Motorcycle ride from the east coast to the slopes of the Etna volcano. Itinerary and useful tips for an unforgettable weekend.
We start from Messina with destination Portopalo di Capo Passero, passing through Taormina, Noto and Syracuse.
The itinerary, which we recommend covering in three days, should literally be "savoured", not only for the places and landscapes but for all the experiences this magnificent island offers. There Sicilia it must be guided and lived at the right pace.
Our itinerario it starts from Messina and takes us to Milazzo. Having taken the SP72 we go up the peninsula towards the north and crossing characteristic inhabited centers we stop at Milazzo for a brief stop and to visit the ancient Cathedral, built on the designs of Camillo Camillani, a pupil of Michelangelo. We resume the motorcycle for the second stage which is really demanding. The track, the SS185, leaves no time to relax: bends, ups and downs, tight bends and asphalt that is not always the best. After about fifty kilometers the state road bends over the Ionian Sea near Giardini-Naxos. Note: after Francavilla we recommend the detour for the Alcantara gorges, gorges carved out of the river which over the centuries has created truly suggestive gorges and canyons.
With its appearance of a medieval village, its ancient Greek soul, the colors and scents of the Mediterranean vegetation, Taormina it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. Don't miss the celebrated Greek Theatre.
From Porta Messina, you reach the medieval heart of Taormina: Palazzo Corvaia and the seventeenth century church of San Pancrazio, which stands on the remains of a Greek temple. Not far away, the cavea of the ancient Odeon and the nearby one are also worth a visit church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria. Nearby, the road widens into Piazza IX Aprile, a terrace from which you can enjoy a broad panorama, while the middle door opened in the seventeenth-century clock tower leads to the medieval district of Taormina, with characteristic buildings with Romanesque and Gothic ornaments and architectural elements. Instead, the massif dates back to the Norman era defensive palace of the dukes of Santo Stefano, with Gothic, Arab and Norman elements, and the Badia Vecchia.
The highest active volcano in Europe is the destination of our third stage. Registered among the assets ofUnesco. From Taormina we take the SS114 coast road up to Giarre and then we go up the SP4ì and SP145 up to Zafferana Etnea. From here the SP92 takes us up the volcano to the Sapienza refuge at 1900 meters. Parked the motorbikes we stretched our legs collecting the effusive rocks, the dry lava, in short. If it is active, we advise you to take the cable car that leads to the Montagnola refuge at 2500 metres. We take the motorbikes back towards Nicolosi. Driving advice: being an active volcano, it is not uncommon for the road surface to be dirty with volcano dust, it is an instant to lose grip. We advise you to follow the tracks left by the cars.
We head towards the sea on the SP10 and towards Catania we take the RA15 ring road. For SIRACUSA there are less than 80 kilometers left that flow lightly. We allow ourselves a detour to visit Augustapicturesque port town. Once in Syracuse we visit the Eurialo castle, the Neapolis archaeological park and the theatre. The island of Ortigia hosts a port with its Baroque monuments.
Noto and Noto Antica
Leaving Syracuse we head to Avola, home of its red wine and finally a Noto. If you visit it on the third Sunday of May you will be lucky enough to be able to witness the flower festival. It is a famous "flower carpet", which covers the Via Corrado Nicolaci. The infiorata is a tradition that is revived annually. The celebration already begins on Thursday night, when it becomes possible to observe the birth of this mantle of flowers, a thousand petals and vegetable products that will fill the path of shapes previously created. The designs are designed by local artists and are inspired by the theme which changes every year.
An infinite stairway takes us to the sight of the cathedral of S. Nicolò. Inside it is possible to admire works made with the wood of shipwrecked boats. We get back on the motorbikes and head to ancient Noto, higher up than Noto. We were lucky enough to talk to a maintenance man who gave us a history lesson and thanks to him we saw the true entrance arch of Noto, now buried by the earthquakes. In fact, the arch present in Noto is a faithful reproduction. Let's go back to ours passivated and we head to Pachino, home of the PGI tomato. The center is a painting that has the sea as its frame. Try the cuoppo, foil that contains mixed fried food. Another detour to see Marzamemi and then off on the coast road to our destination: Portopalo di Capo Passero.