The Madonie Mountains are part of the extensive northern mountain range of Sicily which also includes the Nebrodi and Mt Etna National Parks.
It is an area of an ever changing landscape of wooded forests, green pastures, winding roads, stunning views and towns perched amongst the mountains.The towns are all well preserved and because of their isolation, still maintain their local traditions and culture.
From Castelbuono, we get our first glimpse of the countryside as we approach Isnello.
Driving further into the Madonie Park, we pass beautiful woods and running streams.
The sun shines through throwing dappled light over the area.
As we drive higher, the woods disappear and sparse rocky vegetation takes over, though a few spring flowers brighten the landscape
We are nearly to the top of Piano Battiglia, 1619 metres above sea level. This is a popular area for hiking in summer and skiing in winter.
Once we have reached this level, it is an easy drive to the towns of the Madonie.
After a quick visit to Polizzi Generosa we drive to the two Petralie- Petralia Soprana and Pettralia Sottana
Though linked together, their history is very different. Petralia Soprana is the oldest town, having been an important Greek and Phoenician city. It then fell into Roman hands followed by the Arabs and the Normans whilst Petralia Sottana was established in the 14th century. Eventually both cities were taken over by noble families. They still retain their medieval charm, full of narrow streets, stone houses and many churches.
We stop in Petralia Sottana first. It has a very easy, relaxed feel.
2 kms away is Petralia Soprana, the highest village in the Madonie Mountains.From here you can often see the Nebrodi mountains and, on a clear day, Mount Etna.
From here you can also visit Nicosia and continue on to the towns of the Nebrodi and Mount Etna, but we return to Castelbuono via Geraci Siculo.