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Would you like to admire one of the most beautiful views over Mt Etna? Then go to Cesarò, in the district of Messina. In the immediate outskirts of the town, on the road to San Teodoro and the Nebrodi lakes, you will see the town around the ruins of its castle. And Etna behind it, so majestic. Be there and admire this view at sunset … it will be stunning!

Not only panoramic views … Cesarò is also the seat of a very important cattle fair in Sicily. It is a place of forests, wild horses, men and women with fair hair and blue Norman eyes. And the Norman heritage still lives there, after 1000 years.

Cesarò, history of a timeless place

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lake Maulazzo

There is no news about how Cesarò was founded. This is why it is a “timeless place”. We certainly know the Normans lived there. You can still “see them” in the aspect of local people, with their nordic colours. They were also Norman, the names of the noble families who ran the feud in the past (13th century). Including the Colonna-Romanos who built the castle on top of the mountain.

The castle may have given the name to the town. In the ancient sicilian language, a castle was a “càssaro” (from the Arabic word kasr), which then became “Cesarò”. Or it may derive from the old Greek word kerasos, meaning cherry tree. There are many of such trees all around the town. From kerasos to Kesaro to Cesarò.

The town of Cesarò first appears in documents in the 15th century. The monuments you can admire today are mainly classic and baroque style, which means it was a wealthy place between 16th and 19th centuries. After a period of abandonment, today Cesarò lives again thanks to the tourism connected to nature reserves and the beautiful lakes.

 What to see in Cesarò

The small town is worth a visit, but on foot. Walking through the alleys, the stairways, the medieval squares of the old core is a relaxing experience that is completed in the monuments you will admire.

The ruins of the Colonna castle, on top of the mountain, will also allow you to enjoy a unique view of Mt Etna. But the following are also worth seeing: the ruins of Castel di Bolo; the Christ of the Mountain, a large statue (5.50 meters high) that dominates the valley next to the ruins of the Colonna castle; the baroque main church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Also admire the baroque church of San Calogero and the Zito palace.

Not far from Cesarò there are also the medieval villages of San Teodoro, Alcara Li Fusi . Going a little further – you can also reach the beautiful town of Troina (already in the district of Enna).

The Nebrodi lakes

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lake Biviere

Cesarò is part of the Nebrodi Regional Park, a natural reserve that protects the unique environment of this mountain range. Dense woods, fascinating mountains but also streams and lakes of great beauty make the scenery. The most famous are: lake Biviere di Cesarò and lake Maulazzo.

To be exact, both lakes fall within the municipalities of other towns (San Teodoro and Alcara Li Fusi) but refer to Cesarò as the most important and often base for excursions. By car, you can easily reach the artificial lake of Maulazzo, surrounded by splendid woods that give it a dark green colour. Paths and piers allow you to admire the lake comfortably and also to have picnics in total relax. You also get to Maulazzo from the State Street SS 289 which passes through Cesarò.

Lake Biviere can be reached by paths and dirt roads that start from Maulazzo and cover a further distance of 5 km up to an altitude of 1278 meters. The environment here is much more open. The lake is surrounded by hills covered with beech woods which, however, drop down to a very specific point. There you can see the top of Etna. On clear days, the show of the volcano reflected on the lake is truly unique! The road leading to the two lakes is often cut by cattle left in the wild, including many cows and beautiful wild horses.

How to get there

To reach Cesarò: from Catania take the ring road and follow the signs for the Adrano-Bronte-Cesarò highway. Those arriving from Palermo can drive along the Palermo-Messina motorway and at the S. Agata di Militello exit, then, continue on the SS 289 to S. Fratello-Cesarò. If you arrive from Messina the route is much longer and more tiring, via the Messina-Catania motorway with exit at Fiumefreddo, then Statale 120 Piedimonte for Randazzo-Cesarò.

The easiest way is certainly the one from Catania. The reference airport is always the Catania one.

The ideal accommodations in the area of ??Cesarò and its surroundings are in the many tourist farmhouses of the Nebrodis. Where, in addition to being able to spend the night and take advantage of the excursions, you can taste the typical dishes of the place. Grilled sheep or boar meat and mushrooms. Do not miss a taste of the delicious red wines of local production.  (PHOTOS BY G MUSUMECI)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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