THE GORGES OF ALCANTARA
Between Messina and Catania, the charm, the beauty, the lure of the “Gorges”, famous all over the world. About 50 km of river channel, with unique and unusual natural features. Geological and geothermal events of considerable intensity have set the structure of the current basalts. It seems that in prehistoric times the river ran over clay sediments; then huge volcanic eruptions channelled a liquid magma into the river bed, which made it sink into the clayish segments, resulting into the current basalt colonnades. The apotheosis of these spectacular natural sculptures is located in Motta Camastra – contrada Larderia.
A day at the gorges. It is good not to be too late and better if you buy the ticket online. The structure has large lifts for the descent to the gorges and a food service. The water of the Alcantara river is very cold. You can hire waterproof boots but if you come in summer, there is no need in hiring them. Awaiting for you below if a small pebble beach where you can lie in the sun and cool off in the roaring river. Or you can go up it partly against the current, thus entering the wonderful spectacle of the gorges. The most courageous submerge themselves completely, others, sooner or later, will be submerged inadvertently.
5 minutes from the entrance is the free communal entrance for access to use of the (dry) gorges above. A botanical route that allows us to enjoy the park without descending on the river.
It is also possible to kayak down the Alcantara river with various levels of difficulty and with the support of sports clubs.
THE GORGES OF TIBERIUS
The gorges of Tiberius stretching along more than 250 metres. They are located on the river Pollina in the Madonie Regional Natural Park, Geopark site recognised by UNESCO. After a long descent of stairs, you reach the gorges, which apparently owe their name to Emperor Tiberius to whom they were dedicated.
It is a very relaxing place, you can visit the gorges gliding on the water with small rubber dinghies to reach two small beaches. A day trip that you can complete by visiting the charming Madonie villages of Pollina and San Mauro Castelverde.
Thing to see: From the fossils of gastropods in the rock walls, to the numerous birds’ nests only a few centimetres from the water. You can see the caves of bandits and the legends related to them and to the place, like the famous Miricu and the Monster as well as the play of light that occurs between the water and the walls, the contrast between warm winds outside and the coolness inside, and if you are lucky, even the flight of the golden eagle.
To get there, follow the signs from the main road to San Mauro. After about ten kilometres you leave the provincial road and continue along a small road that after a while becomes a dirt road. Park in front of the staircase with 400 steps.