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Cammarata -San Giovanni Gemini

Your next destination in Sicily in the Sicani mountains

A mountain of excellence

Mount Cammarata, a long history ...

Our mountain by all historians is unanimously called Cammarata and so is the use of the people who in Cammarata certainly call it, the mountain while in the near and distant villages 6 called the mountain of Cammarata or simply Cammarata, the denomination of Gemini 6 very recently, in fact Fazello writes "Platani leaves Cammarata on the right hand side and a very high mountain of the same name". The calling the mountain Gemini. for its main peaks it is wrong because, then, one should say the Gemini mountains; even more erroneous is to call Gemini one of the two peaks, looking for the other twin in Gonio or Mele. Therefore, the traditional denomination is the only one attested by ancient documents and the only one accepted by serious historians and geographers - it seems to us the most exact, most in keeping with reality, also because it corresponds to the meaning of Cammarata, as has been said.


Biancorosso writes that "the majestic Kammarak offers three conical summits of varying height which are: Montelungo whose altitude above sea level is 1576 meters, S. Venera 1466 and Monte di mezzo of varying height". These are the real names of the two peaks: Montelungo and S. Venera. In an anonymous report, but compiled in 1820 in Cammarata, we read this description: "It holds the third place among the Sicilian mountains. It can be divided, according to the current state, into three regions: high or deserted which offers nothing but good pasture and fragrant grasses where there are large ditches to collect the snow that is preserved for the warm seasons ... In the second, that is medium, copious springs of excellent water and good sites are preserved where the shepherds make the mother for their herds and a few parts of the same disastrous on the way, naturally produce fruit trees and little quantities of wheat and other kinds are harvested. fruit trees with country houses and offers a charming aspect, ending in the lower part with the village of Cammarata which gives its name to said mountain, it abounds mostly in spring and perennial waters; in the lower part the north west great plains with copious spring waters are covered with cows and other herding animals in large numbers and are surrounded by thick woods. For a good quality of the soil, irrigated by copious spring waters, in this third part, any sort of culture could be adopted ".

Mount Cammarata

Told by Monsignor  De  Gregorio

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History from 700 to today

History of San Giov. Gemini

History of Cammarata

According to Gemmellaro, the mountain of Cammarata is part of the "secondary limestone that occupies all the high ground of Sicily and forms the northern front of the island". Its characteristic is the inclination of the layers as observed in our mountain.

According to the Bulletin of the geological service of Italy "Mount Cammarata is part of the Sicani Mountains (central-western Sicily) and constitutes the highest point, being 1568 meters above sea level".

"The top and the crest of the mountain - writes M Gerardi are formed by crystalline cerulean limestone with crinoids of the middle Lias, it lays with slight discordance on the very undulating layers of the Triassic limestone, as can be seen in the picturesque and majestic natural section of the western slope above the vallone della Venere 11 Middle Lias is inclined towards the east and is covered by Jurassic and Titonic limestones on which the nearby villages of Cammarata and S. Giovanni are built.


The titonic limestone plunges under an area of cocene scaly clays, in which there are interspersed here and there, large banks of more or less chloritic sandstones. This formation is directly succeeded by the Miocene one that continues along the eastern slopes of the mountain almost as far as Platani and forms another area that. starting north of Castronovo, it reaches Mount Babbaluceddu, on the border of the basin (del Platani). In the western part the scaly clays of the Middle Ages still dominate for quite a long time and then cease without crossing the Platani to give the field to other less ancient clays ...

In Monte Cammarata, limestone computed with lists and nodules of flint, dolomites of trias and cavernous limestones of the Retico, those of the lower Lias almost always white and crystalline, emerge in large quantities. These rocks are all very permeable and as they follow one another or rest on each other, they constitute a great mass of equal permeability.


These limestones constitute, in addition to Mount Cammarata which is the area of greatest hydrological importance of the whole Platani basin, also the eastern side of the Serra de Leone and the northern one of the Soprano del Campanaro hills north of Cammarata, beyond the Feravecchia mountains. and the chain of the Guard up to Cugno del Pettinaro north of Castronovo ".


