Snorkeling and birdwatching at Vendicari

To get away from the city and get touch with nature, visit the Nature Reserve of Vendicari: an oasis of sand, rocks and natural lakes. We recommend that you enter from the north gate Eloro, just 8 km from Noto, to enjoy a more complete tour of the oasis.

This takes in the Big and the SmallLakes,The Swabian Tower and The Tonnara.

All around you are, ancient ruins and archaeological excavations testifying the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Medieval tracks in the reserve. Bring binoculars, because the reserve is home to many varieties of birds, over 180. Several varieties of plants, along with freshwater and brackish lakes, creating ideal conditions for a natural balance between land and water. Some flamingos, herons and moorhensmay come close to you, as they live in the reserve. But the true stars here are the thousands of ducks wading in a freshwater lake. If you arrive from Pachino , the city of the famous “cherry tomato” and fine wines, in the South, the gate to the Reserve is Cittadella.

Halfway along SP19 road, however, you will find the Calamosche entrance, certainly the best known because it leads to a paradise beach . Almost 1km in length, the path is rough and can be done on foot only. So do not forget hats and plenty of fresh water. At the end of the path, after 120 steps, a wonderful sight is in front of you.

Crystal clear waters there to be explored by snorkeling.

N.B. bring your need for your stay as the beach is not equipped.

85 km from Catania
30 Km fromNoto

by Car
From Catania: Autostrada Siracusa-Catania (Highway E45) exit to Cassibile,take the SS115 road to Noto then take the SP19 Noto-Pachino . Proceed for 8Km then you’ll find directions to the left to Riserva di Vendicari

Parking only during the Summer season
Auto € 3
Motorbike € 3
Camper or AR € 12

AST linea Catania-Siracusa-Modica Tel +39 0931.46271

SAIS from Catania – Tel +39 095.536168

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

Azienda Regionale Foreste Demaniali

Via Giovanni alle Catacombe – Siracusa
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Trekking through the Gorges of the Alcantara River

The Fluvial Park of Alcantara covers a large region between Randazzo and Giardini di Naxos. In particular the gorges and ravines of Alcantara are located at Francavilla di Sicilia. The ravines are over 25 meters high and give life to an exciting spectacular canyon, gushing with water!
Access to the gorge is via a number of steps. The waters of the river are icy: in the deeper parts they do not exceed 10 degrees Celsius – not ideal to take a dip in! However, there is an opportunity for tourists to hire waterproofs and thigh-high waders to experience the fantastic rock formations and the highest cliffs. There are opportunities for sunbathing on the banks of the Gurne, natural lakes created by the river through the canyon.

Please note “never do it on winter time”, temperature maybe too low. Horse riding lovers can go for a ride along the horse paths recently arranged. For those who love trekking why not secure the services of Byron Tours, who offer a range of excursions around the area to take in the beautiful flora and fauna of the Gurne Path of Alcantara.

by Car
A18 Messina-Catania-Siracusa exit Giardini di Naxos, follow direction to Francavilla SS185

by Bus:
AST – Etna Trasporti

Distance : 13km from Giardini di Naxos

Parco Fluviale dell’Alcantara, CT

Via dei Mulini 98034 Francavilla di Sicilia Tel +39 0942.989911

Suggested by Amunì:
Escursioni Byron Excursions

Tel +39 095.2936637; mobile +39 340.6006591

Underneath the Chestnut of the100 horses! 
The oldest tree in Europe


On the slopes of Etna, in the resort of St.Alfio, stands the oldest tree in Europe: ” The Chestnut of a Hundred Horses”.

So called because the legend tells that Queen of Sicily, Joanna I of Angiò, who ended the battle of ninety years of Catania in 1347, during a hunting expedition on Mount Etna, was caught by a storm and found shelter, along with her hundred knights, just below the famous Chestnut Tree.

Withover 62 metersin circumference,25 metersin height and an approximateage of between 2000 and 4000 years, the Chestnut is now considered the oldest and largest tree in Europe. In addition it has been in The Guinness Book of Records since 18 May 2008, as part of world heritage asset, given the title ofMessenger of Peace in the World. This is because it is classed as the desired destination at any time, a refuge for men and women from all classes, all united by the common spirit to find themselves through peaceful contact with the uncontaminated nature.

San’.Alfio is also famous for the production of typical products of Etna Park such asalmond, pistachio, hazelnut, walnutandhoneypaste. In restaurants and farm holidays in the area you can enjoy the specialties such as freshhomemade pastawith pork sauce, withmushrooms, with wild fennel and with chestnuts. Try theBBQ meat and cheese.

Distance fromCatania38 km

by Train
Giarre/Risposto railway station 10 km from St.Alfio

by Car
A18 (highway 18) Messina-Catania-Siracusa exit Giarre, take SP5-I, drive for about 6km direction Macchia di Giarre, then Paoli Primo and Sant’Alfio.

The trails of Etna

For those who want to spend more time discovering the natural beauty of Etna Park, there are alternative ways to explore it.

Always accompanied by experienced guides you can take a tour of the volcano starting from the town of Nicolosi or Zafferana Etnea. Etna Park offers different paths, easy or medium difficulty, on foot or by mountain bike.

Some of them are:

Etna South:
Sentiero Monte Nero degli Zappini , 4 km return (2h 30m), is ideal for trekking and mountain biking. It starts from Piano Vetore and comes to Santa Barbara Refugee, passing through the lava flow of 1985.

Etna North-East:
Sentiero Pietracannone-Cubania 4 km return (2h), is ideal for easy trekking. It starts on the road Mareneve, Case di Pietracannone homes, beyond Milo and St. Alfio, it ends at the Paternò Castello Refugee, passing over the lava flow of 1971.

Etna North-East:
Sentiero Monti Sartorius 4 km return (2h), is ideal for trekking, half and half on a bike. It starts from and returns to Citelli Refuge. The trail allows you to view the craters known to “buttonhole” lava flows dating back to 1865.

Etna North:
Grotta dei Lamponi e Grotta del Gelo This is a very difficult path of about 16 km that can be done in part by mountain biking (2h) and in part on foot (3h). The starting point by car is from the refuge Ragabo north of the volcano, and is on the road Mareneve a few kilometers from Lingfield. The first cave is called The Lamp, reachable by bike or donkey. Leaving the bike near the cave, you must walk up to the Ice Cave. This is a cave constantly frozen, so we recommend this route only to experts.

Etna North-West:
Sentiero di Piano Vetore, 14 km return (4h), is ideal for biking. When you reach the Ariel Refuge, park your car at the Rangers stop. Continue on foot or bicycle, along a path that leads up to a botanical garden in deep forest.
Galvarina Refuge is there for you to rest in a sleeping bag and warm up in front of a fire.

Distance 51 km from 
; 98 Km from 
 by Car
From Catania: A18 (Highway 18) Messina – Catania – Siracusa exit Gravina di Catania, drive to Nicolosi – exit Etna Sud.
From Messina: A18 Messina – Catania – Siracusa exit Giarre, follow direction to Zafferana Etnea.