THE HEART IN THE
OF SICANI PARK
PALEONTOLOGY AND OROGENESIS OF SICANIANS MOUNTAINS
Monti Sicani, of which Monte Cammarata with the height of 1578 m., Is the highest component, are of tectonic origin and arise from the movements of the terrestrial plates during the "Secondary Era" or "Mesozoic", which begins 245.000.000 and ends 68,000,000 years ago. During a journey of 167,000,000 the Continents emerged which took on configurations similar to the present ones.
In the warm - humid climate typical of the early Mesozoic, reptiles spread, both terrestrial and aquatic and volatile, both omnivorous and carnivorous and herbivorous, which inhabited the primordial forests.
The climatic upheavals transformed the forests into coal deposits, giving rise to the evolution of new species more variegated and luxuriant. First appeared the conifers followed by all the other plants and only towards the end of the Era did vegetation take on its current appearance.
The great reptiles disappeared, and birds and mammals appeared, more suited to the new climate. Among the invertebrates spread the ammonites, now considered, fossils guide of the Secondary Age. Our mountains, submerged lands in the Mediterranean, emerge in the Mesozoic period, with the withdrawal of water due to high temperatures. On Monte Cammarata various "lithological types" have been found: argillites and calcarenites, limestones and grenadines, typical Mesozoic formations.
Some rock layers have greenish and blackish clay formations, with calcite veins, other layers have limestone and grenadine formations with calcarenite drips, which are the most widespread formations and which form the backbone. There are several fossil components: halobias, daonelle (molluscs belonging to the order of lamellibranches, headless and made up of a visceral sac enclosed in the shell, ancestors of today's limpets) and poseidonia (algae) found on Monte Cammarata, and in different points of the Sicani and Madonie mountains.
Cammarata, San Giovanni Gemini and Santo Stefano Quisquina (province of Agrigento), largely occupied by calcareous reliefs of the Mesozoic era such as Serra Quisquina (1059 m), Serra della Moneta (1188 m), Pizzo della Rondine (1246 m), Monte Gemini (1397 m) and Monte Cammarata (1578 m), the second highest of the Sicani Mountains after Rocca Busambra
The equipped area of Savochello-Monte Cammarata is located in a beautiful pine forest with a recreation area for children, able to accommodate up to 300 visitors. To reach it you must follow the road that leads from Santo Stefano di Quisquina to Cammarata. Once you reach the state forest called Ledera, marked by specific signs, you must take the only road that leads to the top of the mountain. The area is also equipped with toilets, cooking points, cycle paths and nature trails.
On the slopes of Mount Cammarata there is what remains of an ancient oak grove with specimens of holm oak (Quercus ilex) and oak (Quercus pubescens), mixed with carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and other reforestation species such as cedars (Cedrus sp.), Cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), pines (Pinus sp.) And maples (Acer sp.). The euphorbias (Euphorbia rigida) and the southern rowan (Sorbus graeca) dominate the summits. There are also numerous endemic species such as the Sicilian dandelion (Leontodon siculus), the sesleria of the macereti (Sesleria nitida), the Sicilian senecio (Senecio siculus), the yellow bivonea (Bivonaea lutea) and the chamomile of the Madonie (Anthemis cupaniana) . The Monti Gemini and Serra della Moneta are home to reforested cedars (Cedrus sp.), Maples (Acer campestre and Acer pseudoplatanus) and pines of Aleppo (Pinus halepensis), while on Pizzo Rondine there are flakes of holm oak (Quercus ilex).
The reserve is home to numerous mammals including the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the hare (Lepus europaeus), the weasel (Mustela nivalis), the porcupine (Hystrix cristata), the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and the dormouse mouse (Eliomys quercinus). The avifauna is very rich in both sedentary and migratory species, among which we can mention the regulus (Regulus regulus), the woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the blackbird (Turdus merula), the creeper (Certhia) brachydactyla), the wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), the great tit (Parus major), the robin (Erithacus rubecola) and the small luì (Phylloscopus collybita). There are also numerous species of birds both diurnal, such as the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the buzzard (Buteo buteo), and nocturnal, such as the owl (Otus scops), the owl (Athene noctua), the tawny owl (Strix) aluco) and the barn owl (Tyto alba). Finally, the presence of the great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major) and the Sicilian partridge (Alectoris graeca whitakeri), two species at risk of extinction.
The Forestry Company in many parts of the Reserve has created refreshment areas with tables, the structure with grill for cooking meat and other foods, water fountains and bathrooms. There are also different paths for those who want to make escusrsioni through which you can admire splendid panoramas and hundreds of endemic herbaceous species and with a little luck you can also meet protected faunal species.
The Reserve also includes the Salaci Fund, formerly the Coffari estate, an area of 15 hectares, an example of Mediterranean maquis of enormous interest. In it, thick woods and herbaceous presences of great botanical interest alternate. The reserve has an equipped area equipped with toilets, cooking points, nature trails, cycle paths and a space furnished with games for children. Within this protected area, some paths have been set up to let you know the wonderful natural environment.
Here are some of them.
- Pizzo della Rondine itinerary
This route is perfect for enjoying the nature and the landscapes of the Reserve, from these places you can admire wonderful views of central Sicily and the Sicani Mountains. Crossing lush oak forests with a flourishing undergrowth you reach the summit Pizzo della Rondine at an altitude of 1246 m. s.l.m. from where you can admire an extraordinary panorama. Itinerary features: starting point SP 24 at km 9 after "Casa Prussiano"; length of the back 6 km; travel time 3 hours; medium difficulty.
- Sentiero Monte Cammarata
The path runs along the steep slopes of the mountain, between the thick woods and the extensive meadows, until it touches the top of the mountain where you can find particular species of a certain botanical importance. Along the way you can stop to look at the best-preserved coast of the reserve, built halfway up the coast using a natural cavity with a dry stone wall. From the summit you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama. Itinerary features: starting point SP 24 after the "Belvedere"; route length 6.3 km; travel time 5 hours; medium-high difficulty.
- Itinerario dei marcati
Along this path it is possible to pause to learn about the ancient marked, the typical stone shelters for raising sheep. The marcatu generally consists of: a shelter for the shepherd, called pagliaru, from the enclosures for animals, from a milking station, called vadile, from a refuge for lambs left orphaned, called zirmuni, and from a suitable location for the production of cheese and ricotta. Itinerary features: starting point SP 24 at km 22; route length 7.8 km; travel time 3 hours and 30 minutes; low difficulty.