Savochello equipped area
The equipped area of Savochello-Monte Cammarata is located in a beautiful pine forest with a recreational area for children, which can accommodate up to 300 visitors. To reach it you have to follow the road that from Santo Stefano di Quisquina leads to Cammarata. Once you reach the forest state property called Ledera, indicated by specific signs, you have to take the only road that leads to the top of the mountain. The area is also equipped with toilets, cooking points, cycle paths and nature trails.
A territory to be discovered
Cammarata, San Giovanni Gemini and Santo Stefano Quisquina (province of Agrigento), largely occupied by limestone reliefs of the Mesozoic era such as Serra Quisquina (1059 m), Serra della Moneta (1188 m), Pizzo della Rondine (1246 m), Monte Gemini (1397 m) and Monte Cammarata (1578 m), the second highest of the Sicani Mountains after Rocca Busambra.
The territory and the history of the Sicani mountains
Of tectonic origin that arise from the movements of the terrestrial plates during the "Secondary" or "Mesozoic" Era, which begins 245,000,000 and ends 68,000,000 years ago. During a journey of 167,000,000 continents were outlined and assumed configurations similar to the current ones.
In the warm and humid climate typical of the early Mesozoic, reptiles spread, both terrestrial and aquatic and volatile, both omnivorous and carnivorous and herbivorous, which inhabited the primordial forests.
The climatic upheavals transformed the forests into coal deposits, giving rise to the evolution of new, more variegated and luxuriant species. Conifers appeared first, followed by all the other plants and only towards the end of the Era did the vegetation take on its current appearance.
The great reptiles disappeared, and birds and mammals appeared, more suited to the new climate. Among the invertebrates, the ammonites, now considered to be the guide fossils of the Secondary Era, spread. Our Mountains, submerged lands in the Mediterranean, emerge in the Mesozoic period, with the withdrawal of the waters due to high temperatures. Various "lithological types" have been found on Monte Cammarata: clay and limestone, limestone and grenadine, typical formations of the Mesozoic.
Some rocky layers have formations of greenish and blackish clay, with veins of calcite, other layers have formations of limestone and grenadine with calcarenite flows, which are the most widespread formations and constitute the backbone. Several fossil components: halobie, daonelle (molluscs belonging to the order of lamellibranchs, headless and consisting of a visceral sac enclosed in the shell, ancestors of today's limpets) and poseidonia (algae) found on Monte Cammarata, and in various points of Monti Sicani and Madonie specifically Cammarata, San Giovanni Gemini and Santo Stefano Quisquina (province of Agrigento), largely occupied by limestone reliefs of the Mesozoic era such as Serra Quisquina (1059 m), Serra della Moneta (1188 m), Pizzo della Rondine (1246 m), Monte Gemini (1397 m) and Monte Cammarata (1578 m), the second highest of the Sicani Mountains after Rocca Busambra.
Mount Cammarata, almost 1600 meters high, represents an important ring of the Sicani mountain system. From its top the panorama embraces Sicily at 360 degrees, while the two equipped areas - inside the verdant woods - are the ideal place to rest after a walk.
The relief, essentially composed of calcareous rocks, whose color of the marbles varies from ashy cream white to bluish ivory gray, is home to over 150 herbaceous species of which several represent rare endemisms. The entire rocky chain, shaped over time by slow and constant erosions, giving shape to peaks, gorges and overhanging walls, offers spectacles of very rare charm.
The mount had been inserted into the Mount Cammarata oriented nature reserve a regional nature reserve of the Sicily, established in 2000 which was abolished in 2012 e incorporated in park of the Sicani Mountains.
Ancient paths and paths
There is still an ancient path that leads from Santa Lucia to end in Contrada Caddeddi, the first refuge, interrupted only by the road, and then continues to the top of Monte Cammarata; An ancient mule track, starts from the second refuge passing through Contrada Ledera going up to the “nivera del baglio”, which was used in the 50s and 60s to transport ice for slushes in all the towns of the province; A trazzera starts from Stretto di Vacca, from the height of the current provincial swimming pool, enters the Sant'Onofrio wood, seat of the church named after him, in front of the invisible and homonymous cave and you arrive at the wonderful reserve of Baron Coffari, where are the remains of the Branciforti villa, described in detail by the historian Caruso XVII - XVIII century; here, hidden by the dense vegetation, large perimeter walls and abundant fragments of pottery can be seen, scattered in the surrounding background. The fountains described by Caruso were fed by the springs of San Michele. The trazzera crosses a wood
formed mainly by downy oaks, oaks and holm oaks, and is rich in poultry and terrestrial fauna. A nature trail starts from the Romeo junction, shortly after the second refuge, descends to Portella della Venere, where the remains of a Byzantine church of the same name are still visible V-VII dc, and goes up towards Monte Venere alias Monte Gemini, crossing it throughout the its length, to get to Portella dei Daini in the Gargiuffè district, from which you can admire, on clear days, the sea of Termini Imerese and part of the Trapani coast; looking towards Palermo the gaze meets the bulk of Rocca Busanbra better known as Bosco Ficuzza. Another route starts from Serra Canale, crosses the north-west side of the mountain, reaches the “zotta da vecchia”, a natural lake hidden by thick vegetation, which conveys the spring waters of the Cacagliommaro stream. Higher up, another similar route starts from the first refuge, exiting the Savochello equipped area, to reach the hairpin bends in the Prussiano district, and admire the mythical "moonlight" fountain, whose name certainly dates back to an ancient pagan cult. It is said that the moon at certain times of the year, when it has reached a certain height, is perfectly reflected in the fountain and in history these episodes recurred in particular phases of astronomical alignments, creating mysterious triangulations, with settlements located nearby.
