Argimusco and Malabotta forest
A great and magic place.
The best way to approach it is from Montalbano Elicona.
Located between the Peloritani mountains and the Nebrodi mountains, the Malabotta wood (700 - 1300 m asl) is an area of exceptional naturalistic value, the forest par excellence, even if it should be counted among the forests for its naturalness.
Extraordinary is its ecological value, not only for its integrity, but above all for the accentuated environmental diversity.
It is a vast natural area between Roccella Valdemone and Montalbano Elicona, where on sediments now clayey-arenaceous, now on alluvial and calcareous rocks has spontaneously formed an ecosystem rich in flora and fauna.
In the reserve different environments are altered and you can easily move from the wood to the prairie, from wet torrential environments to steep cliffs.
The highest peak is at 1341 meters with Mount Croce Macina.
The reserve is characterized by a dense forest with centenarian trees, now open to large clearings inhabited by black pigs, now with impervious streams where the rare macrostigma trout is reproduced (as for example in the clear waters of the Licopedi stream, photo).
Generally the forest consists of centuries-old oaks (over 30 meters high), pines, hazels, chestnut trees, poplars and maples.
The beech forest, in the territory of Montalbano Elicona, forms a beautiful forest still intact that covers about 80 hectares.
In the areas where the action of the pasture is remarkable, the landscape is characterized by holly shrubs (a relict plant) which, like the laurel and the yew, is a very ancient witness of the flore of eras before the last glaciation, when the Sicily's climate was tropical (around 2 million years ago).
The undergrowth counts the hawthorn, the wild rose, the spiny spill and offers shelter to foxes and wild boars, weasels and martens.
The forests of the reserve are populated by sparrow-hawk, peregrine falcon, buzzard, kestrel, golden eagle ...
The forest is full of foxes, rabbits, dormice, porcupines, wild cats ...
Deviating from the road that leads to the Malabotta wood, you reach the Rocche dell'Argimusco, a plateau that rises to a height of more than one thousand meters.
On this vast plateau rise huge and mysterious megaliths (photos) of limestone reminiscent of menhirs and dolmens and which take on the mysterious shapes of the eagle, symbols of fertility, human faces, mammoths ... unleashing the idea that in the past this was a sacred place, where ancient propitiatory rites were consumed.