Itinerary to discover the Malabotta’s Wood, one of the natural wonders of Etna
The Projected Nature Reserve of the Malabotta’s Wood was founded on the 25th July 1997 and became a Regional nature reserve managed by “Aziende Foreste Demaniali”.
In this protected area, large numbers of beeches, turkey oaks, oaks, ashes, maples, chestnuts, hollies and black poplars grow wild. The wild-life is the Sicilian typical one with mammalians such as wild cats, foxes, porcupines, dormice, wild boars and quercinos. The area bird life is varied and rich with diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey such as knots, sparrows, kestrels, imperial crows, barn owls, little owls and golden eagles too. In the nearby Licopeti stream you might ﬁnd trouts.
To reach the nature reserve area you have to take the motorway A19 to Giardini Naxos and then take the SS 185, a road called “tirrenica” which goes past the small villages of Francavilla di Sicilia, Mojo Alcantara and Roccella Valdemone. From here, after 20 km you reach the village of Montalbano Elicona, where evidences of prehistoric age human settlements have been found.
In the same area huge megalithic stones can be seen, they are similar to the “ Menhir “, the famous stones around which the Celts used to celebrate their religious rites. From here go on till you reach a parking area which is the point of departure for the reserve trip. From here we go along a path through a thick wood of beeches, oaks and chestnuts up to the” Casermetta di Malabotta” a place with tourist facilities. Going on through beeches and hollies we climb up to the summit of our path from where panoramic and scenic views on Etna, Alcantara Valley and the peaks of the Peloritani are opened out.
After some hours walking we get to the “Patriarchi” area, a place of extraordinary beauty where thin oaks joints in peculiar and weird shapes. From here we start the descent along the ridge and go back the facility area of Monte Cerreto and then to the parking area.