Monte Altesina (Naturalistic Reserve)
Mt. Altesina, with its 1,192 m. a.s.l., the highest summit of Erei mountains, feeds the main spring of the river Dittaino.
On the summit, there is the relict of a ilex tree wood.
The ilex tree grows together with oaks and service tree, lentisk and phyllirea, which the wood is rich in.
Mt. Altesina lies in a strategic area, crossroads in central Sicily. As a matter of fact, in the area there are traces of past settlements, whose finds are on display in the archaeological museum of Palazzo Varisano in Enna.
If you love walking and photography, you will find in the reserve of Mt. Altesina some cues for interesting naturalistic observations.
From this mountain Arabs, in the IX century, divided simbolically the island in three area: Val Demone (north-east), Val di Mazara (west), Val di Noto (south-east)
Mt. Altesina, whose summit offers us a 360 degree view, has been without a doubt used by man since the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age to dig its graves.
Finds of Sicilian and Greek pottery witness the passage of different populations; in the surroundings, it is still possible to see the ruins of the settlements dating back to the 1st millennium BC.
The summit of this mountain was mainly used to watch over the ways of penetration, but also as a shelter for the local population during the invaders’ raids.
The site was characterized by human settlements until the late Norman period.
All the area is full of archeological ruins (above all the top where there is also a cave with an indecifrable inscription on the entrance).
The wood is populated by a characteristic wildlife, including the dormouse, the Corsican hare, and the European wild rabbit living together with the wild cat and the fox.
The Sparrow Hawk nests and hunts in the area: it is an accipiter bird of prey which also flies in the open areas.
In the woodland, the presence of the Great Spotted Woodpecker should be mentioned together with taht of the jay (photo).
The herpetofauna include small and big reptiles: the Common Lizard, the multicolored Green Lizard, the bizarre Skink, the hemidactylus; among the snakes, the viper and the black whip snake. In the open spaces, the buzzard and the kestrel hunt, while on the rocky spurs of the mountain the Peregrine nests.