Nature seems to have indulged in Sicily. What is striking about the largest island in the Mediterranean is the variety of shapes, colors, scents and sensations in which nature is expressed and manifested here: from the African beaches of the Agrigento coast to the mountain landscapes of the Nebrodi and Madonie chains; from the rolling hills of the hinterland, very green and dotted with flowers in spring, in summer instead burnt by the sun and the color of the earth, to the rough and black landscapes of the highest active volcano in Europe, which in winter becomes almost white with snow on the slopes. An endless show!
Some natural parks deserve particular attention, such as the Etna Natural Park, the Nebrodi Park, the Madonie Natural Park, the Alcantara Natural Park, the Zingaro Nature Reserve, the Vendicari Reserve.
THE NATURAL PARK OF ETNA
Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, is the natural attraction that inevitably attracts the largest number of tourists to Sicily from all over the world. More than 3200 meters high, visible from much of eastern Sicily, imposing and sly, it often grants spectacular fire games, with tens of meters high lava fountains that illuminate the cool Sicilian nights.
White in winter and black in summer, it bears the signs of the drama of its power along its slopes. Shore up by small hills, once active craters, now covered with thick vegetation, the entire territory of Etna (about 60,000 hectares) has always been the object of attention from the Sicily Region, which has established the Etna Park in 1987.
Its majesty and vigor that has distinguished every aspect of eastern Sicily for millennia has seen Etna recognized as the sixth Sicilian site to be included in the Unesco World Heritage list.
Admiring, getting to know and living Etna is an experience and a thousand emotions that you can’t do without. Click for more information
PARK OF NEBRODI
An area of over 85,000 hectares allows the Nebrodi Park to be the largest protected area in all of Sicily, occupying a large area that runs from Santo Stefano di Camastra to the northern side of Etna, encompassing 24 municipalities.
It is a very rich and evocative natural landscape, with Monte Soro which stands as the highest peak of the park at about 1850 meters: from here the view is breathtaking, with Mount Etna behind and the Aeolian Islands that can be glimpsed looking north.
The low population density of the area has allowed the maintenance of the natural habitat of the area and the overall integrity of the territory.. Click for more information
NATURAL PARK OF THE MADONIE
The Madonie Park embraces almost 40,000 hectares of natural landscape in the north-central area of Sicily.
The peaks of the highest mountain range in Sicily allow you to admire a vast and varied panorama, overlooking the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and running up to the Sicilian hinterland. Click for more information
NATURAL PARK OF THE ALCANTARA
Unique in the Italian and European naturalistic landscape, the Alcantara Gorges represent one of the unmissable attractions of Sicily. Located about 20 km from Taormina, inside the Alcantara River Park, the gorges are real canyons formed by black lava walls up to 50 meters high, with the typical prism shape that the rocks have assumed during the process cooling.
The invigorating and clear waters of the Alcantara river flow inside the gorges, surrounded by a still intact landscape, with rare specimens of flora and fauna.
The purity of the natural habitat was facilitated by the hidden position that has preserved its existence: until the 1950s the site was completely unknown.
The Alcantara Gorges have now become a renowned attraction even beyond national borders, one of the most beautiful natural sites in Italy.
The Alcantara gorges can be visited all year round thanks to the paths that allow the practicability of the place even if the river is in a flood period.
The path of the beach is one of them. The route crosses the Alcantara Gorges from the origins of the site to the famous beach. Along the way some observation points have been made, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
Eleonora’s path begins at the Alcantara Gorges Botanical and Geological Park: the beautiful views of the canyons follow one another for over 600 meters. It includes the descent to the beach by lift.
The path of Venus involves crossing various beaches, waterfalls, the Mitoggio Gorge and the Arab bridge. It continues for about 2 km, from the small beach of the Gorges, continuing along the river.
Canyoning is the most characteristic and exciting itinerary of the Alcantara Gorges: in fact, it involves crossing the most important gorges, the steepest sections and the most spectacular jumps that the river makes inside the canyons. Click for more information
THE ZINGARO RESERVE
The Riserva dello Zingaro, the first in Sicily, was established in 1981 by the Sicilian Region.
We do not know why this area is called “gypsy”, in fact there is no information in the historical sources of nomads who lived in these places, while the presence of a colony of Lombardi in the thirteenth century is indicated.
Although Lo Zingaro is particularly famous for its beaches, for its clear and rich fish beds and for its underwater caves, it is good to know that the reserve offers much more.
In its territory there are many anthropologically relevant realities such as Borgo Cusenza, a small group of houses abandoned in the early 1950s and today expertly recovered from the Reserve, while, close to the coast, there are the testimonies of life eight thousand years ago, in the Grotta dell’Uzzo, inside which the remains of a much more recent peasant civilization are still visible today, which deserves to be remembered. Click for more information
THE RESERVE OF VENDICARI
Between Noto and Marzamemi, in Eastern Sicily, there is a place where nature gives its best.
It is the Vendicari Wildlife Reserve, an area where you can find different natural environments, areas of fresh water, salt flats, coastal dunes and kilometers of beaches.
The oasis is among the most beautiful in Europe and includes an area of 15,000 hectares of land. Walking among junipers, mastic and glasswort you can reach the sea, 13 kilometers of unspoiled coast are part of the reserve.
In this corner of paradise it will not be difficult to find flamingos, herons or cormorants. Following different itineraries on foot or by bicycle, you can admire the remains of the Saline, the Tonnara and a medieval watchtower. Click for more information