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Old Railway – Timpa Falconiera

 Itinerari_Trekking  VecchiaFalconiera2  Acquegrandi2  S.Caterina2

vecchia ferrovia

Along the SS114, in correspondence with the entrance for Acireale, take the road going down the sea towards S. Tecla. 300 metres after the traffic light, there is the beginning of the path, hardly identifiable. It is on the left, in front of Via Malascesa. Some short quite precipitous hairpins allow you to reach the ancient layout of a disused railway line, characterized by three tunnels. Go across a part of the Timpa, which is a little anthropic (Timpa del Belfrontizio and Timpa Falconiera) offering wide views on the impressive overhanging water gaps and a marvellous view of the coast in a very rich vegetable area. Small strips of thermophilics woods with Virgilian Oaks interchange to the Mediterranean maquis and to lemon “gardens”, a typical cultivation of this area. On the rock ridges and along the layout you can see the arborescent Euphorbia, a hemispheric shrub, which due to the adaptation to the long dryness period loses, leaves in summer and becomes green in autumn. The distinguishing mark of human beings is visible in some naturalized exotic species: the Indian fig and the Tree of Heaven, existing among the natural vegetation of Timpa.

Going along this path you can admire the Jay, the Kestrel and the Buzzard on the wing.

The first part of the layout is rather hard as the path is partially blocked by thorn bushes. In this part of the path you can see a laval cave both on the right and on the left. These caves are made by a laval tunnel, an insulating line allowing the lava to reach even remarkable distances from the emission point. The lava cooling in its external parts creates solid lateral embankments which growing upwards join and form a roof. The origin of the cave is due to the clearing of the laval tunnel occurring during or at the end of the eruption. This cave has a reasonable development and it is characterized by the presence of lava rolls on the base of the walls created by the sharp cooling inside the laval tunnel and the following separation of a lava layer from the wall curling up on the base. Going along you see the first tunnel. From this point the path becomes simple and without any obstacles. The layout in the tunnel is interrupted by wide water gaps scoring the rocky crag. Each time the tunnels are interrupted by some beautiful observation points where you can admire a wide view of the Ionic coast and the Timpa of Santa Tecla, a large flat area with citrus trees and made by marine scars and depressions filled up with alluvial and landslide material.

The last tunnel of 468 m is the longest and the most fascinating. On a keystone you can see engraved the year when the building works finished in this enchanting layout of the railway: 1912. The building quality of this construction is remarkable and even after a century it is intact. The internal part of the tunnels is covered by laval flagstones which not only it decorates the keystone, but it has an important static function. Once go past the tunnels you go along the path till you reach a gate. In this last part the scarp is tempered by a wide band with a milder slope made by historical laval flows.

Now you can go back and go along again backwards this superb layout.

Difficulty: low

Length g/r 6 km

Walking times: 4 hours

Refreshments: no