isola bella sicilia

The natural reserves in the province of Messina

Suitable for free climbling enthusiasts, walks, bird watching with golden eagles and the rare Sicilian rock partridge.

Wood of Malabotta

A few steps from Roccella Valdemone , a small village clinging to a rocky ridge that is the destination of free climbling enthusiasts , this area, located on the high Alcantara valley, looks not far from the Nebrodi and Rocche del Crasto. Under a thick wooded vegetation the Licopedi di Roccella stream reveals itself, which a little further down flows into the Alcantara.

The Bosco di Malabotta is an area of exceptional naturalistic value, it is a vast natural area between Roccella Valdemone and Montalbano Elicona, where an ecosystem rich in flora has spontaneously formed on sediments that are now clayey-arenaceous, now on alluvial and limestone rocks. and fauna.

The reserve is dotted with numerous hills: Pizzo Castelluzzo, Serra Castagna, Pizzo Daniele and Pizzo Galera , now covered with dense woods, with centuries-old trees, now open to vast clearings inhabited by black pigs, now impervious streams where the rare trout reproduces macrostigma.

The undergrowth includes hawthorn, wild rose, thorny sparzio and offers shelter to foxes and wild boars, weasels and martens . The presence of the oak mouse is significant.

Deviating from the road that leads to the Malabotta wood, you can easily access the Rocche dell'Argimusco, a plateau that rises to a height of over a thousand meters, with a view of Etna, the Strait of Messina and the Aeolian islands , on which they raise limestone megaliths that wind and rain have eroded giving them strange shapes. Another interesting excursion is the one to the Pittari wood, in the Municipality of Malvagna.


This reserve was desired due to the presence of significant geomorphological elements and rare vegetational aspects, in terms of geomorphological aspects, one of the most interesting features is the stratification, in the subsoil, of heavy metals . This part of Messina has about 15 mines of the most various metals: copper, zinc, silver, antimony, iron, lead.

In the list of plant populations, the downy oak, chestnut trees, walnuts and mulberries, and the arboreal heather must be mentioned. Higher up, above 800 meters, is the kingdom of the sycamore maple, holly and laurel. The whole area is affected by the phenomenon of rivers, areas furrowed by torrential events, a process common to the whole Peloritani area.A separate mention should be made for the golden eagle , which nests here, and for the rare Sicilian rock partridge , threatened species, mentioned in the institutive decree as one of the main reasons for the creation of the reserve.

Some recommended itineraries : the Vacco stream, which opens onto a mining area where the Pietre di Caloro (gold mines) are located, while on the right it continues taking the name of Santissima. This branch of the watercourse, having reached the height of the western slope of Monte Scuderi, forks again forming the Valle degli Eremiti on the left while on the right it continues with the name of Valle Lameri and reaches the Piano Margi, where the House is located. of the Alpini . A hundred meters from the refuge, towards the south-west, where the panorama opens onto Etna , a spring emerges. The ancient military road also arrives here.

Also from Piano Margi starts a beautiful mule track, which can be traveled on foot, which heads towards Pizzo Sale . From the peak of the relief of Monte Scuderi, the most interesting of the Peloritani, you can enjoy an incomparable scenery that on days of atmospheric clarity ranges from Etna to Aspromonte.

Alicudi Island

The island of Alicudi is a volcano 1600 meters high, which however emerges for 40%, sides covered by shrubs and bushes, resistant to the salty wind, yellow of broom, artemisia and tree euphorbia, to the reds of prickly pear. ..a first image of Alicudi.

One of the seven sisters of the Aeolian Archipelago , now a nature reserve entrusted to the Forestry Company.

It was formerly called Ericusa, because it was covered with heather shrubs. An area with a high landscape and naturalistic value , colonized by vegetation strongly influenced by the sea, among which the perpetuins of the Aeolian Islands and the limonium of the Aeolian Islands stand out , species present only in this archipelago.

Some significant testimonies of man: La Tonna, a residential settlement where a trappeto is functioning, the Montagna, a human settlement of the eighteenth century and Pantalucci, a small beach, a shelter for fishermen.

Filicudi Island

Filicudi is "the island of ferns", or perhaps "of the Phoenicians" and is part of the Aeolian Islands . It is certainly a suggestive natural reserve of the Aeolian archipelago with six eruptive centers : the Fili di Sciacca, the Zucco Grande, the Fossa delle Felci, the Monte Torrione, the Montagnola, and the Capo Graziano .

The coast is dotted with numerous caves and lava cavities, the best known of which is the Grotta del Bue Marino , once a breeding ground for the monk seal, now extinct.

The reserve is characterized by a typically Mediterranean vegetation. One of the characteristics of the island is the caper , known as the Aeolian orchid , which climbs up the rocky walls.

Filicudi is affected by the transit of some migratory birds, one of the privileged nesting places of the Eleonora's falcon (included in the red list of endangered species) is the rock called della Canna, 70 m high, where the endemic lizard of the Aeolian Islands also lives .

The fish fauna includes groupers, amberjacks and lobsters , which move undisturbed in gorgonian meadows, between black and red coral.

Island of Panarea

Panarea , the smallest island of the Aeolian archipelago, presents phenomena of secondary volcanism with hot springs with water that even reach 50 ° C, with geysers of hot water in the sea . A not indifferent aspect that influences, for example, the fauna.

On the islet of Bottaro di Panarea there is the Podarcis sicula trischittai, one of the 4 subspecies of the endemic lizard Podarcis. Basiluzzo , one of the smaller islands, is covered with rosemary, caper, mastic and euphorbia.

