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Alcantara River and Fiumefreddo

By dom, 10/18/2009 - 23:14

In a day tour we have been explore the Etna district. from several point of view.
Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and in its districts you could find a beautiful river park with a luxuriant vegetation, springs and medieval villages that seem to climb up the "mountainside"...follow us in this Grand Tour between the sea and the "Mountain".....

We lef Catania early in the morning and drow to the northern east coast.
The day began with the excursion of the Nature Reserve of Fiumefreddo where we observed the world's northernmost papyrus.

The cold and slow flow of Fiumefreddo river creates a special condition that protect beautiful aquatic plants like brasca acutifolia or brush buttercop. Near the springs called "Quadrare" (underground springs) you will find papyrus plants.

We got a simple but tasty packed lunch on the beautiful San Marco beach and then we carried on with the tour of Alcantara River Park.
The Alcantara is one of the most important rivers of Sicily. It has its source on the south side of Nebrodi Mountains and its mouth in the Ionian Sea at Capo Schis? near Giardini-Naxos. The river is 52 km long. Several thousand years ago, the river bed was blocked by a lava flow from Mount Etna. As the lava was cooled much more quickly by the water that it would have done otherwise, it crystallised in the form of columns. Over the next millennia, the river naturally eroded a channel through these columns, resulting in impressive gorges and ravines such as the well-known "Gole dell'Alcantara".

In the late afternoon we went for a walk in the medieval village of Castiglione di Sicilia also known as "the door of al-Qantarah". This is a charming village between the Alcantara river park and the Etna park. We visited the city centre and its medieval and baroque churches.

After we reached the magnificent Norman-Swabian castle we got a dine in a typical local restaurant where dishes are prepared with in season fruit and vegetables. It was late and time to heading back to the lovely Catania. We travelled whit a local Association called Sikilya www.Sikilya.com check it out!

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