Walking in Sicily

£10.00

Landscapes of SICILY: walks and car tours

by Peter Amann

No holiday would be complete without one of these guides. In fact it has got to the point of seeing what destinations are covered and planning our next trip accordingly. Very much more than just a walk book. Sicily is a stunner scenically. (AL, Amazon)

Good old Sunflowers, those thin blue books that walkers on the Continent trust like seasoned friends from Sicily to the Azores — they never fail to find you a really good walk. (Christopher Somerville, Weekend Telegraph)

I purchased this guide having previously used the excellent Sunflower series on walking holidays in Corsica, Picos de Europa and the Azores. The format is excellent: a pocket size book with small maps embedded in each walk’s description, and a larger pull-out map at the back showing the location of the walk. Highly recommended. (RS, Amazon)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

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Description

SicilySicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean and long a Mecca for culture freaks, also rewards the countryside lover with its magnificent landscapes. Peter Amann knows the island intimately; he leads walking groups on Sicily and works for the preservation of its monuments. There is enough material in this book for several holidays. For those touring Sicily by car, the eight car tours (mostly circular and covering 2000 km) follow little-used secondary roads wherever possible. If you’re walking in Sicily, the routes are as varied in length and grade as the landscape itself — a distillation of the best on the island.

The best months for walking in Sicily are March to June and September to November.

Area covered: the entire island except for the far southwest corner.

Where to stay

The book assumes that most users will be touring Sicily by car. The author suggests hotels or hostels (at least one for every walk, with telephone numbers. However, if you do not want to explore the entire island, you can access several walks from the spectacular resort of Taormina: one is adjacent to the town, two others are within 10km, and there are eight in the Etna area (some 15 to 20km away).

Edition/contents etc

8 car tours, 55 long and short walks, 27 picnic suggestions
136 pages + 2 touring maps (covering all but the far southwestern corner of the island),  1:50,000 topo maps
5th ed, March 2016; ISBN 978-1-85691-487-1; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $18.00

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Recommended books; Acknowledgements 7
Getting about 8
Picnic suggestions 9

TOURING
AROUND MOUNT ETNA (TOUR 1) 16
Catania (centre) · Nicolosi · Rifugio Sapienza · Piano Provenzana · Bronte · Adrano · Catania (ring road)

TAORMINA, THE PELORITANI MOUNTAINS AND THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS (TOUR 2) 19
Taormina · (Forza d’Agrò · Alì) · Messina · Milazzo · (Lipari · Vulcano) · Milazzo · Novara di Sicilia · Castiglione di Sicilia · Linguaglossa · Fiumefreddo · Taormina

THE NEBRODI MOUNTAINS (TOUR 3) 22
San Fratello · Portella Femmina Morta · Cesarò · Castello Maniace · Randazzo · Floresta · Galati Mamertino · Alcara li Fusi · Sant’Agata di Militello

CEFALÙ AND THE MADONIE MOUNTAINS (TOUR 4) 25
Cefalù · Gibilmanna · Castelbuono · Geraci Siculo · Gangi · Petralia Soprana · Petralia Sottana · Polizzi Generosa · Piano Battaglia · Isnello · Cefalù

PALERMO AND THE WEST (TOUR 5) 28
Palermo · Monreale · Segesta · Scopello · Erice · Trapani · Marsala · Selinunte · S. Giuseppe Iato · Palermo

BETWEEN PALERMO AND AGRIGENTO (TOUR 6) 32
Palermo · Piana degli Albanesi · Ficuzza · Corleone · Prizzi · Palazzo Adriano · Caltabelotta · Sciacca · Eraclea Minoa · Agrigento · Sant’Angelo Muxaro · Cammarata · Caccamo · Solunto · Palermo

INLAND SICILY (TOUR 7) 37
Agrigento · Caltanissetta · Enna · Aidone · Morgantina · Piazza Armerina · Villa del Casale · S. Michele di Ganzaria · Caltagirone · Ragusa

