Cavagrande Cassibile Canyon – Sicily

Snapdragons, ©Muffet/Flickr

Snapdragons, ©Muffet/Flickr

Cavargrande Canyon is one of the several canyons of Sicily which is located by the Cassibile River in the south-eastern region of the island. The canyon is surrounded by cliffs, poplars, oleander trees and ran across by rocky paths. This natural beauty is about 10 km long and is dotted by waterfalls and pools. In some areas swimming is permitted but not everywhere. The easiest way to get to Cavagrande Canyon is to set out from Scala Cruci at Avola Antica. Visit this wonderful and spectacular phenomenon of nature and be amazed by one of the most beautiful canyons of Sicily.

Evolution and wildlife of the canyon

Another canyon in Sicily, called Alcantara was formed due to volcanic activity but the case of Cavagrande is different. The canyon has gone through a slow evolutional process and was formed over a long period of time. The canyon was carved into the bedrock of golden limestone by the Cassibile River.

Hermann’s tortoise, ©Red Rose Exile/Flickr

Hermann’s tortoise, ©Red Rose Exile/Flickr

Cavagrande canyon is a protected nature reserve which is home to several animal species such as the Mediterranean peregrine falcon or the long-tailed tit. The canyon gives home also to the Hermann’s tortoise and the hedgehog, a rare kind of red fox and the European pine marten. The rocky and cliffy environment provides home to the leopard snake as well. Some of the rare species include the freshwater crab and the Italian tree frog.

Native plants in Cassibile Valley

The Cavagrande canyon gives home not only to rare animals but also unique plants of which over four hundred are native species. If you take a good look at the vegetation you might be able to find treasures among the greenery. The several orchid species which are to be found in the canyon are counted as such treasures, for example the Sicilian orchid which was discovered and identified in 1838 by a botanist called Filippo Parlatore.

Sicilian orchid, tatogra/Flickr

Sicilian orchid, ©tatogra/Flickr

This beautiful plant is a purple colored flower which is on the list of endangered species. Among the rare species we can enlist the anacamptis longicornu and the ophrys exaltata (both being orchid species). If you visit the Cavagrande during spring time and you are lucky enough you can catch the blooming season of the Sicilian snapdragon which can be found in Gozo or Malta. Other native plants include the wild snowdrop, pot marigold, wood splurge, tree germander, the Sicilian throatwort and many others.

Snapdragons, ©Muffet/Flickr

Snapdragons, ©Muffet/Flickr

Those who like Italian spices will find plenty of oregano as well in the region. No matter if you are a nature enthusiast or not, this natural beauty will amaze you for sure.

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