A chain of mountains runs along Sicily’s northern coast: the Peloritani in the east, followed by the Nebrodi and the Madonie. These limestone mountains continue to the west. The Conca d’Oro and Palermo are both encircled by mountains, while barren peaks protect the Zingaro park from the raw west wind and allow dwarf palms to flourish. The Egadi Islands, off the coast of Trapani, seem to have been tossed haphazardly into the ocean. Looming out of the water like a stone ship, the island of Marettimo keeps its lonely vigil, impassively resisting the pounding of the waves. The remainder of Sicily’s west coast slopes gradually into the ocean and is in many ways reminiscent of the shores of North Africa. The ancient man-made landscape of the salt flats located between Trapani and Marsala is an endless source of fascination and excellent opportunity for bird wachting. A nature reserve (www.wwfsalineditrapani.it) was declared in 1995.
Monte Pellegrino seems to exercise a general fascination. For Goethe it was the "most beautiful promontory in the world", for both the Palermitans and (interestingly) the Tamils living in Palermo, Pellegrino is a ‘holy mountain’. The mountain’s many limestone caves attracted people even back in the Stone Age. In the Archaeological Museum in Palermo you can see the casts of palaeolithic stone engravings from the Grotta dell’Addaura. During the 12th century, Rosalia di Sinibaldo lived as an hermit in one of these caves. After she managed (posthumously) to free Palermo of the plague, she was chosen as the city’s patron saint and is still celebrated every July with boisterous festivities. More about the Riserva Regionale Naturale Monte Pellegrino nature reserve: www.riservamontepellegrino.palermo.it
Described as walk 24 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134). Have a look at the editors web site with current updates: www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sicily/.
The castle on Pizzo del Corvo was built in the 12th century to protect the monastery in Monreale. The view from the peak over the Conca d’Oro is unique — ideal for a picnic!
Described as walk 25 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134). Have a look at the editors web site with current updates: www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sicily/.
The majestic silhouette of Monte Còfano (659m/2162ft) is a striking headland on the Sicilian coast. It’s a spectacular limestone outcrop, protected as an nature reserve and harbours more than 325 plant species, many of them endemic or rare. The area is rich in prehistoric caves — one of which, the Grotta Mangiapane, shelters a tiny hamlet, complete with stone-built houses and stables! The mountains around Custonaci are one of Italy’s most important marble-cutting centres.
Described as walk 26 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134). Have a look at the editors web site with current updates: www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sicily/.
Majestic limestone mountains, gorgeous turquoise-blue bays and a subtropical vegetation with dwarf fan palms (Chamaerops humilis) are among the natural wonders of the Zingaro Nature Reserve (www.riservazingaro.it). A successful citizens’ protest in 1980 prevented the authorities from building a coastal road here, and so Sicily’s first nature reserve was born. This example led to the creation of almost 100 more nature reserves and three large regional parks (the Sicilian equivalent of national parks).
Described as walk 27 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134). Have a look at the editors web site with current updates: www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sicily/.
Levanzo, the smallest of the Egadi Islands, is studded with limestone caves, in which people have sought refuge since the Stone Age. Important wall paintings and incised drawings from this early phase of the history of mankind are preserved in the Grotta del Genovese (www.grottadelgenovese.it). Amazingly, the islanders only left the caves in the 19th century, to move to the houses around the little port. Don't miss an overnight excursion to the neighbouring island Marettimo, an hikers heaven!
Described as walk 28 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134). Have a look at the editors web site with current updates: www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sicily/.
Rugged La Pizzuta stands out clearly in Palermo’s hinterland. It offers great views over the Conca d’Oro and the capital. The area’s neviere (snow pits) were used to store ice, which was then transported to Palermo in summer for the refreshment of the nobility in form of granite (sorbets). Piana degli Albanesi was founded in the end of the 15th century by Albanians fleeing Turkish domination. To this day the inhabitants preserve their language and Greek Orthodox rites, especially alive at Easter. A little warning at the end: The return path descending from the peak back towards Piana degli Albanesi is slippery and overgrown in places. Alternatively La Pizzuta can be reached from the saddle Portella della Ginestra. Take the forestry road towards Piano Fratantoni and continue as described in the above mentioned walk. Return the same way.
Described as walk 29 in Landscapes of Sicily. Car tours and walks, Sunflower (20134).
Ein guter Reisebegleiter
Wandern und Genießen
35 GPS-genaue Wanderrouten.
Natur- und Landschaftsführer
Walks, Cartours and Picknicks.