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Alcantara River Park

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The valley of the Alcantara River and the namesake River Park

Tourist places: Alcantara River Park

The Alcantara River is the most important river in Sicily.

It comes from the Arabic word AL-QANTAHAR “the bridge” and it flows through the Nebrodi mountains and through a valley, for about 50 km to the Jonian sea, where Naxos, the first Greek colony and Taormina are the most international touristic sites in Eastern Sicily.

The river is also fed by the snow melting from of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

It also defines the regional provinces of Catania and Messina.

Since 2001, The Alcantara Park established by the Sicilian Region, protects this valley, a rich source for history, architecture, traditions, along with and its beautiful and delicate natural environment.

From the source of the River to its mouth, the Alcantara valley offers landscapes with striking colors and invites nature lovers to interesting outdoor excursions.

The vegetation goes through a thousand shades of green, varing from typical mountain landscape in Floresta, with its large oaks and evergreen forests, to the the lower valley of Gaggi, with large elms and plane trees along the sandy shores.

Life runs swiftly along its banks: colorful butterflies give rise to natural choreographies. Numerous species of resident and migratory birds of prey delight birdwatchers.
The waters host many amphibians.
Some species are very rare such as the Macrostigma Trout.
When hiking, you might happen to run into a timid grass snake.
With the passing of the centuries, the river has created beautiful fairytale sceneries. It is the mixing of natural elements that arouse amazement.

The turbulent waters, flow and play with the lava stones, and sand smoothing them and enhancing their shape. Some sections of the river slow down and create small lakes known as The Gurne.
Wild orchids grow along the sandy banks and green lizards walk agile. When in heat, these reptiles take on a cobalt blue colour.

In the vicinity of the little town of Motta Camastra, the stream flows faster.
The river flows into a canyon through high walls. Due to violent eruptions, the meeting of ice-cold water and burning lava has created unique geometries and ripid walls.
Lava basalt prisms, unusual natural sculptures recall a pipe organ with its elegant fans, and neat piles of firewood.



The Alcantara Park, was created to preserve his natural environment and has given birth to many education activities which accentuate the importance of nature conservation. A network of paths allow visits of students, and hikers and some routes are accessible to disabled people
as well.

The abundance of water and sun have always been the wealth of its inhabitants, who have extensively cultivated this land with excellent results. Between Randazzo and Castiglione of Sicily, the river feeds vineyards grown on
black lava slopes, well appreciated for their full-bodied wines.
The stream, from Mojo Alcantara to Taormina, Gaggi and Graniti, gently flows into a fertile plain abounding in orchards and citrus fruits, kissed by the sun. Roccella dominates the valley near the forest of Malabotta and the medieval town of Randazzo is known for its elegant mansions and impressive churches in lava stone. Along the territory, Malvagna and Castiglione di Sicilia, with their lava rock religious buildings and cube-shaped structures, recall old settlements in ancient times.

Francavilla of Sicily, along the "The Gurne Alcantara path”, is a city of ancient and noble origins, that retains traces of the past in an important archeological, historical and natural site. Throughout the course of the river, the ancient castle of Castiglione di Sicilia and the majestic fortress of Calatabiano, guard its history, along with the blue waters of the Ionian sea and Mount Etna.

In these centers, ability and imagination have created a quality of craftsmanship and skilled hands work items of a past as old as time itself.
The local culture finds its expression in the traditional cuisine along with its typical and genuine products, such as sausages and cheeses, pasta with tomato and tasty meats, seasoned with the flavor of the Alcantara river.

The entire area of the park is filled with small towns full of charm, art and traditions that will make your holiday special in these places, one more reason to visit this magical valley, between water and fire, between nature and culture.


Photo album Photo album: Alcantara River Park

Francavilla di sicilia chiesa matrice con il relativo campanile Gole dell'alcantara Castiglione di sicilia chiesa di sant antonio
Antica centrale elettrica municipale di vittoria Littorina sul ponte san cataldo Ponte arabo sul fiume alcantara a castiglione
Gurna del fiume alcantara Francavilla di sicilia chiesa matrice e quartiere contarado Vullo quattareddu sul fiume alcantara
Escursioni fiume alcantara Motta camastra panorama lato est Castiglione di sicilia chiesa di san vincenzo e il cannizzo
Francavilla di sicilia ruderi del castello normanno Fiume alcantara a trappitello Castiglione di sicilia chiesa della madonna catena
Motta camastra panorama lato ovest Motta camastra Vullo passerella sul fiume alcantara
Fiume alcantara nei pressi di gaggi Castiglione di sicilia il castello Dettaglio fiume alcantara acqua
Ponte ferrovia francavilla Motta camastra viuzza scavata nella roccia Castiglione di sicilia veduta del castello
Ingresso gole di larderia Castiglione cuba bizantina

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