NAME:  Forre laviche del Simeto, in dialect “u bazu ‘a cantira”

LOCATION: Contrada Cantera.

DESCRIPTION: Since the 1980s the volcanic gorges along the Simeto River have been protected by law as nature reserves, both at the state and regional level. These natural wonders span almost 300 hectares (approx 750 acres) between the provinces of Catania and Enna.  The gorges around the Cantera area begin with a vertical drop, which the Brontesi refer to as “u bazu ‘a cantira” (the cliff/the leap at Cantera).  Beneath the bridges at Cantera and Serravalle, the Simeto and Troina Rivers converge, and over time, the igneous rock has been sculpted by the fury of the rushing rivers. The Troina River passes under a medieval (Norman) humpback bridge, built with alternating blocks of local basalt and white tuff.  The bridge was constructed in 1121 by Count Ruggiero in memory of the mother Adelasia, who had died at Patti a few years earlier. The bridge functioned as a vital connection for the towns of Troina and Cesarò to the cities of Catania and Messina.  The first bridge that you encounter along the route that connects Bronte to Cesarò is called “Cantera,” a name that derives from the Arabic language. The Simeto River that flows beneath this bridge has widened over time due to the eroding force of the water on the lava rock. In particular, this river bed has formed since the eruption of 1603 that caused an impassable crack nearly 50m deep.  The contact between the molten lava and the cold waters of the Simeto sculpted the bed of the river into polygonal lava formations and basalt columns. Reeds and oleanders grow along the banks of the river, creating a burst of color in the spring.

Entrance: Free

HOW TO GET THERE:

by car:  follow the directions for the town of Cesarò.