A town of little more than 5,000 residents has attracted international attention thanks to its unique shape.
Centuripe is an Italian town located in western Sicily, just 60km away from the more famous city of Enna and less than 40km away from the active Etna volcano.
While it has been known among experts for decades for its archaeological significance, many around the world didn’t notice this quiet settlement prior to the emergence of drone photographs depicting it from above.
Aerial pictures show how Centuripe’s houses and shops are shaped like a human figure – although some also see in the photographs the silhouette of a starfish.
The unique shape of the area – built on a hill some 730 metres above sea level – is completely natural due to the morphology of the territory which, given its proximity to mount Etna, presents many reliefs.
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The plan of the town is described as multi-lobed, with its centre developing in five different directions.
The worldwide fame of Centuripe can be partially attributed to a photographer and drone pilot, Pio Andrea Peri, who in 2021 shared a series of day and night snaps he took showing the town’s unique silhouette.
The shape of Centuripe resulted so bizarre to many that he was accused of doctoring his snaps, the photographer revealed.
He previously told the Daily Mail: “The whole world was incredulous at the bizarre shape of this town.
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“Many did not believe it was true, and they thought that I had drawn the photo on the PC. But when they realized the truth by searching on Google Earth many of them personally apologised for what they said to me.”
The town continues to attract the attention of internet users every time drone pictures of it resurface.
Following a social media post dedicated to it was published in late August, dozens of people shared their astonishment.
One X user named Sharon wrote: “The Amalfi Coast has precarious-looking towns, but this (in Sicily) is insane!”
Another, Chris Pryer, added: “Just add some ski lifts and I’ll pack my bags”.
Centuripe is an ancient town dating back to prehistorical times, with signs of humans settling there in the Neolithic.
It rose to prominence during the Greek and Roman periods, developing its own coin and becoming an important producer of ceramics. Its fortune fell in the Middle Ages, when it was looted and destroyed by the order of King Frederick II.
The town, which due to its high position was called Centuripe “the balcony of Sicily” by one of the generals that contributed to unifying Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi, found new life after being rebuilt in the mid-1500s.
Its deep history is reflected in its architecture and historical buildings, including the Roman Baths and Castle of Corradino.
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