Discovering the Iblei Mountains in Sicily

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references

I'll tell you about our new itinerary to discover Sicily more? intimate and genuine. A route that touches suggestive villages rich in history such as Buccheri, Ferla, Monterosso Almo, Chiaramonte Gulfi. Along the road that runs through the Iblei plateau, wherever you turn, nature expresses all its splendor.
Ancient farms, small villages, carob trees and centuries-old olive trees, wheat fields surrounded by dry stone walls, free cows? in the pastures and many other surprises this unprecedented itinerary reserves for us to discover Sicily more? intimate and genuine. IS? a paradise for trekking and cyclists: curves that caress the fields, hairpin bends that rise and fall between the valleys, blooms that lap the edges of the road, paths with breathtaking views. We just have to find out too.

1 day

Our first stop? BUCCHERI. We choose to get there along the ancient road that merchants from Catania used to travel from the valley in the Middle Ages to reach Ragusa. Buccheri was at the time an important rest stop to then continue the long journey towards the Ragusan plateau. Just before the road begins to climb towards the village, surrounded by olive groves, we visit the ancient Church of Sant? Andrea used by the Templars as the last outpost before setting sail for the Holy Land.

A little more? in l? Mariagrazia is waiting for us to show us the centuries-old olive trees of the family estate, the VERNERA. While her eyes sparkle, she tells us that her father Vito recognized them one by one, attributing a soul to each of them. Today Vern? Ra oils are an international excellence and Mariagrazia invites us to a guided tasting that we cannot resist. And so what? we also discover why? this oil has received cos? many prizes and awards.

At sunset, with the silence interrupted only by the sound of some cicada, we realize that this place continues to give us a magical atmosphere. What? we choose to stay overnight at LE CASE DI SANT? ANDREA, the farmhouse bordering the Vern? ra.

2 day

The next morning, the awakening reserves us a magnificent surprise. From the terrace in front of our room a breathtaking view of an intact landscape: around us only the green of the woods and olive trees as far as the eye can see for kilometers. At breakfast the owner Marzia welcomes us who, between a homemade tart and a tray of fresh fruit, reveals that this is also for her? always been his true oasis of peace.

We say goodbye to Marzia and continue our journey towards the village, to meet with Pippo Formica, an environmental hiking guide who will take us? to discover the ancient NEVIERE DI BUCCHERI and the historic center of Buccheri. During the excursion Pippo involves us in stories ranging from history, myth and legend, always careful to mention sources and documents. With him we discover the story of the hard work of the nevaroli and of Prince Alliata the? Lord of the Snow ?, crossing panoramic points from which you can? admire the top of Etna and even the coasts of Calabria. Upon returning to the village, the story continues as we follow him through baroque churches, scenic stairways, alleys and courtyards to the foot of the ruins of the medieval castle from which the whole valley is dominated.

IS? Pippo tireless and knows every detail of this territory so? charming. But to us? when we feel peckish, we ask him where we can eat something typical. What? he invites us to have lunch in his restaurant, the Osteria? U Locale. He runs it together with his brother Sebastiano, who likes to call himself? The peasant cook ?. Here the palate rediscovers the taste of ancient flavors, simple dishes prepared with genuine ingredients: vegetables from their countryside, meats and cheeses at zero km, oil and wine of own production.

In the afternoon we decide to visit the nearby town of FERLA. We were told that here the inhabitants have chosen? Slow living? as a lifestyle, made up of attention to nature, well-being and human relationships. And in fact, strolling through its narrow streets, between churches, squares and alleys, the air you breathe in the village? relaxing. We meet Floriana who tells us that every spring in Ferla takes place? Ferula? the Wellness Festival and in the village the pastry chef named Franco Emanuele invented the granita with olive oil, surprising everyone with a taste as unusual as it is exceptional. Curiosity? ? too much and you just have to taste it?

3 day

The next morning we stop at PARCALLARIO, an adventure park nestled in the woods near Buccheri. We were told it was an experience to try, but we never thought we would have fun like this. much. Guided by a very kind and well-trained staff, we too launched ourselves on paths suspended on footbridges, cableways that descend among the trees, climbs and descents. The excitement and laughter of the children we met said it all about how much in this park? really hard to get bored. At the Info Point of the park, Francesco and Salvina explain to us that here everyone can find the path suitable for their abilities. and that the lifeline continues, a special riser to which you? always attached, guarantees 100% safety. And after so many emotions we decide to stop at the park's refreshment point, where the inviting scent of grilled meat comes from.

After lunch, a well-deserved nap under the trees of Parcallario, then our journey resumes towards MONTEROSSO ALMO. Here Alessandro welcomes us, a passionate young hiker who guides us to discover this small village full of many suggestive views. He tells us that directors of the caliber of Tornatore have chosen him as the film set for the film? L? Uomo delle stelle ?. And we too are fascinated by the atmosphere that reigns in these alleys and which makes us experience a dip in the past.

4 day

The next morning we get up early in the direction of CHIARAMONTE GULFI. We learned that this country of a few thousand inhabitants has 10 museums to visit. Here Lucio and Elisa guide us among archaeological finds, liberty style furniture, ancient presses for milling, embroidered tablecloths from the last century, stuffed birds, musical instruments from the five continents, military relics, cribs, vestments and sacred objects, wood sculptures , paintings . IS? a whole opening and closing of doors behind which local culture and traditions await us, kept with love and passion.

We greet them thanking them and seeing that yes? after lunch time, we ask around for advice for a stop. Everyone directs us to the MAJORE RESTAURANT, famous for its typical dishes based on pork and a certainty of the culinary tradition of Chiaramonte Gulfi. We go in and already? an inviting scent from the kitchen welcomes us. Via the menu, we let ourselves be advised by the waiter. Excellent choice why? we are served the restaurant's workhorse, the risotto alla Majore, prepared with rag? of pork and seasoned with Ragusa cheese followed by a stuffed pork rib, which contains all the flavor of this land. true and genuine.
In the afternoon we discover the other beauties of this elegant town walking through its streets, until we reach the municipal villa. Overlooking the railing of the belvedere, the eye is lost endlessly on a breathtaking panoramic view that goes from Etna to the Gulf of Gela. And let's find out why? Chiaramonte Gulfi? called? The Balcony of Sicily ?.
One last unexpected gift of this fascinating and evocative itinerary to discover the Iblei Mountains and a Sicily unjustly called? Minor ?.

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