Hello there, I hope you have had much better Thursday than I. I have spend all day in the bed, woke up with fever and no voice. I have been resting all day and though to skip the TBT post today as my head is killing me, but it starting to be little boring to just sleep and drink hot ginger tea so here we go. This will be second last TBT post from our road trip in Sicily – next week I will put together a map and summary from the whole trip. But now, to the last, but definitely not the least amazing stop we had during our trip. After Taormina we drove to Francavilla di Sicilia which is a small town close to the northern slopes of mount Etna. We spend the night in a small hotel and early Monday morning drove to the the Gole dell`Alcantara parco botanico e geologico.
Lost in a volcanic canyon – that is how it felt in Gole dell`Alcantara. The canyon is created by lavaand the water there is so amazingly clear and clean, yet super cold. Yeas, even in the summer the water is very cold, but it has said to be many health benefits with shoes it was ok to walk around. There are two different entrances to the park – one is the “official” one with the entrance fee of 6-13€ (adults) depending of the season and then there is another “locals” entrance with entrance fee of 2€. The guide in our Etna trip told to us about these two difference entrances and the entrance you want to use totally depends on how much you want to see. If you join to the park from the official entrance you will get to visit a lot; example a museum and the park as well as experience the canyon not only by walking around it but also from the above. But if you use the “locals” entrance like we did, you go straight down to the canyon and cannot enter other parts of the park. For me it was ok to spend the time walking around the canyon but definitely felt little sad we did not have more time so we could have visit the other parts also.
As you can see the water comes from the above also and even though the water was extremely cold many did do a “showers” under the waterfalls. The river is actually very long and some parts are much more deep than the are when you enter to the canyon. The bottom of the river is full of small rocks and I definitely recommend shoes when walking in the water. You should also be careful because some parts of the river has quit strong flow. So if you would like to experience the river more and visit example the downstream you can do it in a guided body rafting group.
The incredibly beautiful lava walls were created several thousand year ago as the river bed was blocked by a lava flow from mount Etna and the lava was cooled much more quickly by the water than it would have done otherwise. So the lava crystallized in to the form of columns and when the river naturally eroded a channel through there column it resulted in to these impressive gorges like Gole dell`Alcantara.
In the entrance area (picture below) there was quit many locals sunbathing and even though now a days it is highly touristic destinations locals still enjoy the are also because of the health benefits. The contact with cold water and, immediately afterwards, the exposure to the sun, on the lavic basalt’s heated by the sun, result in a sort of gymnastics at the organic level of the circulatory system: veins and capillaries are strengthened. The legs plunged to the calf cause better circulation, resulting in a better blood supply to the organs, the epidermis, the nerve centers, and the stimulating and the strengthening of the immune system. And I have to admit that after three days of walking from morning to evening it was incredibly relaxing to walk in the cold water and then enjoy the sun.
I have to say this has been of the most incredible places I have visited in Sicily, maybe in whole Italy. It is like a small secret paradise after all the cities we visited during the trip. And if you are visiting Taormina you can easily make day trip to the park as it is only about 30 minutes drive away form the city. But now more resting for me, have a lovely evening!