Parco delle Madonie: alternative routes inside Sicily


Looking for a slightly alternative Sicily which still has to be written about? Parco Naturale Regionale Delle Madonie in Sicily, welcomes the visitor with its 40,000-hectare  of forests which include the nearly-extinct Nebrodi fir trees. The Madonie mountains will offer a great deal for fun thanks to its sunset, its amazing trees and a slow different and more ancient way of life that have little in common with the frantic and a la page coastal cities in  Sicily.

Located between Palermo and Cefalù, with the Madonie mountains inside  and Pizzo Carbonara (1979m), this area shows off a fantastic gastronomic tradition all made of raw materials to create delicious first and second course meal: meat, sausages, salami, cheese, olives, mushrooms, and fresh seasonal vegetables.

Many of the towns in the Madonie Park have a mediaeval origin:  the noble land-owning families ruled huge estates and built up magnificent castles in the area together with wonderful churches like the ones you can find in Petralia Soprana and Petralia Sottana facing one another on the hill. Children-friendly is Il Parco Avventura near Petralia. There are picnic areas and, phoning ahead, the visitors can request some local products, such as cheeses, hams, sausages for the day-out with all the family.

Castelbuono is capital of the Madonie area. In the old town peculiar is the production of “manna”: this pale, dense and white resin drips from ash trees when the bark is cut. It is largely utilised as a sweetener for local delikatessen. If left to flow before the definitive collection, the “manna” creates forms resembling stalactits. Apparently it has a strong curative qualities for stomach problems.

What to do? The Madonie Park is made for walking and hiking: many wonderful routes open to the guests, together with horse-riding and mountain-biking.


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