When we think about Sicily we often imagine blue sea, yellow landscapes, volcanoes, baroque cities and Greek temples. But most of the island is covered with high mountains, where you can find lush woods, abundant water springs, green pastures, beautiful medieval little villages treasuring unexpected works of art and excellent food. All the North Coast is dotted of these uncharted villages, embedded in beautiful mountains with sea-views on the Tyrrhenian sea and on the Aeolian Islands. In this area you can switch easily from beautiful mountain landscapes to wonderful coastlines. There are three mountain ranges from Messina to the Province of Palermo: the Peloritani, the Nebrodi and the Madonie mountains, these last two are Natural Parks. All with specific beauties and differences.
The Peloritani mountains offer old Byzantine churches, views on the Messina channel and on Italy and the megaliths of Argimusco that are a very particular rock formation together with delicious local specialities and wines. The highest peak of the Peloritani range is the Montagna Grande (1374 m) by Rocca Novara (1340 m). The geological structure of the Peloritani is a true treasure trove of “stone biodiversity” mainly composed of rocks of magmatic or metamorphic origin.
Novara di Sicilia is one of the charming villages in the area, under the Rocca di Novara where winters are cold and snowy. In this place they produce a special cheese called Maiorchino. There are only two producers of this old dairy product that try to preserve it from extinction. It is so important in the economy of the village that they celebrate it with a special winter festival. In this occasion they make a race and the famous Novara cheese is transformed from an exquisite culinary delicacy to a real “rolling object” through the streets of the village. This unusual race consists in rolling a wheel of mature Maiorchino cheese along a path that winds for over two kilometres along the narrow streets of the town. It’s a really nice experience in a very characteristic atmosphere.
Another suggestive place in the Peloritani mountains is Le Rocche dell’Argimusco. It is a place made by gigantic rocks with particular shapes of rare beauty. The action of atmospheric agents has shaped the huge rocks, creating stones with particular anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. This plateau, where sacred rites were held, was chosen thousands years ago to practice astronomy and decipher the movements of the stars, setting the basis for a practical and useful calendar.
This is only a short description of some of the many interesting and unknown things that you can discover along the wonderful Northern Coast of Sicily. In the next articles we will talk about the treasures of the Nebrodi and Madonie Natural Parks…follow us!
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