From Camping Lo Scoglio is easy to reach places in Sicily full of fascinating art and history.
The direction, to the aim to favor the campers in carrying out the excursions to Palermo, Cefalu', Aeolian islands etc., free of charge offers and with own means the service of round-trip of accompanyment to the near railway station.
It is 5 km far from the camping . It was probably founded by Archonides , tyrant of Herbita , around 403 BC. According to another tradition , it was founded by the Carthaginians . The first Sicilian city to pass to the Romans, it was treated by them with particular favour - they made it a free and immuna city. The walls , reinforced by towers , entirely surrounded the city . The two temples in the upper part , the agora, the colonnades , sacella, podiums and statue- bases , the paving and the building material , the niche tombs in the necropolis - all these together provide a living image of the ancient city.
It is 20 km far from the camping and is an international town , famous all over the world. The area was certainly inhabited in pre- Hellenic times .When the Normans took the town in 1603 , a period of great splendour began for Cefal. Having passed the town gardens, in Piazza Garibaldi, we see one of the town 's ancient gates, the Porta della Terra. The most important things to see are: the Chiesa della Catena , the Osterio Magno, Convento di Santa Caterina, the Oratorio del Sacramento, Palazzo Vescovile , the Cathedral ,the Chiesa del Purgatorio. Climbing the rocca we can see the remains of Cefal's defensive system ; higher still , we come to an interesting building , known as the Temple of Diana.
It is 9 km far from the camping .In its territory are the ruins of the ancient Halaesa .It belonged to the Ventimiglias after 1699 .The nucleus of the town has maintained its mediaeval aspect. The Matrice is embellished by two statues by Scipione Li Volsi: The Virgin Mary and the Madonna del Rosario; there is also a painting attributed Alonso Rodriguez. The campanile of the church is surprisingly in the same square but on the opposite side: it was originally a mediaeval tower.
S. Stefano di Camastra
It is 10 km far from the camping and it is very famous for its handmade pottery. The modern town was founded by Giuseppe Lanza , Duke of Camastra , one year after a landslide destroyed the old town of Santo Stefano di Mistetta. Arriving in the town from Palermo we see the Chiesa del Calvario. Nearby is the Institute of Ceramic Art, founded in 1934, perpetuating a local artisan tradition that goes back to the 15th c. and is documented in the Museo permanente della Ceramica. The Chiesa Madre , dedicated to San Nicola stands in Piazza Duomo. The interior , with a nave and two aisles , is decorated with late 18th c. and early 19th c. stuccos ; it contains a Gaginesque statue , the Madonna delle Grazie , and two paintings by Giuseppe Patania.
It is 15 km far from the camping and it is thought to stand on the site of the ancient Apollonia .It developped in the Middle Ages around the castle. At the highest point of the town stands the Chiesa Madre ; it contains at least two works of great interest: a statue of the Vergine delle Grazie and a bas- relief , the Nativity , by Antonio Gagini. The typical pink-coloured local stone was used to build the Teatro di pietrarosa , which in summer is used for performances of classical plays.
Il Parco dei Nebrodi
The Nebrodi Mountains, together with the Madonie in the west and the Peloritani in the east, form the Appennino siculo (Sicilian Apennine). They face in the north the Tyrrheanian Sea, while their southern border is marked by the Etna, in particular by the river Alcantara and by the high course of the Simeto. The main elements characterizing the natural landscape of the Nebrodi are the asymmetry of each slope, the different shaping of the relief, the very rich vegetation, and the wetlands. The essential peculiarity of the orographic situation is the gentleness of the relief deriving from the presence of wide banks of clayey-arenaceous rocks: the peaks, reaching with Mt. Soro the maximum height of 1847 meters a.s.l., have rounded slopes and open in wide valleys crossed by many rivers flowing into the Tyrrheanian Sea. Where the limestone prevail, the landscape presents dolomitic aspects, with irregular profiles and harsh forms with many fissures. It is the case of Monte San Fratello and, above all, of Rocche del Crasto (1315 meters a.s.l). Finally, it is important to underline the widespread process of progressive acculturation of the Park's territory, which led throughout the centuries to the transformation of the Nebrodi from a natural to a cultural landscape.
Fiumara d'Arte literally translates as River of Art, and consists of an unusual attempt at exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a kind of open-air museum, that takes advantage of the natural landscape to arrive at a symbiosis of art and nature and provides interested visitors an opportunity of exploring secluded and off-the-beaten-track spots. The first stretch of the itinerary snakes its way along the coast; then, it ventures inland through a forested region between the Nebrodi and the Madonie Mountains. The project, initiated a few years ago, is continuing, thanks to the cooperation of contemporary artists from Italy and abroad. Allow at least half a day.