THE IBLEI MOUNTAINS AND THE SOUTHEAST (TOUR 8) 39
Syracuse · Penisola della Maddalena · Noto · Portopalo di Capo Passero · Ispica · Modica · Scicli · Donnafugata · Ragusa · Vizzini · Palazzolo Acreide · Pantalica · Syracuse
WALKING
Waymarking, maps and grading 45
Weather 46
Safety and equipment 46
Snakes, dogs and ticks 47
A country code 47
Where to stay 48
Organisation of the walks 48
Glossary 49
Useful addresses 50

THE WALKS

AROUND MOUNT ETNA
1 Monti Rossi 51
2 The summit craters and the Valle del Bove 52
3 Pietracannone and the Valle del Bove 54
4 Monti Sartorius 56
5 Pizzi Deneri and the summit craters 57
6 Grotta del Gelo 61
7 Monte Spagnolo and the Cisternazza 64
8 Monte Ruvolo, Monti Tre Frati and Monte Minardo 66

TAORMINA, THE PELORITANI MOUNTAINS AND THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS
9 Monte Venere 69
10 Forza d’Agrò 71
11 Monte Scuderi 73
12 The Gran Cratere on Vulcano 75
13 Western Lipari 76
14 Rocca Novara 78

THE NEBRODI MOUNTAINS
15 Monte Soro and the Lago Biviere 79
16 Cascata del Catafurco 82
17 Bosco di Mangalaviti and the Lago Biviere 84
18 Rocche del Crasto 87

CEFALÙ AND THE MADONIE MOUNTAINS
19 The castle rock of Cefalù 89
20 Giant hollies on the Piano Pomo 91
21 Vallone Madonna degli Angeli 94
22 Pizzo Carbonara 96
23 Gangivecchio and Monte Zimmara 98

PALERMO AND THE WEST
24 Monte Pellegrino, Palermo’s holy mountain 100
25 The Castellaccio on Pizzo del Corvo 102
26 The temple of Segesta 103
27 The Zingaro Nature Reserve 105
28 Stone Age paintings on Levanzo 108
29 Monte Iato 110

BETWEEN PALERMO AND AGRIGENTO
30 Valle del Fanuso and Cozzo Tondo 112
31 Rocca Busambra and the Bosco della Ficuzza 114
32 Palazzo Adriano and the Valle del Fiume Sosio 116
33 Eraclea Minoa and Capo Binaco 118
34 Sant’Angelo Muxaro and Monte Castello 120
35 Caccamo and Monte S. Calogero 122

THE IBLEI MOUNTAINS AND THE SOUTHEAST
36 Papyrus along the Ciane 124
37 Noto Antica 125
38 The Vendicari nature reserve 127
39 Scicli and the Colle di San Matteo 129
40 Ragusa Ibla and the Cava della Misericordia 130
41 Pantalica 132

Index 135
Fold-out touring map inside back cover

Guidebook index

Acqua della Rocca (spring) 9
Adrano 16, 18
Aeolian Islands 19, 20
Agrigento 32, 34, 36, 37
Concordia Temple 34, 36
Hera Temple 10, 34

Aidone 37, 38
Albergo Le Betulle 61
Alcamo 29
Alcantara (gorge and valley 10, 21, 23
Alcara li Fusi 22, 24, 86
Alessandria della Rocca 35
Alì 19, 20
Alì Terme 20
Altofonte 32
Anaktoron 14, 44, 132, 133, 134
Anapo (river and valley) 132, 133, 134
Antica Iato 110-111, 111
Aragona 34
Avola 40
Avola Antica 40

Bagheria 36
Bivio (road junction)
Fondacheli 21
Gigliotti 38
Ramata 38

Bivona 35
Boccadifalco 28
Bonagia, Tonnara di 30
Bosco (wood)
Cerrita 18
della Ficuzza 112-113, 114
di Centorbi 68
di Mangalaviti 84-85