The nature reserve (Flora and fauna)
On the slopes of Mount Cammarata there is what remains of an ancient oak grove with specimens of holm oak (Quercus ilex) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens), mixed with carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and other reforestation species such as cedars (Cedrus sp.), Cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), pines (Pinus sp.) And maples (Acer sp.). On the upper parts dominate the euphorbia (Euphorbia rigida) and the southern rowan (Sorbus graeca). There are also numerous endemic species such as the Sicilian dandelion (Leontodon siculus), the sesleria dei macereti (Sesleria nitida), the Sicilian senecio (Senecio siculus), the yellow bivonea (Bivonaea lutea) and the Madonie chamomile (Anthemis cupaniana) .
The Gemini and Serra della Moneta mountains host reforestation with cedars (Cedrus sp.), Maples (Acer campestre and Acer pseudoplatanus) and Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis), while on Pizzo Rondine there are strips of holm oak (Quercus ilex).
The reserve is home to numerous mammals including the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the hare (Lepus europaeus), the weasel (Mustela nivalis), the porcupine (Hystrix cristata), the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and the oak mouse (Eliomys quercinus).
The avifauna is very rich, represented by both sedentary and migratory species, among which we can mention the ruler (Regulus regulus), the woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the blackbird (Turdus merula), the treecreeper (Certhia) brachydactyla), the wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), the great tit (Parus major), the robin (Erithacus rubecola) and the little wren (Phylloscopus collybita). There are also numerous species of birds of prey both diurnal, such as the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the buzzard (Buteo buteo), and nocturnal, such as the owl (Otus scops), the owl (Athene noctua), the owl (Strix aluco) and the barn owl (Tyto alba). Finally, the presence of the great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major) and the Sicilian rock partridge (Alectoris graeca whitakeri), two species at risk of extinction, should be noted.
There are numerous sites scattered throughout the Sangiovannese and Cammaratese territory, at the foot of the
Monti Gemelli, Gemini Montes according to the quote from Pliny the Elder, who
testify to the passage of ancient peoples, from the Sicans to the Greeks to the Romans etc.
let's try to identify some of them:
WIRES AREA: Roman necropolis
HIGH MOUNTAIN: very few remains of the Byzantine churches of Sant'Elia and Santa Venera
CONTRADA PRUSSIANO: scattered remains of pottery dating back to various eras
CONTRADA MANCUSO: tombs in the rocks
CONTRADA GIARDINELLO: tombs in the rocks and traces of rural settlements
CONTRADA MELACO: tombs in the rocks
CONTRADA ROCCA BRUARO: caves of San Matteo
CONTRADA PUZZILLO: in addition to the caves of Acqua Fitusa, traces of
Paleolithic settlements, while on the Montagnola they were found remains of a citadel.
VALLEY OF TUMARRANO: settlements in Casalicchio from prehistoric and Roman times.
CONTRADA BUFFA: tombs and remains of Roman fountains
CONTRADA MONTAGNOLA DI PASQUALE: remains of ancient church dwellings Roman Byzantine
CONTRADA CASABEDDA: rural settlement of the Roman Hellenistic period
CONTRACT THE FITUSA: remains of ancient farmhouses and necropolis in the rocks
CONTRADA MONTONI PERCIATA: Paleolithic tombs in the rocks
CONTRADA SPARACIA: paleolithic tombs
CONTRADA COZZO CORK: prehistoric and Roman tombs
CONTRADA SAN MICHELE: remains of settlements of probable Punic origin.
CONTRADA FOSSI: natural cavities in history used as tombs.
The caves of the acquafitusa
The source of '' Fitusa water '' is located eight km from the center of San Giovanni Gemini, to the right of the old route of the state road 189 Pa-Ag, in an area easily accessible both from the junction for Cammarata and from the nearby railway station Cammarata-San Giovanni Gemini, along the Agrigento line Palermo.
The springs emerge close to a rocky ridge that faces mainly to the east, in the San Crispino district, north of the more famous Puzzillo district.
The caves of '' Acqua Fitusa '' they are of particular interest for their geological formation, as well as for their historical importance. They fall on a territory once belonging to the Sac. Giuseppe Longo, who, towards the end of the 19th century, built a building probably intended for thermal treatments, now abandoned for some time.
The waters are found inside caves that date back to the Stone Age and where traces of human life have been found. The caves, particularly those of Contrada Puzzillo, have never been adequately explored, but many lithic finds and artifacts found allow us to affirm that they were inhabited in the period epipaleolitic. In the course of some exploration, shards of clay material, smooth and painted ceramics were also found. The cave consists of a small entrance hall a few meters deep with an opening in the end that leads into the cave itself.
