Creste del Mirabella
The itinerary, which is almost entirely in SIC M. Matassaro, M. Gradara and M. Signora, begins at the Portella della Paglia pass and climbs along the paths of Mirabella, a mountainous complex separating the Jato basin from that of the Oreto. It is a system of harsh and jagged ridges, interspersed with mountain passes and valleys, caves and rock barriers, which winds through a vast network of paths and side roads. Today it is largely devoid of the original tree covering that must have included oak groves on the gentler slopes. These original woodlands are partially replaced today by a large reforestation of pine trees, which leaves space for a maquis-garrigue scrubland of heather and mastic in spring, yellow euphorbiae and rare plants such as the endemic Elleboro of Boccone and numerous spontaneous
This is a territory dense in history of history thanks to its strategic position, which until the 12th century was a
small, independent Arab state.
On the stronghold at the top of the Pizzo Mirabella, between 1222 and 1224 the Arab leader Amir Ibn Abbad (“Mirabettus” in the Latin chronicles and then twisted in the popular tale in “Mirabetto “, from which Pizzo Mirabella) barricaded himself and resisted the long siege imposed by Frederick II of Swabia. This siege ended with the surrender of the Muslims and, in fact, the end of the Arab presence in Sicily. The excursion begins at a state-owned property along a forest road, crosses a disused stone quarry, and snakes inside the pine forest and then climbs, along a path, to the western side. It then continues on the southern ridge to the summit. Here you will be able to choose to return to the starting point through a comfortable road that passes near a well-supplied drinking trough for animals, or take a deviation, with an attractive extra section, to explore the peak of Pizzo Mirabella.
The path will allow us to enjoy broad views of Sicily, ranging from the Madonie mountains to the east, to the Sicani mountains to the Canal of Sicily and Caltabellotta, and across the Jato Valley, appreciating the great strategic importance of the site. It is an excursion of medium / easy difficulty, which takes place almost entirely on well-marked trails and comfortable minor roads, with some steep sections. In case of rain, some sections may be slippery and the trail itself rough. The detour leading to the base of the fort is recommended for experienced hikers considering the changes in elevation and the trail itself, which in large stretches is not easy to follow, being steep and flanked by bushes.