close

Alcantara gorges and river

River, Gorges, Byzantine church, volcano

Alcantara gorges and river

Alcantara (natural reserve)
Alcantara (natural reserve)
Byzantine church (Cuba)
Byzantine church (Cuba)
The river and the lava stone
The river and the lava stone
Alcantara gorges
Alcantara gorges
The lava stone worked by the water during the centuries
The lava stone worked by the water during the centuries
Mojo Alcantara and the inactive volcano
Mojo Alcantara and the inactive volcano

The name of this river means “the bridge” (al qantarah, in Arabic) and it divides the province of Catania from that of Messina. The Alcantara, where in the past the Arabs tried to breed crocodiles unsuccessfully, starts in the Nebrodi mountains and, after 52 kilometers, drains into the Ionian Sea. The most characteristic event of this river was its encounter for millenia with the hard and obstinate lava rock. The result was the formation of deep gorges visited by many tourists during the year.

Gole-dellAlcantara

 

The gorges are in many places but are at their most spectacular near Motta Camastra, where very high walls were formed, smoothed by the water. The contrast between the incandescent lava and the water of the river gives rise to fabulous basalt prisims. And all of this in the middle of extremely wild vegetation clinging to the walls. A unique experience, in these parts, is to immerse yourself in the icy waters of the Alcantara on a hot Sicilian afternoon (around 40 degrees temperature difference).

 

 

 

 

 

cuba-castiglione

 

On the highest part of the river, in Castiglione di Sicilia, we report the presence of a splendid Byzantine Cuba (5th century BC) in the adjacent countryside, a beautiful Greek cross and constructed of lava stone and bricks. Near the mouth of the river is Naxos, the first colony founded by the Greeks around 740 BC.


The source of the river, is found in the town of town Floresta, in the park of the Nebrodi mountains at about 1400 meters (Serra Barratta).
After its start, at a certain point the river bends sharply to the east, leaving the Nebrodi and flowing between Etna on the right and the Peloritani on the left, creating a fertile and beautiful valley of the same name, rich in crops and lava fields.

 

Near the town of Mojo Alcantara is an ancient volcano of unknown origin, while nearby at the edge of Malvagna, is another Byzantine Cuba.

 

Ask our Cultural Department for more info or for a Guided Tour

Related places

Montagna Grande

It’s the highest top (1374 meters) of Peloritani mountains. From its top one can enjoy a wonderful view of Ionian sea and of the Eolian islands ! Maybe the most beautiful path to get there is...

Veneretta mountain

  It’s the highest point (884 meters) of the natural staircase that from the sea of Giardini Naxos, trough Taormina and Castelmola reaches the hinterland of this...

Naxos

Naxos       Naxos is the first place where the Greeks landed, we think around 734 BC, and they  arrived there “pushed by the winds,” according to Ephorus. Its founder...