Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area: 1'927.48 ha
  • Protected flora: 18 species  (Italian text)
  • Protected wildlife: 50 species  (Italian text)
  • Habitats: 14 types (Italian text)
  • Regions: Sicilia
  • Provinces: Catania, Messina
  • Municipalities: Calatabiano, Castiglione di Sicilia, Francavilla di Sicilia, Gaggi, Giardini Naxos, Graniti, Malvagna, Mojo Alcantara, Motta Camastra, Randazzo, Roccella Valdemone, Taormina
  • Establishment Measures: LR 6 18/05/2001
  • PA Official List: EUAP0859

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The first evidences of human settlements in the valley date bake to the late Copper Age/beginning of the Ancient Bronze Age (necropolis in Marca). After the arrival of the Greeks in Naxos in 735 BC, the Sicilians were forced to look for shelter in the hinterland: some time after the area of Francavilla housed a Calcidese colony, of which we know the rich sanctuary of Demetra and Kore (6th century BC).

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Photo by History


The 48 km of river Alcantara, developing among Nebrodi, Etna, and Peloritani Mountains, are characterized by river or torrent environments, mesoxerophilous vegetation, and rural areas.

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The morphological differences characterizing the river environment allow different animal species to populate it. In the mountain area, near the spring and at the confluence with Nebrodi Park, it is not rare to sight brids of prey reaching the Alcantara in search of food.

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Freshwater crab
Freshwater crab


As far as geomorphology is concerned, Alcantara Valley is characterized by different features along its course from the mouth to the spring and along the right and left sides of the local catch basin.
In the medium-upper section, the morphology is characteristic of the Nebroidea and Peloritana chain, while in the valley section Etna dominates the slope of Catania and the watercourse with the formation of spectacular lava walls and depressed areas called potholes, forming the characteristic gurne.

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Photo by Geology

The River

The territory of Alcantara River Park partly lies in the Alcantara catch basin. River Alcantara springs from the eastern section of Nebrodi Mountains.
The territory is characterized by three geographical areas:

  1. the chain of Nebrodi Mountains
  2. the chain of Peloritani Mountains
  3. the volcanic structure of Etna

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River Alcantara
River Alcantara
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