Bronte 16, 18, 66
Buccheri 43

Caccamo 32, 36, 122
Cala Dogana (Levanzo) 108, 109
Calamosche 127, 128
Caltabelotta 13, 32, 33
Caltagirone 37, 38
Caltanissetta 37
Cammarata 32, 35
Campobello di Mazara 30
Capo Bianco 13, 33, 118-119, 119
Capo Murro di Porco 40
Capo S. Alessio 19
Casalvecchio Siculo 20
Cascata del Catafurco 82, 83
Casermetta (forestry house) 62-63, 65, 66, 68
Castelbuono 25, 26, 97
Casteldaccia 36
Castelmola 69, 70
Castellamare del Golfo 29
Castellana Sicula 27
Castello degli Schiavi 21
Castello Eurialo 44
Castelvetrano 31
Castiglione di Sicilia 19, 21
Castroreale Terme 20
Catania 16, 18
Cava della Misericordia 130, 131
Cava Grande del Cassibile 40
Cave di Cusa 10, 12, 30
Cefalù 11, 25, 27, 88, 89, 90, 90
Rocca di 88, 89, 90, 90
Tempio di Diana 11, 89, 90

Cervi Mountains 94-5
Cesarò 11, 22
Christo Signor della Montagna 11
Chiaramonte Gulfi 43
Ciane (river) 12-13, 14, 124
Colle di S. Matteo 129, 129
Conca d’Oro 49
Corleone 32, 33
Cozzo Tondo 112-113
Crateri Silvestri 16
Cuba di S. Domenica 10

Donnafugata 39, 42

Egadi Islands 30
Eloro 127
Enna 13, 37
Enna Bassa 37
Eraclea Minoa 13, 32, 33, 118-119
Eremo della Quisquina (chapel) 35
Erice 28, 30

Faraglioni Islands 109
Ferla 44
Ficuzza 13, 32, 33, 112-113
Fiumefreddo di Sicilia 19, 21
Floresta 22, 24
Fontane Bianche 40
Fornazzo 17
Forza d’Agrò 2, 19, 71, 72

Galati Mamertino 22, 24, 83
Gangi 25, 26
Gangivecchio 98, 99
Geraci Siculo 25, 26 97
Giardini-Naxos 21
Giarratana 43
Gibellina Nuova 31
Ruderi (ruins) di 31
Gravina 16
Grotta del Gelo 61, 62-63
Grotta di Mangiapane 30

Iblei Mountains 40
Isnello 25, 27
Ispica 39, 42
Cava d’Ispica 14, 42

Lago Biviere 79, 80-81, 84-85
Larderia Necropoli 14
Levanzo (island) 108, 109, 109
Linguaglossa 19, 21
Lipari (island) 19, 21, 76, 77

Madonie Mountains 25, 96-7
Maniace 22
Castello Nelson 11, 22, 23
Marausa 30
Marina di Cottone 10, 21
Marinella di Selinunte 31
Marsala 28, 30
Marzamemi 41
Mascalucia 16
Messina 19, 20
Strait of 72
Milazzo 19, 20
Militello Rosmarino 24
Milo 17
Misterbianco 18
Modica 39, 42, 43
Monreale 12, 28, 29, 31, 102
Monte (mountain)
Alveria 40
Cammarata 35
Castello 120, 121, 121
Citadella 14
Erice 15
Etna 1, 16, 17, 19, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58-59, 60, 61, 62-63, 64, 65, 70
Bocca Nuova 52, 53, 58-59, 60
Cisternazza (cistern) 62-3, 64, 65
Iato 110-11, 111
Lepre 66-7
Minardo 66, 68
Pellegrino 49, 100, 101
Pispisa 104
Pomiciaro 17
Ruvolo 66-7, 68
S. Calogero 122, 123
S. Salvatore 92-93, 94
Scuderi 72, 73, 74
Soro 79, 80-81
Spagnolo 62-63, 64, 65
Tre Frati 66, 68
Venere 69, 70
Zimmara 99

