Palace dominates the highest point along the main street. Dedicated to the
Andrea Valiante (1761-1829), a brave soldier who opposed the Bourbon power
and an active member of the “Carboneria” movement. This Palace it is a
typical example of a fortified residency of the XVIIIth century.
their color and persistent blooms, rosebushes adorn the square in front
of the Town Hall with its majestic clock tower, the impressive “Fountain
of the Dolphins”, and the main street of the village. The more modern
part of Jelsi winds along R. n.17 and, following the crossroads,
penetrates into the countryside.
A little more than
a kilometer from the village is the Shrine dedicated to the “Madonna
delle Grazie” with the annexed Convent of the Franciscan Grey Friars.
Here is an oasis of peaceful tranquility and spirituality in a landscape
rich with green spaces and cool natural water springs. Through a closed
system of roads, the traveler will be rewarded with long walks admiring
charming breathtaking views of thick valleys, small artificial lakes
abounding with fish, and rural hamlets perfectly integrated with their
The population of
Jelsi reached its peak in the 1950’s, mainly agricultural (200 farms for
a population of about 2000 inhabitants) and has been greatly influenced by
migratory waves especially towards Canada, the USA, Australia and other
European countries, renewing traditions and customs of their native land
wherever large Jelsi colonies settled.
Deeply bound to
agriculture, Jelsi natives everywhere celebrate the annual Wheat festival
(La Sagra) that is held every year on July 26th honoring St. Anne because
She saved Jelsi from total destruction during the earthquake of July 26th
1805. The “Sagra” consist of a parade of “traglie” (big carts
adorned exclusively with ears of wheat) representing scenes of rural life,
through the streets of the village also decorated with festoons and
wreaths of wheatears. In the olden days, the carts were drawn by oxen and
had skids-like sleds instead of wheels.
Local products are
olive oil, known for its low acidity, wines of the Macchione and S.Martino,
delicatessen and cheeses. A typical winter dish is the “panatella”, a
tasty mixture of vegetables seasoned with chopped panchetta and corn pizza
cooked under “u seste” (a metal pan covered with ashes and lighted
coals on the hearth and used like an oven). Among the characteristic cakes
from the region are the “peccellati” at Easter and the “calzoni”
on March 19 (St. Joseph's Day) made of puff pastry stuffed with mashed
chickpeas and honey.