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Tourist-Information: Parco Fluviale dell'Alcantara

Provinz: Messina | Stadt: Francavilla di Sicilia | Aufrufe: 15116

Tourist-Information Parco Fluviale dell'Alcantara Alcantara is one of the most important rivers of Sicily. It has its source in Nebrodi Mountains, at 1,250 m of altitude near Floresta, and it runs for about 50 km before flowing into the sea near Capo Schiso.

The same river was given different names in the past, since each people settling along the valley called it in a different way.

The Greeks called it Assinos, Pliny called it Asines, Appiano Alessandrino named it Onobalas, the Muslims used the name of Al Quantarah or Cantara, meaning bridge in the Arab language, and Frederick III of Aragon called it Flumen Cantaris.

The Park Municipalities are characterized by several historical evidences you should visit accurately if you really want to discover the origins of the Valley.


The first evidences of human settlements in the valley date back to the late Copper Age/beginning of the Ancient Bronze Age (necropolis in Marca). After the arrival of the Greeks in Naxos in 735 BC, the Sicilians were forced to look for shelter in the hinterland: some time after, the area of Francavilla housed a Calcidese colony, of which we know the rich sanctuary of Demetra and Kore (6th century BC).

Other settlements rose in Contrada Giardinelli and Contrada Sant'Anastasia (Randazzo) along the banks of the river, which in the classical age was called "Onobala". After the Roman period, during which Tauromenio was a flourishing center, the Byzantines occupied the whole valley, leaving among the other things precious church evidences. Gaggi and Graniti were the first hamlets populated by the Arabs after the Islamic conquest.

In the year 1060/1 the Normans began to free Sicily; the Alcantara valley played an important strategic role in this process, since it was crossed by an inner major road connecting Messina with Palermo, which later became the Via Regia. Castiglione passed to the State property, Francavilla became an important inhabited garrison, and Randazzo, divided into three ethnic groups (Greeks, Gaul-Italics, and Latins) continued to be a self-managed town during the whole medieval period. In the 16th century, the passage of the Emperor Karl V aroused a great deal of interest in these places.

The Sicilian political crisis of the 17th century contributed to impoverish the economy, also because of the spread of investitures of nobility (2,044 barons in the Island, without considering the other titles). The 18th century had a promising beginning since, after the terrible 1693 earthquake which spread death and destruction in all eastern Sicily, the reconstruction works involved also the social and economic aspects. In 1719, during the Spanish attempt to re-conquer the Island, a decisive battle was fought with the Austrians in Francavilla. However, it was in the 19th century that the Bourbons issued new laws and fixed a final order for the several new-born Communes, improving the social conditions of the citizens.

The arrival of Garibaldi in 1860 and the dissolution of the religious corporations in 1866 did not change the condition of the Sicilians. After the period of the great migration (beginning of the 20th century), it will be necessary to wait until the end of World War II to see a real cultural and economic recovery by our Municipalities.

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Info und KontakteInfo und Kontakte

Via dei Mulini, s.n. - 98034
Francavilla di Sicilia (Messina)

Mobile: 0942/9899

Fax: 0942/9899



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