Spectacular waterfalls to visit at least once in Sicily
Little-known waterfalls, often not so far from the most famous tourist destinations, embellish the island with their fascinating pristine beauty
There is a little-known Sicily just as fascinating as that of ancient Greek temples, baroque cathedrals, crystalline waters and cannoli: a natural Sicily with its waterfalls, small nature treasures set in wild landscapes away from the caged air of the city. From Mistretta to Corleone, passing by Sortino, dirt roads with breathtaking views lead to corners of paradise, where nature surprises with water games that flourish during sunny autumn days, when waterfalls regain the power of the rainy season. These sites, often are unknown to the locals, are not far from the most famous tourist destinations and are generally reachable with a pleasant hike surrounded by the Covid free embrace of the Mediterranean scrub and by the cathartic silence of the flowing water. Let’s take up boots and water bottle and follow the trazzere (“path” in Sicilian dialect) among the rural views of Sicily, an endlessly amazing island.
It is a small natural formation set in Galati Mamertino (Messina), within the Nebrodi Park, embellished by the yellow broom. As a result of the erosive action of the San Basilio stream, the waterfall makes a jump of 30 metres until its waters gather in a cavity known as “Giants’ pothole”, a sort of pool carved into the rock where, weather permitting, you can enjoy a restoring bath.
These wonderful falls are located in the Peloritani mountains flow into the territory of Gualtieri Sicaminò (Messina), due to the activity of the Gualtieri stream. Unfortunately, the main waterfall, with its over 10-metres jump, has undergone in recent times morphological changes due to both natural erosions and earthquakes.
The “Waterfalls valley”, surrounded by Nebrodi, is located in the ancient town Mistretta (Messina). The name is enough to evoke a dreamlike landscape with streams gushing from rocky gorges jumping from 6 to 33 metres. Argentea, the highest Pietrebianche, Salto del cerbiatto, Ciddia, Rosy Grace, Acquasanta, ponte Ciddia, Cuttufa, delle Fate falls are all distant from each other and not easily visible, so it is worth relying on local guides. The waterfalls, long known only to shepherds, delight adventurers who decide to enter into their unsoiled and impervious territory.
We are in Militello Val di Catania, where the Oxena river, passing through a volcanic canyon, gives life to the homonymous natural waterfall. The most adventurous visitors can admire the waterway from the rock sides with its rich vegetation in a place from the fairytales where passing cows and visitors live in perfect harmony.
Considered one of the 15 must-see Italian waterfalls, the Due Rocche falls, with its fairy-tale atmosphere and close to the historic center of Corleone (Palermo), is the revenge of the city sadly known for the Mafia chronicle. San Leonardo river, tributary of the river Belice, jumps for four meters forming the waterfall which owes its name to the structural features of the place.
It’s located in the small and historic town Bolognetta (Palermo), surrounded by a rocky vegetation far from the city life. As a result of the Milicia river activity through the shrinkage between Pizzo Cicero and Torretta promontories, San Nicola Fall was also the scene of historic intrigues, it is said that bandits as Giovanni Boncoraggio refuged here during the Unification of Italy.
A treasure within the Etna Park is the Balze Fall that gushes not far from Nelson’s Castle in Bronte (Catania), famous for its pistachio. Here, prehistoric lava flows trapped the Flascio river, giving life to Gurrida lake whose underground course crosses the territory between Maletto and Bronte to the Balze Fall.
We are in Roccella Valdemone (Messina), where the valley of Alcantara river is coloured by broom and Mediterranean greenery. This fall is one the highest in Sicily and it originates from Roccella stream, tributary of the Alcantara river.
We move to Sortino (Syracuse), where a treasure kept within pristine nature originates from an ancient Greek aqueduct called Galermi. The waterfall enriches the nature reserve Riserva naturale orientata Pantalica, Valle dell’Anapo e Torrente Cava Grande where nature, history and culture are linked in a wonderful place.
They are in Rometta, a village in Gimello Né Monaci (Messina) linked to the presence of monks’ hermitages. Here, in the heart of the Peloritani Mountains, the waters flow energetically before a 25 metres drop.
They are the most famous in Sicily and they are part of the homonymous River Park in Motta Camastra (Messina). The Alcantara Falls stand out in a wild place despite tourism. The roar of water, that flows between lava stone and oleander, echoes throughout the area that every year fascinates many visitors.
Translated by Daniela Marsala