“In the UK we call it a walking holiday, in the US they call it a hiking holiday, others call it a trekking holiday – but whatever you call it, our Madonie Mountains walking holiday traverses some the of the most beautiful landscapes in Sicily”.
One of the classic Sicily walking tours, our journey takes us from the centre of the island near the town of Enna through towns and villages in the Madonie mountains to the coast near Cefalù.
We are absolutely delighted to have teamed up with
Sicilian Experience in order to be able to offer this tour. Sicilian Experience have many years of experience of working, not just in the Madonie region of Sicily but also of delivering top quality walking holidays throughout Italy.
This tour is based and run on the responsible tourism policy of www.sicilianexperience.com where we try to help the local economy by staying and eating in small family run establishments and using local transport arrangements. We have included a cooking demonstration, wine tasting and cheese making, as well as a visit to the shepherd to see him making ricotta, so giving you the opportunity to see the ‘real’ Sicily from the inside.
You will only need to carry a day pack as our support vans will transport the luggage on a daily basis. An added benefit from having transport accompanying us daily is that you can opt out if you so wish at any time. The walks are classified from easy to moderate and can be done by anyone who is reasonably fit. You should, however, expect some uneven walking surfaces and some ascents and descents.
Catania Airport to Enna
Pick up at the airport and drive directly to the town of Enna, classified as the ‘navel’ of Sicily. (Transfer 1hr.15mins)
Time to explore the treasures of the town and enjoy the magnificent views across the countryside from the Rock, on which
once stood a temple dedicated to the Fertility Goddess, Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
As we stroll down to our family run restaurant we pass the locals during their passeggiata (evening walkabout).
A cooking demonstration will be given before our evening meal – a great introduction to Sicilian cuisine.
Evening meal (included) and one night stay in a three star hotel in the centre of Enna.
Depending on flight arrival times, it may be possible to visit the Roman Imperial Villa Casale, at Piazza Armerina where
some of the best-preserved mosaics in Sicily were discovered in the late 1800s.
Enna to Gangi
Drive to Villadoro (45mins) from where we commence walking on the old trade route (from the centre of Sicily to the
coastline) towards Gangivecchio, where once the original town of Gangi stood. At the end of the walk we have wonderful
views towards Gangi, perched like a tortoise shell on top of Monte Marone.
We drive into Gangi where we will visit the ‘centro storico’ with its Baroque townhouses and interesting churches,
typical of the Madonie ‘Baroque’ style where you will learn about the legend of the “Queen of Gangi”.
One night stay at Agriturismo, Villa Raino a restored Baronial villa from the 1700s with tranquil surroundings, situated
in the valley behind Gangi.
Picnic lunch and dinner included.
Sperlinga to Gangi
Drive to Sperlinga where you have time to visit the troglodyte dwellings and Saracen castle which is set high on a
buttress of rock before commencing the walk initially on asphalt road which eventually becomes concrete. The first
hour of the walk is a gradually uphill on road, at times uneven then downhill to arrive at farm. The walk continues
on farmland tracks through fields, eventually arriving on wide track partially asphalt and concrete. Views of Mt Etna
and the Madonie Mountains.
Picnic lunch and dinner included.
Gangi to Madonie Mountains National Park
Before commencing our walk we take a small detour to visit the local farmer where we will watch him make the local cheese
Afterwards we continue our walk on the old trade route, crossing a Roman bridge and up ancient mule tracks leading us through
wild scenery, to the 11thC ruined Saracen castle of Geraci Siculo where we will meet a local falconer for a falconery display
– a ‘must see’ as he still uses the traditions introduced by Frederick II, the Swabian Emporer, in the 14th century.
Our afternoon track takes us through the Madonie range on paths with spectacular views over the mountains, across the sea to
the Aeolian islands (on a clear day).
We arrive at Porta Mandarini (1,200 m), where we are driven to Pomieri near Petralia Soprana (10 mins).
Overnight stay at the comfortable mountain chalet. The restaurant is part of the Slow Food Association group which supports
the traditional organic cuisine based on local produce.
Picnic lunch and dinner included.
Pomieri to Castelbuono (centre of Madonie Montains National Park)
We commence walking from the hotel (altitude 1346m), through woodland with 600 to 800 year old maple and oak trees.
Continuing through the Madonie mountains, enjoying the spectacular views across the mountains and towards the sea. Our
walk takes us to a forest with giant 1,000 year old holly trees, situated near a traditional thatched shepherd’s hut.
Our path finishes shortly after at the mountain refuge Crispi (altitude 1260m).
Transfer by van down to Il Romitaggio, San Guglielmo (a partly converted Benedictine monastery) for a light lunch and
then on to Castelbuono with time for sightseeing. Castelbuono is a traditional Sicilian town crowned by the Castle of
After our stroll round we have time to visit an olive press where oil is made for local consumption and also for exporting
Lunch (San Guglielmo) and dinner included.
Overnight stay in Castelbuono.
Leaving Castelbuono we drive to the nearby village of Isnello. Time to stroll around the quaint medieval village before
driving to the starting point of the walk in Gibilmanna (altitude 860m). We visit the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna
there which is perched high on Pizzo Sant’ Angelo, 800m above sea level, said to be the first on the island to be
dedicated to the Madonna. From here the walk descends on a wide path, with magnificent sea views across the coastline
and the Aeolian Islands.
Continuing walking along country lanes passing small plots of cultivated olive and citrus groves down to our
accommodation just outside the village of Sant’Ambrogio.
Two nights stay
Picnic lunch and dinner included with the wine tasting.
Free Day: Optional morning walk – Cefalù
Our optional early morning walk takes us past the local shepherd where we will watch him prepare fresh ricotta cheese and
have an opportunity to taste it.
Afternoon visit to Cefalù, the famous Arab/Norman town with its majestic cathedral, important museum, shops and beautiful
Dinner at seafood restaurant.
Transfer to airport – Palermo airport (1 hour) Catania (2 hours)