The Sanfratellano Horse and the Nebrodi Park.
The Sanfratellano Horse has historical and sociological characteristics of great interest because it is not a breed of masters created by a family but is a population of horses linked to the people sand history from the Sicilian territory of the Nebrodi mountains in the Nebrodi park, west of Messina, where the Sanfratellano horse has been the undisputedmaster for centuries.
The origins of the Sanfratellano Horse, like other Italian breeds, merge between history and legend: history has it that its origins derive from the Sicilian horses mentioned by the Greeks and Romans and the legend says that the breed descends from the horses that the Lombards hadleft following the Queen Adelaide of Casale Monferrato, which remained in theold San Filadelfio, today San Fratello, from which the name of the breed also originates.
The Sanfratellano Horse has always lived free and wild in the woods of San Fratello, enduring the rigid and long winters and the warm and sunny summers, feeding it self with the little that nature offered.
This allowed only the strongest and healthiest animals to survive and reproduce, naturally selecting the species that produced specimens of great beauty, strength and adaptability.
Characteristic features are the uniform color coat in the Morello, Baio and Baio Castano varieties.
Today the Sanfratellano Horse is engaged for trekking, for sport and for hippotherapy and is much loved for its beauty, for its proud spirit and for its great adaptability.
Now that we have met the Sanfratellano Horse we are going to discover the Park of the Nebrids, a journey where you will need bags and backpacks to visit the largest protected area of Sicily, between Messina and Catania, which the ancient Greeks called “the land ofroe deer” and it is just from “nebros“, which means roe deer, from where the park takes its name that it is advisable to visit in several days and choose the destinations because it is very vast.
For this reason we have selected the most interesting destinations and one of these is the visit to the most beautiful villages
We start from Bronte, which liesat the foot of Mount Etna, dominates the Simeto Valley and has a great architectural and cultural heritage and is famous all over the world for its pistachios.
The pistachios harvest, between the end of August and the beginning of September each year, is a festival that attracts many tourists.
We continue with San Fratello, in the province of Messina, which owes its name to the three Saints Fratelli Alfio, Cirino and Filadelfio and is known for the Sanfratellano Horse. Currently there are about 3,500 specimens living free, in the wild and for this reason the area is appreciated for equestrian tourism and for the typical cuisine, now become a real trademark.
After San Fratello we arrive at Galati Mamertino, a characteristic village appreciated for its natural landscapes where even today it is possible to admire splendid specimens of roe deer and we end our journey to Sant’Agata Militello, the lowest municipality of the park that offers a unique landscape that combines the beauty of the sea with the grandeur of the natural park.
Now we discover the naturalistic area, ideal for extraordinary excursions on foot where you can admire the faunistic and floral beauty along the paths.
Here are the main paths:
The Dorsale dei Nebrodi extends from east to west for almost 75 km on a total height difference of 2300 meters. It’s a 3-day journey along which you stop in some areas of the park like Mistretta and Floresta but you need to know that the difficulty of the route is quite high because you have to walk about 7 hours every day with differences in height of 700/800 meters.
The Sentiero delle Sorgenti path develops near the village of Maniace, one of the region’s most humid areas, where you can see fresh water springs at around 1300 meters above sea level. This route, even if it is about 18 km long and lasts 7/8 hours, is easier to travel than the Dorsal but is recommended for children and adults with a minimum of training.
Finally, the excursion to the Rocche del Crasto that develops around the Rocche del Crasto, very particular crystalline rocks that show shades of different colors based on the reflection of the sun’s rays. This route presents three variations, starting from different points: from Portella Gazzana, from Lemina Bacco and from the Sorgente di Malirò.
All the excursions have a length of about 7 km and are covered in about 2 and a half hours in a difference in height between 250 and 270 meters.
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