Start from Santo Stefano di Camastra driving the coast road westwards. The first majestic sculpture looms into sight on the right, sitting on the beach; it is called Monument to a Dead Poet, by Tano Festa, and conceived as a window looking out to sea and to infinity; like the two elements, sea and sky, that surround it, it is blue.
A little further on, a small bridge aknowledges the Tusa river; there, in the middle of this almost permanently dry river bed, stands the second work, Pietro Consagra's Matter could have not existed, which is a linear conglomeration which breaks out onto two levels, one white, the other black.
Following the river upstream, the road runs in the direction of Pettineo. It climbs up into the Nebrodi mountains, providing beautiful views over the landscape, where humankind evidence dwindles to disappear giving way to the overriding presence of nature. The road is bordered on both sides by olive trees resembling, in their contorted shape, tortured, imprisoned souls; this makes way tor a sun-drenched landscape ablaze with startlingly yellow bushes of flowering broom.
Beyond Pettineo, which is nestled atop a hill, appears a work by Paolo Schiavocampo entitled A Curve Thrown After the Wind, shrouded in silence. At last, Castel di Lucio comes into view; a sign on the left points to Italo Lanfredini's Ariadne, standing secluded atop a hill (as the road turns in a bend to the left, keep straight on). This windswept stone maze enclosed on all sides by a succession of towering moutains enjoys a fabulous location.
Back on the main road, follow the winding way to Mistretta to view one of the last artistic creations: the Ceramic Wall, to which some 40 artist contributed. Beyond Mistretta, take fork to Motta d'Affermo where Antonio Di Palma's blue wave entitled the Mediterranean Energy dominates the landscape.
Go back to the coast side at the Hotel Atelier sul Mare in Castel di Tusa, where Antonio Presti once of the prime instigators and promoters of the Fiumara project, has made seveeral rooms available to artists and allowed them to transform them into works of art in their own right.
Another work deserves a mention: The Room of the Golden Boat by Hidetoshi Nagasawa, sheltered within a cave on the bed of the river Romei, near Mistretta. Inside, the rock is entirely faced with plates of polished steel - most disorientating. Somewhere within the enclosed place, a pink marble tree has been "planted" in the ground, on which the shell of an overturned boat has been built, and covered in gold leaf. This work, however, is not intended to be seen; the reason for its existence lies in the fact that it exists at all. As such, we are encouraged not to go and see it, but merely to imagine it.
The project is revitalised annually with a great event held in Pettineo when kilometres of canvas are laid out along the lenght of the main street and dozens of painters arrive to claim their stretch of allocated space. (The event usually takes place in June. To confirm the dates telephone the Hotel Atelier sul Mare).
The Hotel Atelier sul Mare, in Castel di Tusa, (via Cesare Battisti 4, tel. 0921/334295) has succeeded in realising a truly original dream and exploring the concept of how to exploit art in a new form. Various rooms have been handed over to artists to be transformed into works of art. What is particularly original, however, is that these statements of interior decoration are not static; on the contrary, they are in a continuous state of flux. For each new guest is invited to leave his/her own individual imprint as he/she may feel inclined. The idea is to create an interaction between the existing work, which with time becomes inert and part of the everyday furnishing, and the artist who during his/her stay will contemplate and inwardly digest the decor before responding with his/her personal touch. The predominant theme is water - the sea, treated as a fundamental element and purifier of life, the return to man's basic origins and hence to humankind's very existence. Each artist interprets this idea in different ways.
Every guest is given the choice of the passionate red of Power (by Maurizio Marchetti), the passionate red of the white of the Absorbing Nest (by Paolo Icaro), the minimalist Mystery for the Moon (by Hidetoshi Nagasawa), the deeply reflective Denial of the Sea (by Fabrizio Plessi), or the complicated and crooked Room of the Prophet, to name but a few of them. The rooms are accessible only to those spending the night there.
Le isole Eolie
The seven Aeolian Islands are situated off the north-eastern coast of Sicily. They vary in character from being rough and untamed places (like the two most remote islands Filicudi and Alicudi), to being tempered by residents and visitors (Lipari and Panarea), to introverted and solitary (Salina), or lively (Vulcano and Stromboli) which, with timely precision one might say, puff out smoke before relishing the attention paid to them as they toss small incandescent lumps of stone high into the air.
The Greek mythology ascribes the islands to Aeolus, and suggest that Odysseus temporarily sheltered there during his travels. There he would met cyclops Polyphemus.
Connections - The main service providers are: Si.Re.Mar (090/9811 312), S.Na.V (090/9880266), Co.Ve.Mar (090/98 13 181) and N.G.I. (090/98 11 955). These are operated by hydrofoil and ferry, which incur inversely proportional costs and times. On average, the hydrofoil (foot-passengers only) costs twice as much as the ferry and takes half the time. The closest port on the main island of Sicily, which logically runs the most frequent sailings, is Milazzo. However, services are also operated out of Messina, San Giovanni (near Reggio Calabria), Palermo, Napoli and Taormina. Bus services also shuttle foot-passengers from the port at Milazzo to several of the major towns in Sicily.
