Beside the sea and the countryside on the plateaus, another important part of the area around Ibla is represented by the Monti Iblei, a complex of short and ancient mountains broadening to the North, well over the boundary limit with the Syracuse’s province.

Monte Lauro stands proud of the other mountains. It is an old inactive and extinguished volcano dominating the remaining high ground, from which they pour the main rivers irrigating the South-East of Sicily. Among them we can mention the Anapo, the Dirillo, the Calcinara, the Ippari, the Irminio and the Tellaro. Monte Lauro is also the seat of an important meteorological station and of a Natural Reserve managed by the forest service.
Set in the middle of the Monti Iblei, the small towns of Chiaramonte, Monterosso Almo, Giarratana, Buccheri e Palazzolo Acreide are peaceful communities which are worth stopping to see and appreciate the quiet amazing landscape. The calm daily routine is some time animated by special occasions, e.g. for Carnival and during holyday periods for respective Patron Saints celebrations.
Some special mention for permanent appointments: the Medieval Fest in Buccheri and the “Sagra della Cipolla” (a festival celebrating a special kind of big sweet white onion) in Giarratana – both of them usually in August – as well as the “Sagra dello Scaccione” (a festival dedicated to a special kind of focaccia bread) normally run in September in Monterosso Almo.

Another small hamlet that we suggest to visit, not only for its close proximity to Ibla, is San Giacomo’s quarter. Even if it’s administratively just a quarter of Ragusa, it is so detached that it can be considered as an independent small mountain village, so suggestive in its bucolic beauty to remember the Hobbit’s county of the Tolkien’s literature. To reach it, take from Ibla the SP194 road in the direction to Giarratana and, after having passed the old Ibla’s train station by few kilometers, take on the right the SP58 road and follow the indications to San Giacomo and Frigintini; finally turn left on the SP59 road directed to San Giacomo.

For a lovely picnic, one can find well equipped amenities in lots of places in the mountain area. Although conifers have been widely introduced all around the forests of Sicily, in the Canalazzo wood (Casasia mount, Monterosso Almo, 37°04’59.9″N 14°46’00.1″E) one can still find endemic species like oaks, holm oaks and “Roverella”. The site is of particular historical and archeological interest, and an ancient mill is in place with several building blocks.

The well-equipped amenities in Calaforno (Giarratana, 37°02’42.8″N 14°45’40.6″E) are well known for the characteristic presence of Mediterranean pine trees and oriental platan trees, as well for the experimental stags and wild boars farming. The old Water Mill building has been acquired and partially rebuilt by the Forrest Service.

Also the Arcibessi  wood (Chiaramonte Gulfi, 37°1’55″N – 14°42’59″E ) has well equipped amenities which are accessible by following a mountain road with a rich presence of trees. From here one can admire all the underlying valley and the faun area that hosts deer, Tibetan goats, several kind of birds and a farming of gooses and ducks.



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