This small centre, set up in the XVII century, lies along the east coast of Palermo (facilities available on the beach), on a luxuriant hill overlooking the sea. Palazzo Beccatelli, once a country mansion standing where the Milicia Sanctuary stands today, also included a small church, which features an extraordinary painting of the school of Giotto, representing the Virgin Mary with Child and Saint Francis. The church is today known as the church of the Milicia and it is a pilgrimage site; annexed to it, you can find the Ex-voto museum, where more than 400 refined votive paintings, dating back from 1840 up to present day, are orderly collected.
The Feast of the Madonna della Milicia is celebrated with utmost fervour from September 6 to 8, with the traditional vulata dell’angelo (flight of the angel), the triumphal chariot and the procession. The sausage festival is also held in September, while on March 19, San Joseph’s day, Altavilla hosts the sfincia festival (the sfincia is a typical Palermitan sweet fritter).