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Home » Live the Park » Itineraries

Alcantara's Gurne

Great Interest: Flora Great Interest: Wildlife GPS Track Degree (oppure Level???) 
  • Departure: Francavilla di Sicilia
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Length: 1.5 km

Along the trail "Le Gurne dell'Alcantara" (small lakes which formed in the riverbed of Alcantara) you will have the opportunity to carry out walks surrounded by nature, history, and traditions, and discover the most beautiful places of the Park: the ruins of Francavilla castle, the archaeological excavations, the saje and the gurne.
Nine observation points along the trail for about 1,500m, to admire the vegetation, but also the nearby towns of Castiglione di Sicilia and Motta Camastra.

Le Gurne Trail, with Castiglione di Sicilia in the background
Le Gurne Trail, with Castiglione di Sicilia in the background


The path was realized by the Alcantara River Park Authority and it starts in the heart of the built-up area of Francavilla di Sicilia.
The trail is accessible for both children and people with disabilities, and it is very rich in landscapes. Along the trail, which is every year visited by many schools, it is possible to find boards reporting many historical and cultural evidences: the archaeological excavations of a Greek settlement dating back to the 5th century B. C., the ruins of the Villafranca Castle which was built by the Normans, the so called "Saje", small pipes composing a very innovative irrigation system introduced by the Arab people.

After crossing the cultivated areas one arrives underneath the huge foliage of a proud downy oak whose shadow made many lichens grow on the rock. Not very far a fork of the path leads to a footbridge, situated near the raw water collecting system of Enel, crossing the Alcantara river. From here one can enjoy the wonderful landscape of the Gurne: small lakes along the river formed by the water erosion on the volcanic rocks are surrounded by a luxuriant vegetation including poplars, downy oaks, willows and oleanders. In the river stretch beneath the footbridge there are many frogs and toads, while grass snakes warm themselves on the hot volcanic rocks. It is also likely to see some grey herons flying.

Near the end of the trail you can see the Ciappa Mill where in the latest 17th century a first attempt to produce hydroelectric energy was made: Francavilla and Castiglione were among the first built-up areas in Italy supplied with electric power. From this point on the way splits, and one has the opportunity to reach the state street or to climb up along the slope of the mountain -  where the castle of Francavilla is situated - and to go back to the village. Along the hill leading to the castle it is possible to observe the many orchids blooming along the slope in spring, then one reaches a panoramic viewpoint from which it is possible to observe the confluence between the rivers Zavianni and Alcantara, the built-up area of Francavilla and the Capuchins' monastery from the 14th century as well.

 

View from the Trail Gurne dell\'Alcantara
View from the Trail Gurne dell'Alcantara
 
Ramification Gurna Scifazzi - Trail Le Gurne dell\'Alcantara
Ramification Gurna Scifazzi - Trail Le Gurne dell'Alcantara
 
Rests of the hydroelectric power plant (1896) along the Trail Le Gurne dell\'Alcantara
Rests of the hydroelectric power plant (1896) along the Trail Le Gurne dell'Alcantara