A visit to the Madonie National Park gives you a glimpse of an alternative Sicily, far from the coast and set amidst an idyllic rural landscape of hilltop villages and flower-carpeted parkland. Venture as far as possible into the region to get the best possible insight into the traditional way of life.
Covering around 35,000 hectares, the park is essentially mountainous, with the highest peak, Pizzo Carbonara, 1,979m high. Several trails (bike, horse) and well-trodden hiking routes make it very appealing for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities and, with over 2,600 different species of plants, it is stunning during the spring and autumn.
Set aside time to visit some of the towns and villages, including Polizzi Generosa, with its remarkable collection of 33 ancient churches, Gangi, Castelbuono, Isnello and the twin Petralia towns, Soprana and Sottana.
Thanks to its reliance on locally-grown produce, the region has a very strong gastronomic tradition, based on meat, sausages, cheese and olives, and a restaurant meal is highly recommended.
The area also has its attraction for children, in the form of the Parco Avventura Madonie, a playground in the woods with rope climbs, assault courses and mountain biking.