Written by Michela | 16 September, 2011
18 September. THE HARVEST SEASON OF THE CHALK AND NATURE RESERVE OF THE CAVE OF SANTA NINFA. CAMPAIGN, WINE COUNTRY AND GHOSTS in the Belice Valley.
(guide: Eduardo Di Trapani - Calogero Muscarella)
In Valley of the River Belice, roughly where the left and right branch of the river join, covers about 20 km of the ridge "Mountains of Gibellina”, consists of low rugged hills of chalk that do not reach 700 m high (Mount Finestrelle, destination of our excursion, 662 m). The dynamic, sometimes dramatic, of this territory, It is attested, by the impressive ruins of the old towns, abandoned after the earthquake of the last century and rebuilt elsewhere (between these Salaparuta, Poggioreale and Gibellina, in addition to most other countries that have suffered mass transfers of populations in their new neighborhoods) but also by the spectacular forms of erosion that has given the nature of the rocks: a few miles from Santa Ninfa the relentless workings of the water and tectonic movements have resulted in a large sinkhole, The Vallone Biviere, within which flows a stream that disappears after a few km, "Ingrotta is" the lowest point of the large karst valley, where there is l’inghiottitoio, and reappears a few hundred meters downstream (at the so-called "resurgence"), after crossing the boundary into the subsoil of chalk hills that surround the valley. Just upstream of the "resurgence" of the river is the entrance of Biviere Grotta di Santa Ninfa, consists of two branches, the upper, now dry, and lower still active, path from the waters of Biviere, for a total of about 1,5 km long.
Our path provides for the discovery of the "land" of the Reserve, that has significant natural elements and landscape, as riparian vegetation of the stream, The suggestive forms of gypsum, such as "Karren" (erosion furrows), trays and erratic pinnacles, selenitic gypsum crystals and microcrystalline. Near the Mount Finestrelle There is also the prehistoric necropolis from which it gets its name because of the thirty burial niches carved into the walls of plaster.
The surrounding countryside, characterized by a landscape of vineyards and olive groves, is excited about the vintage, that in this period reaches its peak here. Our day continues with a visit to a local winery, where we can "taste" the atmosphere and detail of the period of grape harvest, and the precious liquid that is produced from the fruit.
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