geological museum that tells the history of the area, an environmental educational centre, a documentation centre, as well as the headquarters of the “Grotta di Santa Ninfa” Nature Reserve, established in 1995 by the regional government and entrusted to Legambiente Sicilia. Therefore, a good starting point to visit this little known karst plateau, but of great geological, naturalistic and landscape interest.