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Stop At: Alcantara River Park, Castiglione di Sicilia, Sicily Italy
The route is of exceptional interest both from a geological and botanical point of view. Along the Le Gurne Alcantara path you can take a walk through nature, history and traditions, to discover the most beautiful places in the Park: the ruins of the castle of Francavilla, the archaeological excavations, the saje and the gurne.
Nine observation points along the path for about 1,500 m., To admire the vegetation but also the nearby towns of Castiglione di Sicilia and Motta Camastra.
The path, created by the Ente Parco Fluviale dell'Alcantara, starts from the heart of the town of Francavilla di Sicilia.
Characteristics of this path are the accessibility and variety of landscapes. The path is in fact visited every year by numerous school groups. Along it you can observe, facilitated by the appropriate signs, numerous historical and cultural evidence: the archaeological excavations of a Greek settlement of the fifth century BC, the ruins of the castle of Francavilla di Sicilia, built by the Normans, the Saje, small pipelines that constitute a irrigation system introduced by the Arabs and innovative for the times.
After crossing cultivated areas, we come under the immense head of a superb specimen of oak: its shadow has allowed the growth on the rocky part of several lichens. A few meters later, through a branch you reach a footbridge, close to the Enel's work, which crosses the Alcantara river. From here you can enjoy the splendid landscape of the Gurne: small lakes along the river created by the erosion of the water on the lava rock, surrounded by a luxuriant flora: poplars, oaks, willows and oleanders. In the stretch of river below the footbridge there are numerous frogs and toads, while the warm ones are warmed on the hot lava rock. It is very likely to spot some gray heron which, disturbed, rises in flight.
Towards the end of the path you can see the Ciappa Mill where already at the end of the nineteenth century the production of hydroelectric energy was experimented: Francavilla and Castiglione were in fact among the first inhabited in Italy to possess electricity. From this point the route is divided, with the possibility of reaching the state road or climbing along the side of the mountain on which stands the castle of Francavilla and return to the village. Along the ascent to the castle, in the spring months you can observe a superb blooming of orchids along the slope; then you reach a belvedere from which you can see the confluence of the Zavianni river and the Alcantara, the village of Francavilla and the sixteenth century Capuchin convent.
Duration: 3 hours