According to prof. Santo Motta, who in 1956 carried out various studies on our mountain, the ancient plain of the mountain is located in Portelle S. Venera (q.1277) "now due to the effect of a large fault with considerable vertical rejection, which delimits the mountain from the west Cammarata emerges the so-called Carnic Flysch, It is represented by an association of straterellated limestones with Posidonia, alternated with paleontologically sterile greenish clays.


At the base of the neighboring wall of Mount Cammarata follows an area of dolomitic limestone in intensely pricked and sarmonically curled layers with respect to the overlying complex of pale or creamy white limes with lists and nodules of flint, with a more regular stratimetric trend that present for almost all their relevant potency significant traces or even some rich level of halobie ".

Observations on the geology of the mountain and the territory 11 dr. G. Arnone in one of his studies on the geological and environmental aspects of the Cammarata landslides (11) provides a general picture of the geology of our mountain, also extending it to the whole territory of Cammarata. "The outcropping soils in this area, he writes, are referable to the following lithological types: Greenish and blackish clays, very tectonized with interspersed thin marly levels and gray calcarenites containing rare flint nodules ... They emerge at Portella della Venere. Gray calcarenites and calcilutites havana sometimes pink, dolomitic. with lists and nodules of flint with some clayey intercalation; graded limestone and nodular limestone in large banks; sometimes pseudoolitic limestone. They form the backbone of Mount Cammarata, emerge extensively in the surroundings of Cozzo Rossino and to the W of the Vallone Cacagliommaro.

Calcisiltites, calcarenites and breccias with a marly matrix with rounded pebbles and well marly clays and red and green calcilutite calcilutite red ... They emerge along the east side. Calcisiltites, calcilutites and turbidites sicilized at times with thin clayey tercalations… They emerge along the E. Marne side, marly limestones and limestones with lists and nodules of flint; red and white calcilutites very rich in organic components ... Graded calcarenites and calcarenites. They emerge on the side of the mountain and in a large northern strip of the inhabited area of Cammarata and Piano Belvedere.


Calcarenites and nummulitic crumbs (locally called frumentina stone) with sharp clasts and edges, with subtle interspersions of clayey and gray marl ... They emerge to the W of the town of S. Giovanni Gemini in strips scattered in the S. Lorenzo district.

Gray marl sometimes with abundant glauconite; gray-green clays sometimes flaked with shiny surfaces which pass upwards to brownish sandy clays ... They emerge along the E.


Green glauconite calcarenites and very well cemented with crossed stratification ... They emerge along a strip that goes north-south from the Vallone almost to the inhabited area of S. in S. Onofrio the inhabited area of Cammarata built on them. Gray-green clays clayey marls with rare intercalations especially in the lower part ... E and S of the settlements of Cammarata S. Giovanni Gemini emerge extensively.


The succession described is the soils constituting the unit of Monte Cammarata which is presented in a monoclinal structure with an average immersion of about 30 degrees E. The other terms emerging in this area belong to the overcrowded blanket during the tectonic phases of the Middle-Upper Miocene. and consist of Miocene clays and greens incorporating numerous exotic blocks (Klippen) of sandstone and limestone, the largest of which is located in Montagnola and consists of a Jurassic-Miocene silicon-marly limestone series.

The dr. In his observations Giuseppe Madonia found to the SE of the Source of the hunters "an outcrop of ftanite which, towards the top, is followed by a small layer of a greenish material such as that which constitutes its base (12)". We then move on to the massive dolomite with a crystalline brachiform appearance of a creamy white color tending to ashy gray with an apparent thickness of about thirty meters.  fossils and nodules appear on the flint slates; among the fossils the halobra, paonella and posidonia species prevail (13) Always, according to Madonia, in the mountains before reaching the summit area, the layers pass from ten measurable to large metromeasurable layers, gradually changing color that from cineeral gray tends towards the creamy white first and the real white then.


