Wow what a view! And to think this whole town is abandoned…..
Would you believe me if I told you there is an abandoned village looking right at Etna? Trillion dollar views in both summer and winter, but the only beings that frequent the church and school house are the cows?
This is 100% true and I love the trip to one such abandoned village (around Italy there are many) or group of small villages, known as the “Valle Del Fantasma” (Valley of Ghosts).
The Valle de Fantasma – Really there is one road that you can take to get there – the SS185 from Francavilla di Sicilia (from the east coast) or the SS 185 from San Biagio on the north coast.
A little history: The Valle de Fantasma is made up of 7 small towns known collectively as the ‘Villaggi Schisina’. They are made up of various ‘bongo’ or areas. Borgo San Giovanni, Bucceri-Monastero, Malfitana, Morfia, Pietra Pizzuta, Piano Torre and Schisina. These villages were built in the 1950’s to attract peasant farmers, but legend has it that no more than about 4 houses in all of the Valle de Fantasma were ever occupied. The reason being that there was no electricity or running water and the houses were too small. So now it stands abandoned, with just the odd cow for company.
All but one of the villages is off the main road along a dirt track. To get to 6 of these villages you actually have to be meaning to go there – you can see them all from the man road though.
If you are going I strongly suggest coming from the eastern side through Frankavilla di Sicilia so that you can see the villages above you. It’s probably best to avoid going there in full winter, as it snows. There is no one around up there so if you have a problem with your car you are really stuck. From experience, also avoid sunset unless you want to scare yourself silly!
I had read all about the Valle de Fantasma after we passed it the first time – I just had to go there and explore! Dear husband was not quite so sure – While I love anything remotely paranormal, weird and unusual (probably because I want to understand it) he would prefer to see it in a documentary. I convinced him that on the next trip past, we had to stop and look around. My powers of persuasion must be fairly good, because the next trip, we did stop!
Cool huh? I would have stayed there all day if Dear Husband wasn’t so uncomfortable.
Imagine what you could make that building into! That was built as a church, but now it houses cows and hay.
We haven’t explored all seven villages yet but we’ve made it to two. It’s a very strange and interesting place. The mountain faces Etna with incredible views, yet people only live either at the very bottom in the valley, or over the crest in Novara di Sicilia. This is something I don’t understand, but no doubt there’s a very good reason for it. The land is barren and silent and SS185 is a road where you don’t find many people.
Approaching the Valle de Fantasma – this is remote! There is ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ELSE around!
The Nebrodi Mountains of north east Sicily are truly amazing. I believe that it is one of the most remote places on earth – travelling along the SS185, there is no phone line, you are lucky if you see a car coming in the opposite direction or behind you and really, in that moment in such a beautiful place, the rest of the world just doesn’t matter. For anyone travelling around Sicily, this is a MUST!