The volcanic soil, the influence of the sea, the climate condition push the flora to adapt.

On the outcropping rocks, conditioned by the spray of the sea and interrupted here and there by small areas of soil, the perpetuins of the Aeolian Islands , the sea fennel, the carrot of the cliffs and the gorse of the cliffs grow. The shrubby vegetation typical of the coastal strip is characterized by the tree euphorbia that prefers the warmer stations near the sea, and is associated with the olive, shrubby wormwood, the endemic Tyrrhenian broom and Sicilian tea .


From here comes the term "Strombolian" to indicate an eruptive phenomenon characterized by violent explosions with sudden release of gas and magma.

Despite the name, Strombolicchio is actually older than Stromboli . An imposing rock of wild beauty , one kilometer and a half from the north-east coast of the island, with a seabed rich in corals and sea anemones , such as the sea tomato , which lives only in particularly clear waters.

The east side is characterized by shrubby vegetation with gorse, the area of Ginostra by the presence of the olive trees that were cultivated here.

The seabed is very rich and varied and offers an exciting spectacle for tourists who love exploration and underwater photography .

The crystal clear waters of these places are a true paradise for lovers of underwater exploration who are enchanted by the spectacular seabed.

Vulcano Island

The volcanic archipelago of the Aeolian Islands , of which Vulcano, coming from Sicily, is the first in order of appearance, was declared a protected area in several phases, from 1997 to 2000, progressively involving all seven sisters that compose it.

Double value of interest: nature reserve and World Heritage Site , according to the recognition of UNESCO, for the volcanic aspects.

Mediterranean vegetation and large birds of prey are a characteristic feature of the entire archipelago. On Vulcano there are remains of an ancient forest of oaks and holm oaks.

The establishment of the reserve was also wanted to protect the fish heritage of the seabed .

Vallone Calagna

This integrated nature reserve, at 560 meters above sea level, was established by the Region in 2000 also thanks to the surveys of some researchers.

Here, in fact, a rare plant is born and grows spontaneously, the falsasanicola , scientific name Petagna saniculaefolia , relict of the flora of the Tertiary, which has found its natural habitat thanks to the meeting of the mountain climate mitigated by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

La Petagna needs a lot of water: Vallone Calagna , with its thousands of rivulets, is able to satisfy this request, thanks to the Paderà springs which then flow into the Calagna stream towards the town.

Protected by the Berne Convention , Petagna was recognized in 1997 by the Region, which three years later established the integrated reserve, that is, with particular rigidity criteria in respect of the environment. We recommend a tourist visit in spring, when the flowers of the Petagna, white and with a typical rounded shape, are easily visible .

We are in the middle of the Nebrodi park , between beech and hazelnut groves. Many cultural itineraries also depart from here. Tortorici, the workshop city of the Bells, is reached after a short distance. Don't miss the Franchina museum .

Beautiful island

A few words for this bay with Isola Bella in the center, a rock famous all over the world. Among the walls of the island lives a very rare lizard , Podarcis sicula medemi , in the shade of the Mediterranean scrub, which alternates with exotic species, inserted in the past by private individuals who built their home on the island.

At Capo Sant'Andrea the Peregrine Falcon and the Kestrel nest, perfect for birdwatching and nature photography, and the suggestive Blue Grotto opens up among its rocks. Guided tours of the island have been operating since 2000 and thousands of visitors cross the isthmus of gravel and pebbles, often barefoot due to the high tide, which connects it to the mainland.

The depths of the bay are a privileged destination for the diving centers in the area: fish and molluscs, wrasses and corvines dominate undisturbed among the Posidonia oceanica meadows.

Marinello lakes

Brackish water lakes at the foot of the Tindari sanctuary , in Oliveri, are temporary basins originating from a series of interventions. The number of lakes varies according to the season and the tides.

A horizontal landscape of white, green and blue: the innermost lakes become freshwater.

On the opposite hill, a path leads to the Grotta della Maga , a cave whose walls are studded with limestone residues of molluscs.

The history of these lakes always appears linked to the influence of the sanctuary: in 1982 the tides traced a lake with a semblance profile to a woman with a baby in her womb , which popular faith attributed to the black Madonna of Tindari.

Capo Peloro lagoon

At the north end of the eastern coast of Sicily, in Messina , in that curve of land that turns from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian, Capo Peloro double the Sicilian coast.

Here, at the foot of the "piloni", two lake areas, the lagoons of Capo Peloro and Ganzirri, host a very particular environment.

The waters have for some time been extensive mollusc farms, the shores are a fixed destination for migratory birds who find right shelter here from the strain of crossing the Strait against the wind. The Reserve was established in 2001, due to its vegetation peculiarity and to protect the species that winter there.

Mountain of Ferns

The reserve is located in Salina , an islet of the Aeolian Archipelago , already declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO list. The slopes of this island are characterized by the presence of spontaneous evergreen vegetation and Mediterranean scrub. Gorse, mastic and euphorbia cover the flanks of these promontories of the volcano. Ferns and leeks are obviously the dominant species.

Area of old institution, it is made up of a series of long-extinct volcanoes , which today have become a privileged area not only for large birds of prey but also for pelagic birds that reign here undisturbed.

A dip in the waters of the island of Salina will reveal a very fascinating spectacle. The seabed is rich in specimens of corvine and groupers, hedgehogs and hermit crabs .