Motta d’Affermo, (660 mt above sea level) is located at the foothills of St. Cono Mount between Tusa and S. Stefano di Camastra rivers. Its territory, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, includes the hamlet of Marina di Torremuzza.
Due to its geographical position, Motta d’Affermo enjoys broad views and wonderful panoramas; the view from the top castle of the village stretches from the Tyrrhenian sea to the Cape of Cefalù, from the Madonie mountain chain to the wide valley of the nearby river valley and from there you can also admire a large part of the Tyrrhenian coast of about 120 km.
The whole territory has a flourishing vegetation: from an altitude of 500 meters dominates a plantation of olive trees. Higher you find hazels, oak woods and hardwoods forests. Over 800 mt the area is mainly used for pasture.
The birth of Motta d’Affermo comes from a small settlement created by the diaspora of the inhabitants of Halaesa during late Roman Empire, as confirms the presence of a settlement and a necropolis in “Sorba” area (IV sec.). Later, a group of Byzantines (VII-IX sec.) founded the house of Sparto, (Greek term that means broom). In fact, this plant is highly present in the territory of Motta especially flourishing during springtime.
The most representative evidence of the Normans arrival is “St. Maria of Sparto” a small Basilian monastery whose ruins still exist nearby the village. The first documented feudal exponent is Roberto de Sparto. In 1380, Sparto is in charge and Muccio Albamontealias of Fermo, a mercenary knight came from the Marche region, is at its orders. He founded the old farmhouse and proclaimed himself as lord and baron of Sparto, and since then the village was called “Motta di Muccio di Fermo”, up to the current name: Motta d’Affermo.
Among the first constructions we remind the church of St Maria degli Angeli, meeting place for worship and reunions especially for important resolutions. At that time Motta was already an important reality with its fortress, churches, public buildings, houses of bourgeois and commoners. But it was mainly in churches and in their furnishings that the community expressed the best of his highness. Guglielmo Albamonte, descendant of Muccio, is one of the twelve main characters of the “Sfida di Barletta” (1503).
In 1557 the estate passes from the Albamontes to the the Bonajutos and then from the Isfar Coriglios to the Del Pozzos and finally in 1607 to Modesto Gambacurta, nominated as Marquis by the King Philip the 3rd. In 1633 Gregorio Castelli, a wealthy merchant from Genua, acquired the entire estate which remained for about three centuries to the family.
Among its exponents stands Gabriele Lancillotto that in the second half of the ‘700, stands out as a distinguished archaeologist, patron, numismatist, scholar, first Royal Conservator of Antiquities of Sicily, director and inspirer of the Royal Academy of Palermo (University). His great-grandson and namesake was among the first senators of the Kingdom of Italy.
The Castelli family, Lords of Torremuzza promoted, along with other local aristocrats and bourgeois, prestigious artistic initiatives that involved the best artists of the 17th and 18th centuries and leaving significant traces of their magnificence. Meanwhile in 1812 the feudal system was abolished and the village was declared autonomous municipality.