Monteallegro 33
Monterosso Almo 43
Monti (pl. of Monte)
Rossi 9, 16, 51, 51
Sartorius 56, 58-59
Silvestri Superiore 53

Morgantina 11, 14, 37, 38
Scavi di 14, 38
Mozia (island) 12, 13
Imbarcadero di Mozia 15, 30

Naxos, Bay of 70
Nebrodi Mountains 22
Necropoli di Filiporto 133, 134
Nicolosi 9, 16, 51
Noto 39, 40
Noto Antica 14, 39, 40, 125, 126
Novara di Sicilia 19, 21

Oliveri 20

Pachino 41
Palazzo Adriano 32, 33, 116, 117
Palazzolo Acreide 39, 43
Palermo 12, 28, 31, 32, 36, 49, 99, 100
Pantalica 14, 39, 44, 132, 134
Parco (park)
dei Nebrodi 22
dello Zingaro 12, 29, 105, 106, 107
Forza 14, 41
Regionale delle Madonie 25, 96-97

Partinico 29
Paternò 18
Peloritani Mountains 19, 20
Penisola della Maddalena 39
Pergusa 37
Petralia Soprana 11, 25, 26
Petralia Sottana 25, 27
Pian del Vescovo 9, 16
Piana degli Albanesi 32
Piano Battaglia 25, 27, 92-93, 96-7
Piano Provenzana 16, 18, 61
Piano Pomo 91, 92-93, 93
Piano Sempria 26, 91, 92-93
Pianoconte (Lipari) 76, 77
Piazza Armerina 37, 38
Piedimonte Etneo 21
Pietracannone 9, 17, 54, 55, 58-59
Pioppo 29
Pizzi (pl. of Pizzo)
Deneri 57, 58-59
Pizzo (peak)
Carbonara 92-93, 96
del Corvo 11, 12, 28, 102, 102, 105

Polizzi Generosa 25, 27
Portella (pass)
Femmina Morta 10, 22, 79, 80-81
Gazzana 24, 84-85, 87, 88
Mandrazzi 21
Scafi 84-85
Spiria 73, 74

Porticello 36
Porto di Levante (Vulcano) 75
Porto Empedocle 33
Portopalo di Capo Passero 39, 41
Prizzi 32, 33

Quattropani 21, 76, 77

Ragusa 37, 38, 39, 42, 130-1, 131
Ragusa Ibla 14, 43, 130-1, 131
Giardino Ibleo 11, 14
Randazzo 22, 23
Rifugio (inn, refuge, hut)
Alpe Cucco 33, 112-113, 114, 115
Citelli 18, 56, 57, 58-59, 60
Saletti 62-63, 64, 65
Sapienza 16, 52, 58-59

Rocca (rock)
Busambra 112-113, 114, 115
di Cerere 13
Novara 10, 20, 21, 78

Roccapalumba 35
Rocche del Crasto 84-85, 86, 87
S. Agata di Militello 22, 24
S. Alfio 17
S. Angelo Muxaro 32, 35, 120, 121, 121
S. Basilio 82
S. Biagio Platani 35
S. Cipirello 31, 110, 111
S. Fratello 22
S. Giuseppe Iato 28, 31, 111
S. Martino delle Scale 11, 12
S. Michele di Ganzaria 37, 38
S. Stefano Quisquina 35
S. Vito lo Capo 29
Sacova 20
Santuario Maria SS di Gibilmanna 11, 25
Sciacca 32, 33
Scicli 39, 42, 129, 129
Scopello 8, 28, 29, 105
Segesta 28, 29, 102, 103, 104
Selinunte 28, 31, cover
Siculiana 33, 34
Siracusa 39, 44, 124
Scifì 20
Solazzo 10, 79, 80-81
Solunto 32, 36
Sortino 44
Sosio (river and valley) 116, 117
Strada Mareneve (road) 17,
Syracuse: see Siracusa

