Nebrodi Natural Park
The Nebrodi Natural Park of more than 860 square kilometres of extension is the largest protected area in Sicily.
70 km of Mountains, 50% of the Sicilian forests: The Nebrodi Natural Park represents the green lung of the Island.
It includes natural environments of extreme natural interest, most of them unique in Sicily.
Its main feature is the vast extension of forests in natural conditions that hosts a fauna that has been disappeared for a long time somewhere else. Also of extreme interest due to its quantity, variety and preservation state are the wetland areas: fountains, water streams, ponds, bogs.
A winning combination, reinforced by a series of landscapes and unique natural values in Sicily. Nebrodi means lakes and forests, typical flavours and inviting paths, fresh fountains and local hospitable culture and ready to disarm you with its simple and welcoming smile.
The Nebrodi are presented as a solid mass, rich of vegetation, but with gentle slopes and round summits, due to the presence of banks of clay and sandy rocks.
Besides, it presents extensive terraces that open up in wide valleys in which there flow many water streams that find their way out in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Here stands one of the most beautiful natural parks in Sicily, the Nebrodi Natural Park that includes twenty three municipalities of which eighteen belong to the province of Messina, three of them belong to the province of Catania and two belong to the province of Enna.
The main elements that characterise the landscape of the Nebrodi are the asymmetry of its different slopes, the diversity of the elevations’ shape, the rich vegetation and the wetlands.
The forests affect notably the climate of the territory that is characterised by its long and rigid winters, and hot summers.
The temperature normally stay at around 10-12 °C whilst the rain, the snow and fog are frequent, and their influence is so important as to create the necessary humidity for the existence of certain type of forest.
The vegetation varies according to the area in which is found. Furthermore, in the Nebrodi Natural Park, we will find a vegetation of the Mediterranean scrub always green, whilst to discover the deciduous oak, the oak, and Turky oak, one should get between 1.200 and 1.400 metres of height.
In the Mountain area, due to the unusual climate conditions, we find the beech tree, with its oval leaf, is able to retain water, useful to overcome the long periods of drought, while the lush forest undergrowth has several species including the holly, the butcher’s broom and the thorn tree.
The word Nebrodi comes from the Greek “Nebros” (fawn), once, in fact, this area was the kingdom of these herbivorous, and also other important mammals.
Due to the poaching and the progressive impoverishment of the fauna, the XIX century has seen the extinction of some important species such as deer, fallow deer, wolf, roe deer and the eagle awl.
Today, nonetheless the environmental impoverishment, this area remains one of the richest and complex zones in terms of fauna.
Walking through the Nebrodi Natural Park it should not be difficult to meet different types of mammals, including the dormouse, the muscardinus avellanarius, but also reptiles like the tortoise, and the multitude of birds of which there are one hundred and fifty species.
Among the multitude of animal species are deer, fallow deer, amphibians and reptiles, migratory and nesting birds (herons and knights of Italy).
At the boundaries of the woods live the buzzard, kestrel, the peregrine falcon, red kite; between the rocky areas it is possible to meet the golden eagle, coot, little grebe, kingfisher; among the green pastures the rock partridge, the raven, the hoopoe.
But the Nebrodi are not only flora and fauna.
In the municipalities that belong to the Park if possible to get in touch with the farmers’ civilisation that has given cultural wealth to these places thanks to the craftsmanship productions of baskets, embroidery and agriculture tools made of wood and ferla, or with many food products of which the highest expression are cheese and the cold meat.
Of particular prestige are the cannestrato cheese, pecorino, provola and ricotta cheese, and the cold meat produced from the black pork of the Nebrodi.