VULCANO: Vulcano is an island of 21sqm belonging to the Aeolian Archipelago. According to Greek mythology, here was placed the forge of Hephaestus, the god of fire, who worked as a blacksmith with the assistance of the Cyclops. But the island was named after the Roman name of the God, that is Vulcan, hence the term vulcanology. The very existence of the island results from the fusion of four volcanoes; the largest and most dominant peak, Vulcano della Fossa, rising up to 391m of reddish rock. Beside is the smaller Vulcanello, 123m, which erupted on the north side in 183 BC. Although the last eruption dates back to 1890, the volcano has never ceased to betray signs of its activity; even today, such phenomenons as fumaroles, jets and steam above and below sea level and sulphurous mud, highly prized for its therapeutic properties, continue to be very much in evidence. Volcano's shoreline is much jagged sometimes resembling tentacles plunging into the sea, its colour ranging from red to ochre-yellow and featuring a scenery of wild and haunting beauty.
ALICUDI: The most isolated of the Aeolian Islands, it consists of a round cone covered with heather (hence its ancient name Ericusa). Inhabited by some 140 people, it has remained unchanged since the dawn of time. It has a single village that groups together a handful of pastel-colored houses scattered at the foot of the mountain; the village rises up to the Filo dell'Arpa, offering a fine panoramic view (the foot-path snakes its way from Chiesa di San Bartolo up through the cultivated terraces. About 1 hour 45 minutes to the top and back, at a brisk pace).
FILICUDI: Steep slopes and a rocky, mostly basalt, coastline, are the main features of this small island consisting of a group of craters, the tallest of which is the Fossa delle Felci (773m). The island counts three hamlets with a total population of 250 inhabitants. From its landing stage at Filicudi Porto, it is simple to reach the prehistoric village situated on the promontory of Capo Graziano, about forty minutes there and back, with the remains of some 25 ancient and roughly oval huts. The settlement dates from the Bronze Age, here transferred from another site on the shore, so that it could be better defended against possible attacks (for relics discovered at the site see the Museo Archeologico di Lipari section). The site provides a fine view of the bay, the Fossa delle Felci and Alicudi, in the distance on the left. If approaching by sea, a stop to visit the huge cave of Grotta del Bue Marino is a must. A tallest volcanic rock known as the Canna, due to its shape, rises offshore.
SALINA: With its distinctive two-humped profile (hence its ancient name Didyme, meaning twins), Salina is a solitary and quiet island, perfect for who wants to spend a relaxing holiday at one with nature. Originally comprised of six volcanoes of which four have disappeared over time, it derives its present name from the saltworks, now abandoned, at Lingua, a tiny village on the southern coast. Capers and grapes, the latter used to produce the worldwide famous Malvasia delle Lipari are the island's most important and typical products. Salina has two landing stages: Santa Maria Salina and the little Rinella di Leni (where is also a campsite which is crowded during during the second and third weeks of August).
PANAREA: The smallest of the Aeolian Islands rises to its highest point with Punta del Corvo (420m), its western flank plunging steeply down into the sea. The eastern side has gentler slopes ending in a tall black lava coastline skirted by small pebbled beaches. To the south-east, near Punta Milazzese, the remnants of a prehistoric village dominate the fine bay of Cala Junco. All around the island emerge isles and rocks including the dreaded Formiche's (Ants), just below the water surface, which have been the cause of many shipwrecks since Antiquity.
STROMBOLI: This is a volcanic island of a sombre, unnerving beauty, with a coastline with steep crags emerging from the sea. The almost total lack of roads, its harsh beauty and, above all, the volcano, which makes its presence felt with outbursts of fire and brimstone, have both a strange and awesome power of attraction. Rossellini's Terra di Dio (Land of God, 1950) right highlighted the difficulties of living in such a place.
LIPARI: Lipari is the main town on the island. Clearly visible, as you approach the island from the sea, are the top of the town, the fortified city with behind (visible if you come from Marina Lunga) the former Franciscan convent, now Town Hall. Far below at its feet sit the two bays of Marina Corta, watched by the small church of the Anime del Purgatorio (once isolated on a rock, now linked to the mainland) and by the 1600's church of San Giuseppe, and of Marina Lunga, the larger of the two inlets. On the last night of the festival of St. Bartholomew on 24 August, Marina Corta is illuminated by a magnificent display of fireworks, set off from the sea. The lower part of town or citt bassa, with its main street Corso Vittorio Emanuele lined with charming shops and restaurants, provides the perfect context for the traditional passeggiata (walk).