Taormina 19, 21, 69, 70
Terme Segestane 29
Termini Imerese 36
Tonnara di Scopello 8
Torre (tower)
del Filosofo 52, 58-59
Salsa 118-119

Tortorici 24
Trabia 36
Trapani 15, 28, 30
Tyndaris 20

Valderice 30
Valle (valley)
del Bove 52, 53, 54, 58-59
del Fanuso 112-113, 113

Vallone (small valley)
del Vescovo 9, 16
Madonna degli Angeli 92-93, 94-5

Vendicari Nature Reserve 41, 127, 128
Villa del Casale (Villa Romana) 37, 38
Vizzini 39, 43, 44
Vulcano (island) 19, 74, 74

Zafferana Etnea 17

Current update

Sicily, 5th edition (January 2016) ; updated 27/04/16

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) on Sicily given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have the third or an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

General: We’ve just been using Sicily 5th edition. One common grump we’ve had is that it can be difficult to locate a walk.  It’s fine if you can arrive ‘from town X as the book says, following the signposts to Joe’s restaurant but turning off just after the green gate’.  If you’re arriving from a different direction then actually locating the book’s map with any accuracy can take lots of time.  I tried to set up my satnav before leaving the hotel but it was very time-consuming.
A solution is to publish GPS or satnav coordinates. These could be added to the update sheets or put on the web as a separate page.

As a starter I’d supply (degrees north then degrees east)

Walk 4      37.77074       15.06066
Walk 9      37.86090       15.27688
Walk 15    37.92478       14.66578
Walk 20    37.90247      14.06870
Walk 21    37.84795      14.01244
Walk 22    37.87937      14.02855

Walk 41 had 2 distinct entrances.  The west was at   37.13694 15.02404 and the east was at  37.14421 15.03827

Some of these were stored on the spot in our satnav when we reached the car parks.  Others I’ve recreated by using Google maps when we got home.  (User, 4/16)

Sunflower responded that there are GPS tracks for most of the walks, to which this user replied:

What I want is a simple way of telling my car’s satnav where to find the start of the walk (or at least somewhere pretty close to it).  That’s why I’m suggesting a centralised list saying ‘Walk x starts from xx.xxx North and yy.yyy East’. Half the hotels we used didn’t have usable wi-fi, because they either needed an Italian mobile phone number or, better still, sent the login password by email which I couldn’t read until I had wi-fi access.
What I was not asking for was a set of waypoints to guide me round the walks.  Generally (but not always) the book’s text and map (and my sense of direction) was adequate.
I agree that the author’s website shows a map of each walk from which a file of waypoints for a handheld GPS device can be downloaded.  I don’t have a device which can use them but after downloading and decompressing a sample file I can see roughly what data is provided.  I could extract the first set of coordinates and assume it corresponds to the starting place.  Alternatively the coordinates can be taken from the author’s map’s web address but that may well not be centred on the starting point.
As an example I wanted to get to the start of walk 4 after driving round Etna clockwise, rather than anticlockwise as described in tour 1.  Essentially what I did was display the TomTom map and the book/website map side by side and then matched them visually.

Sunflower thinks this is all a good idea and we will try to post these coordinates in future editions of our books. (4/16)

Walk 14: We drove way over the mountains to do walk 14, Rocca Novara. Unfortunately it was really disappointing from two points:
1) It was difficult to locate the start of the walk, there is no km24.600 road marker on the SS185 ( we went up and down the road)
2) But then when we did start the path has been fenced off, the picnic area is neglected and not accessible. We climbed over a wire fence which has clearly been designed to keep people out and we managed to find the track but couldn’t stick with it as it was overgrown and had to give up the walk without reaching the foot of Rocca Novara. (User, 9/16)