sicily home |  sitemap | imprint

Sicily Home >  About Sicily >  Nature >  The Alcantara Park

The Alcantara Park

The name Alcantara comes from the Arabic Al Quantarah or "the bridge". This park following the course of the river winds along the 50 kilometres of the bed of the river Alcàntara, which tells of enormous and terrifying geological events. Geologists, indeed, say that in prehistory here there already flowed a river on a clay bed. On this bed, however, a flow of extremely fluid magma was channelled provoking the collapse of these sediments, giving rise, today, to the extraordinary colonnades that are admired in the Larderia area, at a short distance from Motta Camastra. The Park Municipalities are the following: Calatabiano, Castiglione di Sicilia, Francavilla di Sicilia, Gaggi, Giardini Naxos, Graniti, Malvagna, Mojo Alcantara, Motta Camastra, Randazzo, Roccella Valdemone, Taormina.
Along the river Alcantara, flowing between Nebrodi, Etna and the Peloritani, we find characteristic river environments, with plant formations and crops.The size of the basin is approximately 573 square kilometers and lies between the Ionian Sea and the springs near Floresta
The course of the river Alcantara can be separated into four sections, each one characterized by a specific geological substrate and by a particular vegetation. In the first stretch, between the sources (under Floresta) and Randazzo, the river, characterized by a high slope, sliding on sedimentary rocks, the vegetation is due to a reforestation carried out in the 50s' with chestnut (Castanea sativa), alder (Alnus glutinosa) and black pine (Pinus nigra) and to a lesser extent beech (Fagus silvatica). Occasionally we find elms (Ulmus minor) and wild pear (Pyrus Pyraster).
After Randazzo and till the esstuary in the Ionian Sea, the river Alcantara takes, in general, a more level ground although there are small waterfalls or steeper areas. From Randazzo to Mojo Alcantara the river bed becomes wider, taking in some areas the appearance of the torrent with large pebbled shores. The vegetation is sparse, it is made up mostly of willow herbs and shrubs among whom are the Perpetuini of Italy (Helichrysum italicum), the trefoil (Lotus commutatus) and rigid spurge (Euphorbia rigid). On soils higher than the river bed grow the Oleander (Nerium oleander), the Tamarisk (Tamarix sp.), The common Broom (Spartium junceum) and the thorny broom (Calicotome haunts). Where the river bed is wide enough, there are forests made by Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis), the white willow (Salix alba), elm minor (Ulmus minor), from Ash (Fraxinus oxycarpa) and the rare black alder (Alnus glutinosa), which makes this area unique.

sicily back sicily home sicily top sicily  next