Horse trail from Palazzolo Acreide to Noto Antica
On this route, we will travel following the breath and pace of our hoofed friend. We will cross hidden paths, hills and rivers. We leave from the Palazzolo Acreide (SR) area and cover 25 km in about six hours (with one hour of break). We will reach the remains of Noto Antica (SR).
Let’s put on gaiters, boots and a helmet: we are ready to go!
Palazzolo Acreide is the first stop on our journey. It is set in the Iblei mountains at an altitude of 700 metres. The town has a strategic control position over the territory and communication routes. Its territory extends between the valleys of the Anapo and Manghisi rivers. Here we will find significant Greek-Roman historical evidence, such as the remains of the ancient Akrai. Hence the name Acreide. We will see the Agora, the theatre, the Necropolis and the boleuterion. We will also have the chance to discover an incredible variety of flora: more than 400 types of plant species live in this area. The Sicilian trachelium, the ofride iunulata, the dwarf palm, the salvione giallo, and the oriental plane tree are among the endemic Sicilian species.
We head south into the Bosco di Baulì. We find many black poplars in the wood, the oldest specimens in the Iblei. At the point where the Baulì stream joins the Manghisi river, we come across the “Ddieri di Baulì”. These are ancient rock dwellings (ddieri from the Arabic diyār, house) dug into the limestone rock, dating back to the Byzantine period. According to studies, it seems that the inhabitants of Akrai used these houses to escape Saracen raids. At the end of the 19th century, they became hiding places from the Briganti ( the Sicilian bandits).
We continue travelling south, reaching our final stage: Old Noto. The first settlements date back to the Bronze Age, but after the earthquake of 11 January 1693, the area was abandoned. To the west of Monte Alveria and close to Noto antica is Cava Carosello. The quarry is both a place of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest. Indeed, we can see many archaeological remains well worth a visit. In Old Noto, you can also relax in the picnic area in front of the main entrance. In a small wood of Mediterranean pines, you can find tables, benches and cooking facilities to enjoy your free time in the nature.