After this opening, you find yourself inside a gigantic dome. The dimensions of the cave are impressive: at least 20 m high, it has a diameter of about 50 m.
The typical formations of these places are beautiful, stalactites and stalagmites that cover the vault and the ground of the cave that take on various colors (white, pink and black).
The waters of the springs, classifiable as mineral, hypothermal, sulphurous-salsobromo-iodine-alkaline, have particular therapeutic properties in the treatment of many skin diseases.
The Baglio cave
To get there you have to start from the second refuge, and go along the ancient one mule track used to transport blocks of ice, coming from the “nivera”, which supplied the villages of the province with ice. Along the climb the landscape is breathtaking, showing the deep valleys that surround "i Gemelli" from distant countries, to the peaks of Etna, the Madonie, the Trapani coasts through the buttresses of the Cozzo tre Monaci, Chirumbo, Gallinica mountain etc. The landscape is rich in smells, oregano, thyme, valerian, and full of traces of hares, foxes and wild boars that inhabit the areas. Going up this path you come across a large basin, a natural amphitheater that opens under a cliff, is what remains of the Nivera del Barone, of which Leonardo Sciascia speaks in one of his works; above are the remains of a rectangular building, of unknown first use, but in recent history used as a shelter by shepherds. Towards the southwest there are cracks in the rocky walls. Crossing a small canyon you arrive at the “Grotta del baglio”, whose entrance is inaccessible because it is blocked by a large boulder, which hides another tunnel facing east. Both legend and history speak of the Grotta del Baglio: the Tirrito, the Caruso, the
Cascini and the Fazzello. It is said that on Mount Cammarata, a few hundred meters from the top, there is a cave that is wedged into the mountain, and passing under the town, it reaches the base of the Tribico or Tribisco or Puzzillo hill, exiting at the Fitusa Water, probably connecting to the other caves of this site, where traces of Paleolithic settlements have been found, and the remains of a citadel near the hill. But to date there are no official explorations. From the information gathered it is known that the cave has an entrance inclined downwards, and through a tunnel it reaches a square-shaped chamber, in whose walls the sign of the ancient Christians is engraved.
The recommended trails
The Forestry State Company in numerous points of the Reserve it has created refreshment areas with tables, a structure with a grill for cooking meat and other foods, water fountains and bathrooms. There are also several sentireri for those who want to make excursions through which you can admire splendid views and hundreds of endemic herbaceous species and with a little luck you can also meet protected fauna species.
The Reserve also includes the Fondo Salaci, formerly the Coffari estate, an area of 15 hectares, an example of Mediterranean scrub of enormous interest. In it, dense woods and herbaceous presences alternate of great botanical interest. The Reserve has an equipped area equipped with toilets, cooking points, nature trails, cycle paths and a space furnished with games for children. Within this protected area, some trails have been set up that allow you to get to know the wonderful natural environment.
Here are some of them.
- Pizzo della Rondine itinerary
This route is perfect for enjoying the nature and landscapes of the Reserve, from these places you can admire wonderful views of central Sicily and the Sicani Mountains. Crossing lush oak woods with a flourishing undergrowth you reach the Pizzo della Rondine peak at an altitude of 1246 meters above sea level from where you can admire an extraordinary panorama. Itinerary characteristics: starting point SP 24 at km 9 after “Casa Prussiano”; length of the path 6 km; travel time 3 hours; medium difficulty.
- Monte Cammarata path
The path runs along the steep slopes of the mountain, among the thick woods and extensive meadows, until it reaches the top of the mountain where particular species of a certain botanical importance can be found. Along the way you can stop to observe the best preserved niviera of the reserve, built halfway up the coast using a natural cavity with a dry stone wall. From the top you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama. Itinerary characteristics: starting point SP 24 after the “Belvedere”; route length 6.3 km; travel time 5 hours; medium-high difficulty.
- Route of the marked
Along this path it is possible to pause to get to know the ancient marked, the typical stone shelters for sheep breeding. The marcatu generally consists of: a shelter for the shepherd, called strawru, enclosures for animals, a milking station, called vadile, a shelter for orphaned lambs, called zirmuni, and a suitable location for the production of cheese and ricotta. Itinerary characteristics: starting point SP 24 at km 22; route length 7.8 km; travel time 3 hours and 30 minutes; low difficulty.
Not just nature, find out what to do a
San Giovanni Gemini and Cammarata
There are various activities that can be carried out in our municipalities, dozens of restaurants that deal with the products of the Sicani mountains, guaranteeing very high quality at an excellent price, moreover, many places where you can stay among hotels, farmhouses, B&B and holiday homes.
Huge choice of Shops, night clubs available in the heart of the city, as well as the beauty of the territory itself with its majestic Mount Cammarata which dominates sovereign.
Sections of Magna via Francigena
For fans of the "Magna Via Francigena" it is an opportunity not to be missed by discovering the area on foot, discover the dedicated page ...