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A Drive across the Nebrodi Mountain Range

July 23, 2013

I had been wanting to take this trip for two years, but knew I could not do it alone in my tiny city car.  When I realized it was going to happen thanks to Patrizia and Gianni, I was quite excited!


A drive across the Nebrodi mountain range in Sicily is a drive through a unique natural environment displaying a variety of landscapes with breathtaking views, along mountain ridges, up and down mountain sides, hills and valleys.  Along the way, one travels along high cow pastures, wooded areas, along the lakes of the Nebrodi mountains, in this case Lago Maulazzo and Lago Biviere.   Many of the paths one crosses are unpaved, so the only way to make this trip is with an off road vehicle.  Of course, I was at awe, when along one of those unpaved paths, a descent through the woods between Lago Maulazzo and Lago Biviere, driving up towards us were a group of travelers traveling on Vespas.  They belonged to the Modica Vespa Club and had traveled hundreds of kilometers on their Vespas to reach this location. 


I was accompanied by a childhood friend, Patrizia, and her friend, Gianni Frazzetta, who drove his off road vehicle. Gianni, a geologist and volcanologist, whose knowledge and experience contributed with an enlightening abundance of explanations on the plate tectonics events that led to the creation of the Nebrodi mountains and the geological explanations of the rock formations we met along the way.  As we traveled towards the Nebrodi mountain range, Gianni started explaining that the Nebrodi mountains are the result of the folding which occurred as a result of the collision between the African and European plates.  This all started 20 million years ago.  Gianni proceeded to explain that this colliding of the plates is still active today as demonstrated by the earthquakes that occur, from time to time, in the surrounding regions. With regards to the geological formation of these mountains, Gianni explained that they are flyshoid, which means an alternating of clay and sandstone.

Our drive  consisted of a loop approaching the Nebrodi mountain range driving up from Catania along the southwestern side of Mount Etna.  We drove by the towns of Adrano, Bronte,  and then, heading west, we drove to Cesaro’.


Monte Barca – the cone which stands on the furthest western side of Mt. Etna 


Etna in the backdrop as we are approaching the Nebrodi mountain range from the south


Oh! What fun having a geologist/volcanologist as a guide!  This rock formation is actually “flysh numidico” and derives from the African Atlas mountains which arrived in Sicily through plate tectonics!!!! 


Cesaro’ and a slice of Etna in backdrop


Soon after Cesaro’, the Nebrodi Mountains start.  We headed to Portella Femmina Morta Miraglia, which is along the path leading to the highest mountain peak of the Nebrodi, Monte Soro. 


Monte Soro stands at 1,847 meters.  At this point, we headed towards two lakes, Lago Maulazzo  and Lago Biviere.  Lago Maulazzo is surrounded by wooded areas, with horses roaming freely, and there were people enjoying the water on their kayaks.  Next, we made a stop for lunch along Lago Biviere.  Around Lago Biviere  a walk through the wooded area brought an encounter with the black pigs of Nebrodi, roaming in their natural habitat. 

Monte Soro peak – meteo site


Horseback rider along the path


Lago Maunazzo


Horses roaming free


One of the many cow pastures we saw


Mama black pig of Nebrodi after piglets ran away having heard my voice!


The afternoon drive, through more off road terrain, brought breathtaking views of the mountain range with towns perched high on the mountain tops and down in the valleys.  TheRocche Crasto were to the right and visible all along the way.

Rocche Crasto


  Driving through Alcara li Fusi and Militello Rosmarino, a good stop for coffee, we soon could see the Tyrrenean Sea, northern coast of Sicily, in front of us.

Alicara li Fusi 


After a short drive along the northern coast to Capo d’Orlando  we stopped at the beach.  Swimming in those crystalline waters was quite refreshing and offered a break from a long dusty drive. 



Next, it was time to start heading back to Catania and to do so we headed to Naso.  From Naso, we took SS 116, the road which leads back to the Mt. Etna area through Ucria and Floresta. In Floresta a festival was taking place and we stopped to enjoy some of the local delicacies at a local trattoria. 

Stop for FOOD in Floresta – How could we NOT end the day with FOOD? 


Back onto SS 116 we headed down to Randazzo, which lies along the northern edge of Mt. Etna.  From Randazzo, we drove back to the eastern coast of Sicily and driving south, along the coast, we reached Catania.

An unforgettable trip and THANK YOU Patrizia and Gianni!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. pamela permalink

    This trip looks like it was well worth the two-year wait! Very beautiful pictures! I love the animals:)


    • It certainly was worth the wait! I recommend this trip to anyone who loves being immersed in nature.


  2. Hmm wonder if my Kia Sorrento would make the trip??


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