According to some historians Nicosia ("the winner" in Greek) was the ancient Engyon, founded by Cretans. The actual village developed during the Byzanthine domination around a castle (now ruined) and further expanded under the Normans, who increased the population with Lombard and Piedmontese settlers; this immigration continued until the 13th c. and the local people still speak a dialect that is rich in Gallo-ltalic forms, as in some other parts of Sicily.
The cathedral of San Nicola was founded in the XIV century on a pre-existing Norman building and refurbished for many times during the following centuries. The façade is characterised by a XV century ogival portal; inside it is possible to admire the Gaginesche pulpit and font, a wooden crux by Fra' Umile da Petralia, a carved choir, paintings by Novelli and Jusepe Ribera. The belltower dates back to the XII century and was refurbished during the XIV century.
Among the other monuments of the town, we have to mention the Church of Carmine, with an Annunciation by Antonello Gagini, the Church of San Bendetto (XIV century), the Church of San Biagio, with a triptych by Antonello Gagini and some wooden statues, the XVIII century Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, with an XVI century holy water stoup, the throne of Carlo V, a polyptych by Antonello Gagini and a statue of Our Virgin coming from the Gagini's workshop.