Sicily and the Gole dell'Alcantara

If you've never heard of Sicily, you may have heard of Francis Ford Coppola's movie "The Godfather," which follows the life and dealings of the Corleone family from the United States to the motherland: - Sicily!  And, if you've never seen the Godfather, you may have heard of Inspector Montalbano who keeps everyone on their toes in the ficticious town of Vigata in Sicily.

If you look on a map of Europe, Sicily looks like the football close to the tip of the boot that is Italy. Sicily is actually the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and it's steeped in history. It was conquered by the Moors, the Arabs, the Greeks and the Normans, which means its culture, food and traditions are very rich and varied. Sicily has some of the most stunning beaches in Europe and everywhere you go from north to south, east to west of the island, there are historical sites to visit.

Although Italy, in general, is famed for pizza and pasta; food in Sicily goes way beyond. The pastries, the local cuisine, the ice-cream and coffee are some of the most delicious you'll ever taste in your life. Local produce is blessed by the sulphur of Etna, which enriches the soil and gives fruit and vegetables an authentic taste that is not so readily abundant in Europe any more. 

Villa Valview is located about 10 minutes above the village of Motta Camastra. 15 minutes from the famous Gole dell'Alcantara and about 20 minutes from Francavilla di Sicilia, which is a town full of restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets. 

The Gole dell'Alcantara is a beautiful natural park, which is overlooked by Villa Valview. It is home to the Alcantara River, which has carved out a series of deep canyons and gorges through the volcanic rock. The park offers visitors a variety of activities, including hiking, swimming, and rock climbing, as well as the opportunity to see the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Tauromenium. The Gole dell'Alcantara is a must-see destination for nature lovers and those interested in the history and culture of Sicily.

Sunrise across Mount Etna

Where we are today

Motta Camastra is a small, picturesque and traditional, old town located just above the Gole dell'Alcantara in the province of Messina. You may have seen it in Francis Ford Coppola's movie "The Godfather." The town is particular because it is built entirely on a rock with a sheer drop. 

The town is surrounded by vineyards and orchards, where the famous wines and fruits of the region are produced. It's also famous for its production of nuts and olive oil. In fact, every year the town holds a festival to celebrate the nut harvest. "La Festa delle Noci." 

The town also offers many opportunities for outdoor activities. It's especially perfect for nature lovers, ramblers, painters, bikers and trekkers alike.

The centrepiece of Sicily, is of course Mount Etna, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In Sicily, we affectionately refer to her as "La Grande Dama" (The Great Dame.) Mount Etna's landscape is constantly; with new craters and lava flows forming regularly.

Mount Etna offers visitors the opportunity to take guided tours to the summit, where they can see the volcano's crater and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular destination for hiking, skiing, and scientific research. The volcano offers a unique opportunity to witness the power of nature and the geological processes that shape our planet.

Mount Etna at dawn
Motta Camastra