Gole dell'Alcantara / Alcantara Gorge (Sicily)
N 37° 52.804 E 015° 10.405
33S E 515250 N 4192522
Quick Description: Gole dell'Alcantara (Alcantara Gorge) bellow north slopes of Etna massif belongs to absolute "must-to-see" locations of Sicily, especially for all nature-lovers and people interesting in geology...
Location: Sicilia, Italy
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:47:39 AM
Waymark Code: WM6NDY
By car you can reach magnificent Gole dell'Alcantara (The Alcantara Gorge) from Taormina - Giardini Naxos by following the SS185 main road inland towards Francavilla di Sicilia for 13 km.
Gole dell'Alcantara, geological natural monument of basalt rock, was created by the eruption of the volcano Monte Moio, Etna's most eccentric side crater, around 2400 BC. The lava flow flooded the entire valley of the Alcantara river a s far as its mouth on the coast, where the Greeks founded their first colony in Sicily. In the Sciara Larderia region the river of lava reached a thickness of 70 m. While still white-hot, and due to a telluric settling, a sinuous longitudinal crack opened in the lava over a length of 500 m, 70 m deep and only 5 m wide, thus assuming the appearance of a gorge.
Only later, all the waters of the catchment basin feeding the Alcantara river flowed into the fissure and fro this derived the name "Alcantara Gorge". The continuous action of the water smoothed the basalt walls of the gorge producing that glowing lustre which can be admired only under the action of light. The gorge is reached by way of a scenic footpath or by means of modern elevators. To reach the entrance of the gorge the use of wading boots is recommended, which can be hired at the site; these are a useful protection against the icy water and spiky rocks. The gorge is always a dangerous place for non-experts and those who are unfamiliar with the site.