The historical centre of
Parabita is famous for the Castriota Castle, built in the XVI century on the
an ancient fortress. First it was used for defensive purposes and then it was
restored and turned into a noble residence decorated with pretty particular
ornaments. Other interesting noble residences are De Ramis Palace, built in the
XV century, Muia and Vinci Palaces dating to the XVI century, and Ardito
Palace, that was built in the XVII century. The most important and ancient
religious monument is the Mother Church, dedicated to St. John Baptist. It was
built in the XIII century and it has been restored a lot of times so
far. The façade has a beautiful portal and in this church with nave and two
aisles there are some elegant altars and valuable paintings representing holy
images. In 1855 the body of St. Vincent and some of his blood were taken to this
church during a solemn celebration. The Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Coltura
was erected in 1913 on a XIV century building after a prodigious event. A
farmer, while he was at work in the fields, found a very big stone on which
there was the image of the Holy Virgin Mary with the Child. He called the other
inhabitants of the town and they carried the stone to the church. The following
day some faithful devotees went to the church to pray and they noticed that the
stone had disappeared. They found it in the place where the farmer had seen it
the first time, so they realised the Madonna wanted a church to be built there.
The imposing Gothic monument has an elegant portal and a stately bell tower.
Inside there are four elegant altars, some interesting frescoes and paintings.
Outside the urban centre you can visit three Basilian crypts where the Basilian
monks used to celebrate the Mass. Unfortunately there are just some rests of the
ancient frescos. The protectress of Parabita is the Madonna della Coltura, that
is celebrated on the last Sunday of May.
The nickname of the
inhabitants of Parabita is "ventri janchi" meaning white bellies". This
to mean people who are very stubborn and stupid like the asses, whose belly is
white. This nickname was invented by the inhabitants of the near villages but
we do not know the reasons. However, the population of Parabita advocate that
their nickname is closely connected to a typical Italian cheese, the ricotta,
that is usually eaten during the patronal feast and that is white.