From the base there is a succession of the following soils: ftanite, massive dolumia, dolomitic limestone, limestone with flint nodules, brecciform limestone simulating a conglomerate from which the typical flysch facies begins. This continues also on the eastern side Je with the white limestone with lime-like monotis and subsequently with the white limestone pseado oolitico. pseudo-political which is found on the eastern slopes not very extended horizontally and for which it has no dating element ".


In the area of the mountain and the surrounding area precious marbles such as yellow, agate and many varieties of jasper have been found, some of them such as ancient yellow and green agate of the mountain and the surroundings, according to tradition, were used also for the Royal Palace of Caserta. Biancorosso, citing Ortolani and Chiarelli, states that in the plateau of Possino there are red agates and jasper and footsteps of iron mines

Other interesting news about our mountain and nearby areas I find in a study by Francesco Cipolla entitled: Traces of ancient seas in the mountainous group of Cammarata (Agrigento) and singular quaternary folding, in which the author talks about the interesting and recognized phenomena that are new, and it seems almost unexpected in this internal region of Sicily. "There are several sculptures of probable marine origin presented by the doors of S. Venera and Gargiuffé and by the Roccia della Rondine on the northern side of Monte Cammarata at heights of over 800 meters. But the high traces of the ancient Pleistocene seas ... are easy to be seen in the more or less large cliffs that surround the beautiful mountain of Cammarata, especially to the east. The undoubtedly marine cliffs, with grooves and caves and limited at the top and bottom by shelves and terraces are frequent in them, especially in the tree-lined Montagnola . mass of compact limestone belonging to the Cretaceous period and also probably to other older secondary ages ... It is a small but characteristic example of ellipsoidal-shaped elevations (Bombements et dômes) which occurred in an age certainly after the engraving of the levels of the 600 or 700 meters, elevations that do not seem very infrequent in the Sicilian postpliocene. In the Montagnola wall it is easy to observe the traces of two well impressed sea furrows, almost parallel, no longer perfectly horizontal, but slightly curved, convex at the top. And the nearby caves of Acqua Fitusa bear the characteristic notes of marine action, including, beyond the hollow, the external lateral passages, so common in the Pleistocene sea caves around Palermo ".


Caruso and Alimena in his notes, about the mountain, writes that "from its summit, when the dawn appears, as the sky is clear on the eastern side, one sees the whole kingdom of Sicily and some mountains of Calabria.

One sees in this mountain something of great wonder because around noon at the time of summer, in the rising of the sun, the shadow of this mountain reaches the so-called Monte delle Giummarre. near almost a mile of the city of Sciacca with everything that is far from said mountain of about 40 miles and so high that at times it has been seen that the sun shines on its top and there is great serenity and towards the cloudy slopes and darkness and great rains. Due to its height it is very suitable for the contemplation of the stars and however it is very popular with astrologers: here they usually act as the guards of the villagers in times of war.

But what is of the greatest wonder that modern cosmographers notice and have observed with real truth is that above this mountain the kingdom of Sicily is divided by vertical line and that part that is towards the kite they attribute to the Tyrrhenian Sea and that part that is towards the Austro to the Libyan Sea. And in this mountain there are the pits where the first pits that were made in any part all year round because the Cammaratesi bore the first inventors to preserve with artifice called snow in learned pits. There are eagles, goshawks, spervieri and many other cove of birds, rabbits, lepora, crows, fallow deer. Pigs thorns and every other species of animals because there were very dense woods and now the species has ceased in some of these animals for lack of shelter ... It is a wonder that those sheep that graze the grass of this mountain, while he lives and perpetually keeps his teeth all adored and dyed with gold, evident sign of the nobility of the pastures of this mountain.


In this mountain the Agrigentini kept their horses which they used in the Olympic games. Today with the experience of things we see that any horse, however weak and emaciated it may be, grazing the pastures of this mountain, in whatever time it is desired in a short time it gains weight and new strength. quality takes and like a phoenix renews and rejuvenates. Caruso himself enumerates over 90 medicinal herbs that can be collected on the mountain and many precious stones that are found there Barbone writes that in Monte Cammarata a flesh-colored jasper was found which for its vagueness and rarity was sold on the market at three ounces the palm. cubic.

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